How can we practically put Education for Sustainable Development into action?

Education for Sustainable Development Guidance

Jointly published by QAA and Advance HE, this guidance provides a framework and guidance to help staff in UK higher education institutions  incorporate Education for Sustainable Development within their curricula. It has been produced by an expert group drawn from across the sector, with the aim of supporting students from any discipline to acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to develop values and take actions to transition society towards sustainable futures.

Advance HE Members can download the full guidance ( EHU staff are members)

UNESCO provides a useful list of learning objectives for each of the 17 Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) and discusses how these can be achieved. UNESCO moving forward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is also available.

The Higher Education Academy (HEA) offers  general and practical advice about teaching and  learning, assessment and the learning environment. There is a useful checklist for all educators:

Questions that educators may ask themselves.

Reflecting on Sustainability/Sustainable Development

  • How does education for sustainable development relate to my subject area or discipline?
  • To what extent am I already covering sustainable development issues?  How can I make those features more explicit?
  • What types of sustainable development case studies exist within, and are applicable to, my discipline?

Engaging Students

  • How can I help students develop interdisciplinary thinking and encourage them to take a holistic approach?
  • If many of my students perceive sustainable development as solely or primarily an environmental issue, how can I ensure they understand the balance between society, economy and environment?
  • The words ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable development’ do not resonate with the vocabulary commonly used in my discipline. What alternative words and concepts could I use to engage my students

The Learning Environment

  • How can I provide learning opportunities that have authenticity, enabling students to relate their knowledge and skills to real-life problems, both locally and globally?
  • How can I provide learning opportunities that begin to make a difference to sustainability, such as project work or service learning?