Sustainable development and climate change

How do we prepare young people to take on the challenges of the uncertain world in which we live?  This section shares approaches and resources to enable learners to explore big global issues.

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: 

Learning as sustainable development;
Climate change;
Using images as a stimulus;
Developing questioning and enquiry;
Exploring what global learning means.

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!
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.  Teachers in mainstream and special schools responded individually and collectively, through the curriculum, school grounds, and external relationships - 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

Climate change is one of the big challenges facing our world today, and is often reported in the media.  By providing space for children to engage in discussion, we can help to make them feel more positive about the future.

‘Lessons in sustainability’  and the ‘Our Beautiful Earth’ project as part of the Bill Scott Challenge, are two examples of a number of resources which share the experiences of teachers who have done this.

Using images as a stimulus

A powerful image can inspire a range of emotions and raise questions and challenges for learning.  A range of downloadable activities supports ‘Talking about photographs’ to support materials for Global learning in primary schools’.   ‘Young children and global citizenship’ shares ideas about using photographs to elicit children’s existing ideas about the world at KS1. 

Tide~ working groups have produced many photo packs over the years, offering ideas for using photographs, and supported by sets of high quality images.  These include ‘Family Album’, ‘Water Issues ~ local & global’, and the primary Science resource ‘A world of Investigations’.

Developing questioning and enquiry

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 prompting deep engagement while encouraging the development of observation and questioning skills.  This process challenges our assumptions and stereotypes, while creating a space to listen to others’ viewpoints of the world.

The online resource ‘Climate change ~ local and global’ uses an enquiry approach to encourage creative thinking at KS2 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 learners to investigate their own ideas.

‘Young children and global citizenship’ offers a range of ideas for developing the questioning and communication skills of children at KS1 and Early Years, including through the use of story, image and looking at ‘special places’.

Exploring global learning

Global learning in primary schools’ 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.