Colloquium on education for sustainable development (ESD): Opportunities and challenges for textbooks and teacher training.

Education for sustainable development is a new trend in educational policy, lately reinforced by a related international UNESCO decade which took place between 2005 and 2014. Although not yet universally resolved, most definitions agree on core elements such as the importance of reflecting on sustainability and related values, seeing the world as a system, thinking critically and creatively, or addressing the future.

All approaches to ESD also agree that it requires evolution in the educational system, and that textbooks are an important part of that process. Many aspects, however, remain unclarified: How can ESD, which is interdisciplinary by nature, be articulated by textbooks organised within traditional school subjects? Is it about content, skills or pedagogical guidelines? What kind of knowledge supports ESD within textbooks, and thus what kind of content and what kind of tasks? How can open, participatory and locally embedded learning processes inherent to ESD be fostered by a textbook? And what do such changes in textbooks imply for the role of the teacher, and therefore teacher training?

This presentation will give a brief overview of the central elements shaping ESD before discussing their significance for textbooks, with the associated opportunities and challenges. It will then focus on the implications for teachers and how to articulate them within teacher training. The subsequent discussion will be based on elements from the presentation and questions from the group in order to communally explore the subject.