Sustainability starts with teachers course

Welcome to the Sustainability Starts with Teachers course site

The Sustainability Starts with Teachers course is for teacher educators and TVET educators, not teachers or TVET instructors. The focus is on an action-oriented approach to transformative learning in teacher education and TVET institutions. The programme encourages teacher educators and TVET educators to put transformative education and learning towards sustainable development at the centre of their educational work.

The course follows a 5-step action learning programme framework.

About the course

Sustainability Starts with Teachers’ is a regional programme that falls within UNESCO’s ‘Education for Sustainable Development: Towards achieving the SDGs’ or ‘ESD for 2030’ programme. It aims to support capacity building for southern African teacher educators in Early Childhood Education, Primary and Secondary Education, and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), to respond to regional sustainable development concerns and opportunities, the Africa 2063 Agenda, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this programme, you and your teacher education/TVET institution (TEI) will be supported to work on developing an Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Change Project that will model best practice for ESD in your country, in the SADC region, on the African continent, and internationally.

Teacher and TVET educators need to use the professional learning on this course to improve the education of teachers and TVET instructors. In turn, this will support teachers and TVET instructors to integrate ESD into their teaching practice. The programme seeks to support educational engagement with ‘The Africa we Want’ by re-thinking what quality education and training is.

An Action Learning Programme

The action learning programme follows a cycle of five learning actions that involves transforming own and others teacher education practice:

  • Learning Action 1: Reviewing context, curriculum, teacher education and TVET policy in the light of recent trends towards emphasis on 21st century demands, including demands for a new type of competence, and new knowledge(s), as well as use of ICTs in education;
  • Learning Action 2: Identifying relevant content related to sustainability issues and opportunities, and the SDGs in SADC countries, and how this is situated in cultures and life worlds of learners in education and training institutions;
  • Learning Action 3: Using transformative learning methods and creating transformative learning environments;
  • Learning Action 4:  Planning and undertaking assessments for Education for Sustainable Development learning; and
  • Learning Action 5:  Monitoring, evaluating and scaling for impact.

Together, these learning actions ‘build up’ the Change Project over time.

A Five Step Action Learning Programme

Developing Understanding of Education for Sustainable Development:

The Training of Trainers Programme supports participants to develop an understanding of Education for Sustainable Development in their teacher education practice, building on this definition and explanation of Education for Sustainable Development:

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) empowers learners to take informed decisions and responsible actions for environmental integrity, economic viability and a just society, for present and future generations, while respecting cultural diversity. It is about lifelong learning, and is an integral part of quality education. ESD is holistic and transformational education which addresses learning content and outcomes, pedagogy and the learning environment. It achieves its purpose by transforming society. ESD gives attention to:

  • Learning content: Integrating critical issues, such as climate change, biodiversity, disaster risk reduction, and sustainable consumption and production into the curriculum.
  • Pedagogy and learning environments: Designing teaching and learning in an interactive, learner-centred way that enables exploratory, action oriented and transformative learning and contributes to learning environments that are inclusive and inspire learners to act for sustainability.
  • Societal transformation: Empowering learners of any age, in any education setting, to transform themselves and the society they live in to enable transitions to greener economies and societies, develop skills for green jobs, adopt sustainable lifestyles and become global citizens who can create a more just, peaceful, tolerant, secure and sustainable world.
  • Learning outcomes: Stimulating learning and promoting core competencies, such as critical and systemic thinking, collaborative decision-making, and taking responsibility for present and future generations.

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