Life Orientation was established as a subject to help learners develop skills to conduct positive interactions. It also helps them to contribute to the family and community and develop ethics of care for self, others and the community of life; and involve socio-emotional skills such as empathy, solidarity, compassion, love and care. The subject aims to infuse the principles and practice of social and environmental justice, human rights, and inclusivity as taken up in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. The goal is to provide our learners with the competences and tools to learn to exercise their rights and responsibilities, respect others’ rights and show tolerance for cultural, gender and religious diversity to build a democratic society. Life Orientation supports learners and enables them to make well-informed, morally responsible, and justified decisions about their health and environment. They are encouraged to gain and exercise the necessary life skills, react to challenges, and play an active and responsible role in the economy and society. The National Curriculum describes Life Orientation as a holistic subject that attempts to develop the learner on all levels (DBE, 2011).

Life Orientation is an essential subject to implement a solution-orientated process of learning-led change approach to tackle matters that concern self, our community and the world situated in wellbeing for sustainable living and sustainable livelihoods. However, as a Life Orientation teacher, it can be challenging to work within such a framework with various constraints such as class sizes, time, understanding of the subject needs and even the context of specific topics within the curriculum.

In disciplines like Geography and other sciences, where the focus often lies on the empirical aspects of climate change, Life Orientation plays a crucial role in shaping personal and social perspectives within a rapidly changing world increasingly affected by climate concerns. Rather than solely concentrating on the scientific facts, the Life Orientation curriculum serves as a vital mediator, guiding individuals in navigating the implications of climate change on personal and societal levels. Through programs like the Fundisa for Change Life Orientation Courses, the aim isn’t merely to teach about climate change within the context of Life Orientation but to facilitate a deeper exploration of how educators can navigate the complexities of learning amidst the socio-ecological and politico-economic shifts prompted by the climate crisis.

This Engaging with Climate Change Life Orientation online course is designed to empower Life Orientation teachers, teacher educators, and learners alike to collectively engage with and respond to the challenges posed by climate change, fostering a collaborative approach to address this global issue.

The course is infused with the principles and practice of social and environmental justice, human rights, and inclusivity and focuses on enhancing three essential aspects of teaching:

■ Knowing your Subject,
■ Improving your Teaching Practice and
■ Improving your Assessment Practice.

(Fundisa for Change, 2022)

About this course

This course is designed to introduce the topic of climate change situated in the CAPS curriculum topic of Development of the self in society. The course introduces teaching climate change through three sub-topics that are part of the Development of the self in society topic:

  • Sub-topic 1: Nutrition and health
  • Sub-topic 2: Self-concept and self-awareness (part of a community)
  • Sub-topic 3: Adaptation, hope and solution (local to global relations)

The course is divided into five units, concluding in a final assessment. Serving as a guiding resource, it facilitates comprehension of climate change as a matter of concern. Specifically designed to align with the “Development of the self in society” Life Orientation topic, it offers insights into connecting climate change with personal and societal growth. Additionally, it offers strategies for supporting your learners’ understanding, contextualisation, competences and skills development related to climate change adaptation, resilience and mitigation as a matter of concern.

Course structure

Each of the five units is structured as follows

  • Introduction: Overview of the course and its objectives
  • Understanding Your Subject: Explores engagement with climate change within the Life Orientation curriculum, emphasizing its connections to social and environmental justice, human rights, and inclusivity. This unit comprises three sub-units:
    • Nutrition and Health
    • Self-Concept and Self-Awareness
    • Adaptation, Hope, and Solutions
  • Enhancing Teaching Practices: Focuses on effective methods for teaching climate change within the context of the “self-in-society” topic.
  • Enhancing Assessment Practices: Discusses various approaches to assessing climate change within the Life Orientation curriculum.
  • Portfolio Task: Culminating assignment to be completed and submitted as part of your portfolio. Additionally, includes a Quiz to evaluate general knowledge acquired about climate change.

Course Assessment

Completing this Course Independently as a Teacher

To earn a certificate of completion for your Level 1 SACE points, you must finish the entire course, including all activities and the final quiz. Upon completing the course, you will automatically receive your certificate for personal professional development. If you do not receive your certificate, please contact us for assistance.

Completing this Course as part of a facilitated group

You will create an assessment portfolio in the same manner as you did for the Introduction to Fundia for Change and ESD online course. If you need a refresher, click on the button below to watch the video on how to create and fill out your assessment portfolio.

How to get around

Below is a breakdown of the course and your progress. Click ‘expand’ to see each session. You can click on each of these to access them or use the “Next session” or “Previous session” to move through the module.

To start, click “Teaching climate change in Life Orientation: Self in societybelow and choose “Session 1: Engaging with Climate Change in your Classroom”.

Once you have completed a session, click the green “Mark Complete” button before moving on to the next session, and you’ll see your progress bar reflect your movement.

If you ever get lost, there is a menu on your left, another when you hover over your name in the top right corner (this will appear once you start a module), and you can find your way to the ‘Home’ page by clicking on the Fundisa for Change logo in the top left corner.

Wilma van Staden, Rob O’Donoghue, Heila Lotz-Sisitka & Shanu Misser

Development funded by GreenMatter