Sustainable development is about creating a positive future, considering the interdependence of social, economic, environmental, and political aspects of our world.  It helps us address major global challenges facing the world today, such as  climate change.  What opportunities are there for young people to engage with these issues?  How can teachers provide spaces for meaningful engagement? And how can we avoid feeling overwhelmed?

In the sections below, we highlight resources developed by teachers, which share ideas about:

We hope that these resources will inspire you to try some global learning activities in your classroom ~ we would love to hear how they went!

For details of our major EU-funded 2013-16 international teacher project, focusing on poverty, hunger and sustainable development, click here

Contact us to find out more about the support we offer, including our professional development programme and current teacher projects.

Learning as sustainable development

Professor Bill Scott raised a challenge of how we enable learners to engage critically with sustainability issues. This challenge inspired teachers to respond by developing a series of activities and approaches. To find out more about the Bill Scott Challenge, click here.

Science, D&T, Citizenship and Geography all have a specific curriculum role in addressing sustainable development.

Climate change

The online resource ‘Climate change ~ local and global’ uses an enquiry approach to encourage creative thinking in response to the challenge of climate change. With lots of suggestions for classroom activities, this is for teachers who want to create space for young people to investigate their own ideas.

‘Learning to choose’ is an online resource for students, which challenges them to make difficult choices related to climate change for themselves and the planet.

Using photographs, newspapers and cartoons as stimuli for learning

Images can raise lots of questions, and are a powerful learning resource.  Teaching ideas including using images to explore controversial issues, along with a selection of downloadable materials are available here.

Newspapers provide a range of perspectives on real and contemporary issues, which inform and challenge learning.  For ideas on how to use newspapers, click here.

'Thin black lines rides again’ is an engaging collection of cartoons that raise serious issues about development and perceptions of the world – thoughtful and stimulating, these are designed to provoke discussion.  For downloadable images, click here

Developing enquiry approaches

A starting point for many discussions about global issues has been the Development Compass Rose [DCR].  The DCR framework reminds us to consider a range of perspectives related to environmental, social, economic and political aspects supporting a deeper understanding of interdependence.  This process challenges our assumptions and stereotypes, while creating a space to listen to others’ viewpoints of the world.  The questions raised at this stage could be the starting point for future learning and activities, essential in a process which allows young people to have greater control over their learning.

‘Food and farming, local and global’ offers a wealth of ideas for enquiring into issues about food, sustainability and interdependence.  This includes using the DCR to evaluate sustainable food production.

Exploring global learning

 ‘Enabling global learning through the key stage 3 curriculum’ shares ideas about global learning, proposes an entitlement for young people and is supported by a range of downloadable material which can be used in the classroom or with colleagues in a CPD session.

Cross-curricular working

A cross-curricular approach supports the connections between different disciplines, and strengthens subject rigour.  ‘Enabling through cross curricular approaches’ - link support section in  ‘Enabling global learning through the KS3 curriculum’ includes ideas for deep learning days, inter-disciplinary collaboration and issue based approaches.  In this article, teachers in Wolverhampton share their experiences of working collaboratively across subject boundaries.