The United Nations General Assembly adopted Agenda 30 in 2015. There are 17 goals for sustainable development, the SDG’s (Figure 1). As an educator and teacher educator we mostly focus on Goal 4 – Quality Education. SDG 4.7 states:
By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to promote sustainable development, including through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and an appreciation of cultural diversity and culture’s contribution to sustainable development (United Nations, 2015).
Looking from a climate change point of view, it seems that in the past, the general way of designing lessons to teach matters of concern has been a problem-based oriented approach where one starts the lesson with drought-stricken images and polar bears floating on ever decreasing blocks of ice. Problem-based teaching focuses on disaster-stricken climate change problems. Students then experience emotions ranging from hopelessness to resignation, worry, anger, fear, and threat and bring doomsday scenarios into the realm of the expected (Hoffman, 2021). Studies have shown that this type of problem-based approach does not provide an adequate basis for the learners to immediately engage with the global challenges presented in a solution-oriented manner. Instead, it sets discussion in motion of the fears triggered during the lesson. Click on the button below to compare the problem-based and solution-based teaching approaches.