UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

05/12/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/13/2023 00:29

Critical thinking and interdisciplinarity are key for learners to be climate ready

How can schools and education institutes incorporate education for sustainable development (ESD) into learning? What approaches can teachers and practitioners use to better introduce the skills and competencies learners need for an uncertain future? The March 2023 edition of the ESD-Net 2030 Learning webinars was devoted to exploring ESD pedagogies and showcased four different approaches and perspectives ranging from curriculum design, the intersection of science, technology and well-being, to unleashing the transformative power of ESD through collaborative and multidisciplinary processes.

'It's not only about what you learn but how you learn…taking a transdisciplinary approach can actively help us to do this', said Rosie Latchford, from Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK), as part of the workshop led by the International Association of Universities (IAU). IAU noted that by taking a transdisciplinary approach to teaching based on SDG4 and ESD, universities play a critical role in equipping students with the knowledge and skills they need to become responsible and engaged citizens.

What we learned

The view on interdisciplinary and collaborative engagement in the learning process was common across the interventions. Dr. Jos Eussen from Maastricht University, emphasized that ESD can be taught through open educational areas (OPEDUCA), bringing together stakeholders from multiple backgrounds and focusing on multidisciplinary, joint and collaborative learning. Maria Toro-Troconis and Norita Ahmad from the Association of Learning Design and ESD (ALDESD) shared their CoDesignS ESD Framework and Toolkit for ESD lesson design, centred around the learning objectives 'head', 'heart' and 'hands' which helps educators and learners target the socio-emotional and behavioural domains of ESD.

It is important for all students in whatever context to understand their ability to make a difference to their local lives.
Dr Kenneth Y T Lim, National Institute of Education, Singapore

Problem solving and critical thinking was another key approach identified by participants. The Disciplinary Intuitions team led by Dr. Kenneth Lim at NIE, Singapore noted that ESD should use the local environment as authentic resources for learning. NIE student Minh Anh Nguyen Duc explained that their approach involves 'citizen science […] to explore a topic that used to be available for scientists in a lab. Now it allows us to take our initiative and become a researcher and [..]make change.'

This March 2023 ESD-Net Learning webinar reached over 200 stakeholders and was a reminder of the multitude of approaches and modalities to embrace education for sustainable development in learning environment and communities. "We see and hear a great demand from our stakeholders for support in effectively implementing ESD into learning environments. These learning webinars really are an opportunity for our partners and collaborators to highlight the innovative practices and approaches they are taking to contextual ESD in their local environments." - Jun Morohashi, Chief of the Education for Sustainable Development section at UNESCO.

The ESD-Net 2030 Learning Webinar series will continue in May and September 2023. To register and join the upcoming May session please visit ESD-Net 2030 Learning Webinar #2.