Learning Action 1: A Case Story to Introduce ESD

Building on your Change Project Orientation Task where you started reviewing the ‘status’ of ESD in your institution, and identified some opportunities for change, the first step in our Action Learning Programme will be to deepen our review work. We will undertake a more careful ‘Sustainability Starts with Teachers’ review in our TE/TVET instruction programmes. It is important to do this with others in your community of practice.

First, we will listen to the case story of how teacher educators have undertaken such a review. After this we will consider some of the aspects to work through to undertake a more in-depth review in your institution.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this learning action, you will have:

  • Undertaken a review of the context, policies and competences in your teacher education / TVET institution to see how these reflect SD and ESD.
  • Consolidated the focus of your chosen Change Project based on this review.

CASE STUDY: In this Learning Action we will follow the work of a Secondary Teacher Education community of practice in Zambia as they undertake an ESD review. They will help us to think through how we can do such a review in our own context. Their review will also remind us that ‘Sustainability Starts with Teachers’!

After listening to the case story, and based on your experience, try to summarise your current understanding of the concepts ‘sustainable development’ and ‘Education for Sustainable Development’ in your TE/TVET institution (these will develop as the course unfolds).

  • What are the critical sustainable development issues that colleagues in your TE/TVET institution are addressing through their engagement with ESD?

Undertaking a review of ESD in a TE/TVET Institution

In Learning Action 1, we work through some ‘steps’ that can help us deepen understanding of the concepts of Sustainable Development and Education for Sustainable Development (NOTE: You can adapt these steps if you need to).

Step 1 – Starting with understandings of ‘Sustainable Development’

How were the colleagues in the case study discussing the concept of sustainable development?

Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of current and future generations. Since development is creating both positive outcomes and problems, sustainable development requires us to include the environment, social justice, economic well being and equity, gender justice, and indigenous knowledge into curriculum and programmes. Not everyone knows how to do this, and our societies are all learning to improve development thinking and practice so that it can meet the needs of current and future generations, therefore we can also think of sustainable development as a learning process – we are all learning our way towards a more sustainable, just future for all, including other life forms. This is why we need to give attention to Education for Sustainable Development in our societies and communities.

Sustainable development is development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987).

Sustainable development is a learning process through which we can, (if we choose) learn to build our capacity to live more sustainably (Scott and Gough, 2003)

Use this session’s forum to discuss the two definitions of sustainable development above. Try to answer the following questions in the forum:

  • What is your understanding of sustainable development? What are the critical sustainable development concerns in your community or context?
  • To what extent do your views on ESD reflect an understanding of sustainable development reflected in the two definitions of sustainable development above?
  • What are the implications for your TE/TVET Instruction Change Project development?