Queensland Sustainable Schools

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Department of Education and Training

Environment Team

Build a School Environment Team

If you would like to implement environmental initiatives such as a SEMP at your school, you will need a good team to help. Having a cross section of people from across the school and the local community is recommended as it provides access to a range of different skills and view points. Members in the environmental team can include:

  • students
  • the school Principal
  • teachers
  • parents
  • members of your P&C association
  • administration, cleaning and maintenance staff.

If you would like to implement environmental initiatives such as a SEMP at your school, you will need a good team to help. Having a cross section of people from across the school and the local community is recommended as it provides access to a range of different skills and view points. Members in the environmental team can include:

  • students
  • the school Principal
  • teachers
  • parents
  • members of your P&C association
  • administration, cleaning and maintenance staff.

Student Activities

Starting an environment team is a good way to begin or revitalise action in the school. Get some students together and speak to the Principal. Your team can engage in communication and group games to develop a strong team and effective team skills.
Starting an environment team is a good way to begin or revitalise action in the school. Get some students together and speak to the Principal. Your team can engage in communication and group games to develop a strong team and effective team skills.

Teacher Tips

Supporting the development of a student environment team in the school may take several months until it has a structure and momentum to sustain it. It may be a new team or grow out of the student council.
Supporting the development of a student environment team in the school may take several months until it has a structure and momentum to sustain it. It may be a new team or grow out of the student council.

Case Studies

Involving Students

Although it's a good idea to involve a range of people in the school environment team, it's very important to remain focused on involving the students.

Opportunities for students to participate in environmental management planning can be built into the curriculum and into the role of the school’s student bodies. Support processes need to be developed so that ideas generated by groups of students are recognised and valued in the school’s normal decision-making processes.

Although it's a good idea to involve a range of people in the school environment team, it's very important to remain focused on involving the students.

Opportunities for students to participate in environmental management planning can be built into the curriculum and into the role of the school’s student bodies. Support processes need to be developed so that ideas generated by groups of students are recognised and valued in the school’s normal decision-making processes.

Involving the School Community

Ideally, your school environment team will include a broad range of people, from the whole school community and your broader local community.

The environment team is most effective when all parts of the school community are involved in making decisions. Interested community members such as neighbours, local environment groups or representatives from the local council can also be involved.

Keeping minutes of meetings is recommended in order to record discussions and major decisions.

In terms of the timing of meetings, day meetings for students and staff are common and evening meetings are usually held for parents. Email is a useful way to keep everyone up-to-date and also distribute the minutes.

Ideally, your school environment team will include a broad range of people, from the whole school community and your broader local community.

The environment team is most effective when all parts of the school community are involved in making decisions. Interested community members such as neighbours, local environment groups or representatives from the local council can also be involved.

Keeping minutes of meetings is recommended in order to record discussions and major decisions.

In terms of the timing of meetings, day meetings for students and staff are common and evening meetings are usually held for parents. Email is a useful way to keep everyone up-to-date and also distribute the minutes.

Developing Partnerships

Your school's environmental activities can benefit greatly from the development of partnerships between the local community, regional organisations, state government agencies and non-government organisations.

Partnerships can take many forms and generally, they are developed around a joint outcome. The reasons why each partner is contributing to the project may be different.

Successful partners are based on clearly defined objectives and outcomes. It is also important that the benefits for each partner in participating in a project are clear.

To identify and communicate with potential partners for your school, develop a profile of the school’s local network. The partnership can based on two parties co-operating on a simple one-off project or can involve a longer-term more involved relationship.

Examples include:

  • working cooperatively on an annual poster which lists community groups that can help schools in your region
  • working with a community group to undertake specific projects that will benefit both partners
  • a sponsorship-like agreement with an organisation where they provide advice or support in return for publicity and a higher profile.

Your school's environmental activities can benefit greatly from the development of partnerships between the local community, regional organisations, state government agencies and non-government organisations.

Partnerships can take many forms and generally, they are developed around a joint outcome. The reasons why each partner is contributing to the project may be different.

