Aug 1, 2021
Meighan Hooper is a visual arts teacher at the British School of Bahrain and a member of our Teacher Taskforce. She is the curriculum leader for her school’s visual arts department and also teaches French. In the past, she has taught world religion, PSHE (Personal, Social, Health, and Economic Education), and nursery. She grew up in Canada and has taught in China, Qatar, and Bahrain.
𝗗𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗰𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲?
Currently, no. There are not any standards that are required in the U.K. National Curriculum, but I would like to incorporate it moving forward. One of my roles at SubjectToClimate is that I’m going to be bringing in climate change resources for art teachers and building art lessons based on that.
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁’𝘀 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗮𝗰𝗵 𝘁𝗼 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗼𝗿𝗽𝗼𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗰𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗼 𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝗲𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻?
I find that a lot of teachers bring in things like upcycling, making junk sculptures— and I don’t think that’s really useful. I prefer to teach about climate artists who are in activism. Artists who are painting giant murals and creating performance art and also leading projects. I think that is more interesting. I think that art is important in the climate change conversation because you get an emotional response from it, and that’s what motivates people to make a change.
Art about climate change can be incorporated into a curriculum, because when you go to write an art curriculum, the requirements are very vague. So there’s a lot of room to incorporate a unit or to write a unit. The problem is that a lot of art teachers don’t have that background. So that’s one of the things I’m working towards with StC, is just getting those resources out.
𝗪𝗵𝗼 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝘀𝘁𝘀 𝗱𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸 𝗼𝗻 𝗰𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲?
I really like Jill Pelto’s work. She incorporates graphs into her work, which I think are really interesting. And her work is really subtle, but then it’s also really, really powerful at the same time.
𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗶𝘀 𝗰𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗲𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗮𝗻𝘁?
There is no Planet B. So if we don’t provide this education, we’re kind of just watching time pass by. Like, what are we doing? Do we really want to place that burden on our children, and on our great-grandchildren? How will they survive? As a young woman, sometimes I question, do I even want to have children to bring to this world, to have them deal with these things?
We have to teach about climate change. There’s no other alternative.
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗶𝗴𝗴𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗯𝗮𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗲𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻?
Well, first of all, it’s not written in any of the curriculum, and it’s not mandatory. It’s kind of a “nice to have” rather than a “needs to have.” It’s not a priority.
What are we prioritizing? Teaching them math skills when the world has calculators, teaching them how to spell when the world has spell check. What we teach and what they need in the real world— there’s such a disconnect, because curriculum is always so far behind.
𝗢𝗻𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗳𝗼𝗰𝘂𝘀𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗹𝘆 𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗱𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗲𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻. 𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝘄𝗲 𝗮𝗱𝗱𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗮 𝘀𝘂𝗯𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝗮𝘀 𝘄𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘆 𝗮𝘀 𝗰𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗮 𝘄𝗮𝘆 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁’𝘀 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝘁𝗵𝗳𝘂𝗹 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝗮𝗹𝘀𝗼 𝗮𝗴𝗲-𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗿 𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗱𝗿𝗲𝗻?
It helps to start with something that they understand, like respecting animals. Kids are so motivated by animals. But they’re not taught about the realities of it— there are very few children who understand the realities of it. And if we were more realistic and stopped being so cutesy in early childhood education, I think that would definitely paint a clearer picture, and also give our children choice on what they want to put in their bodies and what they want to support.
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗱𝘃𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗱𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗼𝗿𝗽𝗼𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗰𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗰𝘂𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗰𝘂𝗹𝗮?
I definitely think that what we’re doing at StC is going to help a lot, because teachers really don’t have time to digest more content than they’re already doing right now. Especially in today’s world, where we’re having blended learning, and some people are fully virtual, and some are remote, and then the next week they’re back to— it’s crazy, right now, being a teacher. It’s an insane job.
So I would say digging into some of our resources that have google docs, or slide presentations, or interactive maps— those types of things that you can share for your kids to do virtually. You can use breakout rooms. Using the resources that are there, and then making that work for whatever type of hybrid learning is going on.
𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗱𝗶𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗷𝗼𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 T𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗿 T𝗮𝘀𝗸𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗰𝗲?
I just felt that coming onto this team would allow me to work with something that was going to be impactful, to help other teachers and to help other students. So, that’s one of the motivating factors for me to come onto it, is to find meaningful work.
𝗙𝗮𝘃𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗻𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲?
I grew up in Canada. We have a cottage that’s five hours North of Toronto. That’s my favorite place in the world. We have a dock, and we’re on the lake, but the cottage itself is on an island. I grew up there. I spent my summers there. I’m definitely missing it right now.