Environmental Justice Course Provides Learning Collaborations with L.A. Middle and High Schoolers

TEP alumni and UCLA undergrads partner to explore Indigenous views with younger students, collaborate with them in discussions, virtual conferences, and PSA poster project.

Alumni and students in the UCLA Department of Education teamed up with UCLA faculty this quarter to create learning opportunities for Los Angeles middle and high school students as part of the Environmental Justice class, taught by UCLA lecturer Jeff Share. Emiliano Amaro, a second-year resident in UCLA’s Teacher Education Program (TEP) who teaches full-time at Camino Nuevo Middle School, and TEP alum Tyler Kenney (’16), a teacher at the Environmental Science High School, partnered with Share for their students to engage in a series of activities including a virtual conference with Indigenous activists, video discussions between the university and younger students using FlipGrid, and a PSA poster project. 

“It was fabulous to be able to work with my former students Tyler and Emiliano who are now teaching their own students,” says Share. “We have been discussing environmental justice education for over a year, so to see this come to fruition was such a wonderful experience.”  

“Although there are generally many limitations to remote environments that can include unequal access, technical difficulties, lack of in-person interaction, and Zoom fatigue, this course has shown us the positive potential as well,” wrote Torres and Ojeda, two UCLA undergraduate students in the Environmental Justice course, in their summary at the end of the class. “The online environment encouraged us to be creative with our interactions and in a sense was fundamental to the creation of our multi-age collaborations and conferences. Being online created accessibility for people from different classes to interact and get to know each other, as well as bring guest speakers from around the world. 

“We have been grateful for having this opportunity to work with youth and Indigenous women especially on a topic that we are passionate about. As aspiring teachers, we want to implement an environmental justice curriculum wherever we go, so this course has given us a transformational experience, practical tools, and a wide-range of resources to apply toward our future goals.”

Click here to read a summary of the Environmental Justice course by Alejandro Ojeda and Mandie Torres, taught by Jeff Share.

For a list of resources for further reading and for a video link to the Dec. 1 conference with Indigenous environmental activists, click here.

Above: Students in an Environmental Justice course for UCLA undergrads organized a Zoom conference on Dec. 1, featuring renowned Indigenous women activists and artists.

Courtesy of Jeff Share