Using a Masters Course to Explore the Challenges and Opportunities of Incorporating Sustainability into a Range of Educational Contexts

  • Alison FoxEmail author
  • Paula Addison-Pettit
  • Clare Lee
  • Kris Stutchbury
  • Together with Masters Students on the Module EE830: Educating the Next Generation
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


Issues in the environment drive societal change (Brown in Seven global issues to watch in 2018, blog post. United Nations Foundation, New York, 2018); and hence challenge the purpose of education. Participants on a Masters course, representing informal and formal education for children aged 4–19, discussed the question “How should the purpose of education change in the light of environmental change?” The course introduces education in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the UNESCO range of competences for children forming the next generation. Participants were challenged to characterise the knowledge and skills needed by children to evaluate evidence on climate change, as well as identify and respond to local environmental issues. They also reflected on the most challenging aspects of putting Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into practice and gave examples of integrating sustainability into educational practice. This paper reports an analysis of the responses of students who wanted to contribute, according to six dimensions of ESD (biosphere; spatial; temporal; critical; creative and active). Findings suggest that students are clear that pedagogic changes are needed and they embrace a holistic view of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment, but need support if they are to show the agency they want to support children’s understanding of the impact of environmental change and how to find solutions.


Agency Education for sustainable development Competences for sustainability Education practice Curriculum change 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison Fox
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paula Addison-Pettit
    • 1
  • Clare Lee
    • 1
  • Kris Stutchbury
    • 1
  • Together with Masters Students on the Module EE830: Educating the Next Generation
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Education, Childhood, Youth and SportThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesEngland, UK

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