for Sustainable Development for Child Education and Schools
for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a rather new field
of education. We can see it as an innovative kind of future
education for schools linking the child’s development
with the future challenges of society.
don’t think that education for sustainable development
is just another buzzword forgotten in a few years. From
a global perspective as well as a local perspective we
have to direct education toward what will be truly useful
for each child and for each society in the future.
have a fulfilling life should be within reach for all
children where ever they are born. In too many parts of
society and of the world children grow up in hazardous
environments with very poor conditions for basic requirements
and bleak prospects for their future.
for Sustainable Development is derived from the Brundtland
report’s focus on Sustainable Development (SD).
The Brundtland report requires fundamental changes in
the society and its institutions, in politics and in our
individual family life styles. Economic development cannot
be separated from social development and a concern for
for child development
Educational research can tell us a lot of how to make
use of education for sustainable development for child
most important fact might be that ESD is an excellent
frame for the empowerment of children. When we respect
each individual child for its ideas and opinion, and at
the same time bring the child into challenging learning
situations we facilitate empowerment of the child.
self esteem and empowerment goes hand in hand in education
for sustainable development. A proper self esteem is such
an important part of successful child development.
important fact is that ESD is a productive frame for meaningful
learning. Opposite to rote learning and the acquisition
of facts without much understanding meaningful learning
situations help the child to engage fully in the teaching.
By working with real problems the child can develop much
better understanding of concepts and skills from the schools
core curriculum in a meaningful context. The key to that
is the opportunity to use and reflect on these ‘traditional’
ingredients of classic schooling in the meaningful contexts
derived from the focus on sustainable development.
for sustainable development and schools
Some schools have focused on the beautification of their
school environment. This might help the school’s
prestige in the local society but it isn’t helpful
for education for sustainable development unless it happens
as the students’ project.
some schools have put a lot of emphasis in making the
school buildings more ‘green’ with solar power
panels, recycling systems, water conservation measures
and tree planting around the school. Again, such initiatives
are only valuable for the learning of the students if
they are planned as student projects. You cannot evaluate
the quality of a school’s work with education for
sustainable development from a picture of the school.
a better approach to ESD, headmaster and teachers should
ask questions like:
- How can we challenge students’ thinking on the
future and how to make use of parts of the core curriculum
in a meaningful way in combination?
- How can we teachers cooperate to create stimulating
activities and plan the teaching in such a way that the
self-esteem of the students will benefit from it?
- How can we help students to investigate local people’s
concern for the future and how to make sense of such results?
- How can we help students to try to make a difference
according to their wishes and visions?
for sustainable development will gain increasing publicity
as the picture of environmental degradation, energy shortage,
climate change, increasing poverty mixed with increasing
wealth and the overall picture of globalization becomes
cannot blame our children for these issues but it is our
duty to educate them to be able to cope with such complex
and controversial issues and to live a decent life with
a belief that it is possible for everybody to make a difference
to the better.
Breiting is an educational researcher that has
traveled worldwide and experienced the challenges of sustainable
development combined with the beauty of the world. You
find his pictures from around the Globe at A-Z
and basic information and resources about Education
for Sustainable Development at http://www.EducationForSustainableDevelopment.com
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