The following post was written by World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council member, Patricia Zanella. Patricia is 21 years old and lives in Itanhaém, Brazil.
When I joined the Youth Advisory Council for World Oceans Day, I took the challenge to teach the Plastic Pollution Lesson Plan to kids ages 3 to 10 years old. This experience allowed me to share what I knew about World Oceans Day and issues facing our ocean by focusing on the bigger issue of plastic pollution and how we can all help. I'd like to share three lessons I learned from this experience of teaching kids about the ocean and plastic pollution.
#1 Younger generations seek a lot of information
Youth are hesitant to accept new information and will not be satisfied until you are able to put their doubts to rest. So if you intend to teach kids, you must be prepared to answer a lot of questions and be able to explain the topic from different perspectives to help them understand you. If you explain it one way and they don't understand then they will keep questioning you. So be prepared, speak clearly, and get creative to involve the kids in the subject you are explaining.
#2 Be organized
Kids always know when you are not prepared enough or if you forget to explain something. So be organized, arrive on time, think about how much time you will need for each assignment, and do the best you can with time management so you can enjoy the time with the students.
#3 Invite someone else to teach with you
You can be the best teacher ever, but two heads can be better than one. Bring someone that has other experiences in the same subject that you are approaching to improve and add diversity to your presentation. For example, in my case I've learned a lot about plastic pollution because I was part of a NGO that does beach cleaning and research with the materials collected. For the World Oceans Day presentation, I invited a friend that works with the rehabilitation of marine animals. This was awesome because I saw that when you invite someone else and the kids see two people instead of one, they become curious and wonder what will come next, which helps them pay attention.
Another important point is to encourage the group to continue working together as they become more conscious of plastic pollution and begin to understand the importance of preserving our oceans. Try to connect the students to groups in the community so they can continue taking actions to save the ocean and call more people to the movement to preserve our ocean.
All these lessons during World Oceans Day showed me that if we act now and help kids understand the critical issues we are dealing with, then we can create a generation of people that are environmentally conscious. Be the seed that is helping to grow this transformation. Helping the next generation make better decisions is really awesome. I'm grateful that The Ocean Project and the Youth Advisory Council gave me the opportunity to learn these important lessons.
And you? Don't wait to act - change yourself to change the world. Make every day be World Oceans Day! You can do this!