Education for Sustainable Development
The students / learners should be given the opportunity to deal critically with the various sustainability challenges and to relate the various Sustainability Goals to one another.
This promotes and demands, among other things the following generic (key) competencies for students / learners, as they are also described in the context of the Dublin Descriptors (cf. Bologna Process), the National Qualification Framework (NQF) and the European Qualification Framework (EQF):
System Thinking competency
Recognize and understand connections
Analyze complex systems
Understanding how systems are embedded in different domains and different scales
Dealing with uncertainties
Understand and evaluate the future, create own visions
Apply the precautionary principle
understand and assess the consequences of actions
Understand and reflect the norms and values of one's own behavior
Negotiating sustainability values, principles and goals in the context of conflicts of interest, uncertain knowledge and contradictions
Collective development and implementation of innovative measures that promote sustainability
Learning from others
Empathy and reflective understanding of the needs, perspectives and actions of others
Empathic leadership skills
Competence to deal with conflicts in groups / teams
Enabling collaborative and participative problem solving
Integrated problem-solving competency
Competence to apply different problem-solving strategies for complex sustainability problems and to develop beneficial, inclusive and fair solutions.
Critical thinking skills
Questioning practices and norms against the background of one's own values,
Norms and actions.
Positioning in the (sustainability) discourse
Self-competency (self awareness)
Knowledge of your own role in the (sustainability) discourse.
Evaluation of one's own actions against the background of one's own feelings and wishes
Examples of learning objectives, learning settings and methods
On the specific information pages of the individual 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), learning objectives, content, approaches and methods that can contribute to achieving the respective SDGs are described as examples.
The examples given come from UNESCO (2017): Education for Sustainable Development Goals, Learning Objectives and must be understood as suggestions.
They are formulated in such a way that they can be adapted by the teachers to contexts and learning settings, but also to the intended level.
For each SDG, learning objectives are described in a cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioral domain.
Cognitive learning objectives
Knowledge and cognitive skills necessary to better understand the specific SDG and the challenges associated with achieving it.
Social skills that make it possible to work together, communicate and negotiate in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal
Self-reflection, attitudes, motivation for personal development
Behavioral learning objectives
Action competencies that promote the achievement of the SDG
Outline of exemplary topics and contents of the specific SDG
Methods (pedagogical approaches)
The exemplary learning objectives of the individual SDG cannot be seen in isolation. They are related to the overarching topic of sustainability or to the associated “mindset”.
Collaborative projects in serious situations such as service learning projects and campaigns for various SDGs
Methods for developing future designs such as future workshops, scenario analyzes, utopian / dystopian narratives, science fiction thinking as well as prognoses and backcasting
Analyzes of complex systems through participatory research projects, case studies, stakeholder analyzes, actor analyzes, modeling, system games, etc.
Critical and reflective thinking through fish bowl discussions,
Learning diaries etc.
Achieving the Goals
Education for Sustainable Development is essential for achieving the SDGs. It can enable learners / students to understand the sustainability goals in their complexity and also makes a contribution to achieving them. The UNESCO (2017) Education for Sustainable Development Goals, Learning Objectives, describes the educational approach required for this as action-oriented, transformative and learning outcome-oriented.
Preparing learners for disruptive thinking and the co-creation of new knowledge can also be described as a task of education.
Sustainable development can also be described as a learning process. As a learning process, it has to be repeatedly questioned and further developed. Suitable methods for learning about the Sustainable Development Goals encourage both a critical discussion of the content/topic and the learning process itself.