Successful partners are based on clearly defined objectives and outcomes. It is also important that the benefits for each partner in participating in a project are clear.

To identify and communicate with potential partners for your school, develop a profile of the school’s local network. The partnership can based on two parties co-operating on a simple one-off project or can involve a longer-term more involved relationship.

Examples include:

  • working cooperatively on an annual poster which lists community groups that can help schools in your region
  • working with a community group to undertake specific projects that will benefit both partners
  • a sponsorship-like agreement with an organisation where they provide advice or support in return for publicity and a higher profile.

Team Building

A team is defined as a group of people who have complementary skills, and who hold themselves mutually accountable for achieving an identifiable set of goals or outcomes.

This is because teams can help individuals develop a wider range of skills, A team also brings different individual experiences and approaches to solve a problem. Teamwork results in a sense of commitment to a common solution.

Team building is the process of developing the team’s skills and its ability to achieve its goals.

Team building helps to:

  • generate dynamic rapport among team members
  • create the right climate for effective communication
  • stimulate creativity
  • reveal new ways of dealing with challenges
  • demonstrate individual strengths and differences
  • build trust
  • strengthen cooperation and motivation.

A team is defined as a group of people who have complementary skills, and who hold themselves mutually accountable for achieving an identifiable set of goals or outcomes.

This is because teams can help individuals develop a wider range of skills, A team also brings different individual experiences and approaches to solve a problem. Teamwork results in a sense of commitment to a common solution.

Team building is the process of developing the team’s skills and its ability to achieve its goals.

Team building helps to:

  • generate dynamic rapport among team members
  • create the right climate for effective communication
  • stimulate creativity
  • reveal new ways of dealing with challenges
  • demonstrate individual strengths and differences
  • build trust
  • strengthen cooperation and motivation.

An effective team member

The following information highlights some of the basic attributes required to be a part of a successful team. It also shows how to develop skills in a problem-based learning environment, and provides a little fun on the way.

  • understands, supports and feels a sense of ownership of the team’s goals
  • puts the team’s goals ahead of personal goals and understands that the team’s goals and their personal goals are not always the same
  • listens carefully to everyone on the team and attempts to understand fully before making a judgement
  • is both task-focused and team-focused (This means maintaining a balance between reaching the team’s goals and developing the team itself)
  • views conflict as useful and necessary (This means avoiding the phenomenon of ‘group think’—where people agree to things in order to avoid conflict, even if they think it’s a bad idea)
  • trusts the other team members (This means getting to know and understand everyone on the team, and honestly communicating thoughts and feelings)
  • communicates openly and honestly
  • respects differences and values diversity
  • works for consensus or agreement by the entire group
  • uses the resources of others (This means knowing the strengths, knowledge and skills of other team members and working to tap into those resources for the good of the team),

Source: Harper, A & B (1993) Skill Building for Self-directed Team Members, MW Corporation.

The following information highlights some of the basic attributes required to be a part of a successful team. It also shows how to develop skills in a problem-based learning environment, and provides a little fun on the way.

  • understands, supports and feels a sense of ownership of the team’s goals
  • puts the team’s goals ahead of personal goals and understands that the team’s goals and their personal goals are not always the same
  • listens carefully to everyone on the team and attempts to understand fully before making a judgement
  • is both task-focused and team-focused (This means maintaining a balance between reaching the team’s goals and developing the team itself)
  • views conflict as useful and necessary (This means avoiding the phenomenon of ‘group think’—where people agree to things in order to avoid conflict, even if they think it’s a bad idea)
  • trusts the other team members (This means getting to know and understand everyone on the team, and honestly communicating thoughts and feelings)
  • communicates openly and honestly
  • respects differences and values diversity
  • works for consensus or agreement by the entire group
  • uses the resources of others (This means knowing the strengths, knowledge and skills of other team members and working to tap into those resources for the good of the team),

Source: Harper, A & B (1993) Skill Building for Self-directed Team Members, MW Corporation.