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UNESCO Teacher Education Program: Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development

by | 16th June 2011

In June 2011 Fumiyo Kagawa and David Selby of Sustainability Frontiers completed a UNESCO consultancy to develop and write a one-week (six-day) teacher educator course on Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development for in-service professional development.  Pilot implementation of the program followed in teacher training institutions in Barbados, China, Jamaica, Lesotho, Maldives, Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, Vietnam and Zambia during 2012.  Of general applicability but with bespoke materials for four regions – Africa, Asia, the Small Island Nations and Europe/North America – the program is designed to assist countries around the world in their efforts to build capacity in climate change education.  The program, Climate Change on the Classroom, was published online in February 2013.


For the full PDF version, go to:

The course:

  • Provides professional development for secondary level teachers of diverse subject backgrounds to enable them to integrate climate change content into their lessons;
  • Promotes climate change education within the framework of education for sustainable development.
  • Approaches climate change within a multidisciplinary frame addressing causes, impacts, ethics, mitigation, adaptation, gender, health, migration, lifestyles and disaster risk reduction with a focus on topics relevant to young people.
  • Employs participatory and interactive learning designed to build higher order thinking skills as well as foster socio-affective (emotional) learning
  • Includes disaster risk reduction education exercises.
  • Includes a local field trip component.

The teacher training package includes:

  • An introduction and conceptual framework, with guidelines on facilitating
    participatory learning
  • Six fully-described one-day modules that can be implemented as a six-day course to cumulative effect or in shorter configurations (with advice on how to organize and ‘cherry pick’ course elements to construct shorter training sessions)
  • Support materials (handouts and PowerPoint slides) for each training day
  • A training manual for teacher educators
  • A regional climate change information pack for each of Africa, Asia, Small Island Developing States, and Europe/North America
  • An annotated compilation of activity guides on climate change education that are electronically and freely available from sources worldwide
  • 34 activities that teachers can take back to use in their own classrooms

The consultancy was undertaken between 21 March and 20 June 2011.

An interview with Fumiyo and David on the teacher education program fronts up EduInfo, the UNESCO Education Sector newsletter for July/August 2011 as ‘Interview of the Month’:

The program is also announced on the RIO+20 United Nations Conference for Sustainable Development website (entry for 21 July 2011):