Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship (ESDGC) in Wales How it has developed and progressed in the schools’ sector Dr David Norcliffe University of Wales, Newport Sheila Bennell Bangor University
ESDGC in schools in Wales • Several stages of development. • Range of factors: government policy, lobbying, curriculum reform and the development of a support network. • It is now • a cross cutting theme in Wales curriculum • a topic subject to inspection • schools are expected to develop it through all areas of school life.
Stages of ESDGC development • Eliminating World Poverty: A Challenge for the 21st Century (DFID, 1997) • 1999: Devolution: Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) - constitutional commitment to consider sustainable development in all activities. • 1999: Education for the Future lobbying group formed • Lobbying of WAG for greater inclusion of ESDGC • WAG ESD Panel and a Global Citizenship Working Group (convened jointly with the DFID) • 2004: Advisory groups merge to form the ESDGC Panel • ESDGC Champion appointed to develop a new strategy.
Stages of ESDGC developmentcontd • 2006: Estyn position statement (Estyn, 2006a) • ESDGC strategy for all education sectors (DELLS, 2006) • 2006: Revised school inspection guidance for ESDGC (Estyn, 2006b) • 2007-08: ESDGC Common Understanding for schools published (DCELLS, 2008)
The research project Aims: • to find out more about the way in which these changes came about • how a group of people from very different organisations worked together to enable the changes. • What were their initial hopes and expectations? • What were the drivers and motivating factors? • Were there areas of conflict or disagreement? • What did they think about the outcomes? • Were there any causes for concern? • could any factors be identified which might be of use to other countries developing similar strategies?
Methods • Semi-structured interviews with: • early members of the ESD Panel and GC Working Group • current members of the ESDGC Panel • some non-Panel members involved in consultations • 16 in total
How we came to be involved • All committed to ESDGC but their pathways into it were very different e.g. • Working in development NGOs • Working in WAG • Geography and science teaching backgrounds • Overseas work experience • For some this has been a lifelong commitment: “Can’t really remember not being. My concern started with particularly a concern about global poverty. I was reading about this before going on VSO which was in secondary school.”
Our Hopes and Expectations …. • Concerned about the direction of education • Seeking a broader and more holistic approach to education, • Education that makes a difference. • In the WAG they found people willing to listen. • They saw opportunities - education was changing in Wales
Influences and drivers • Commitment to sustainability embedded in the constitution of the Welsh Assembly Government • Specific individuals were mentioned e.g. the then Education Minister, Jane Davidson • WAG’s existence gave scope for NGOs and others to have an influence. • Key individuals from • NGOs, • ACCAC (the curriculum authority), • ESTYN (the Welsh School’s inspection authority)
The composition of the ESDGC Panel • Both panel members and some non-panel members were positive about the mix of people from the voluntary and statutory sectors. • Concern about specific groups being missing e.g. Black and Minority Ethnic, advisory teachers and practising teachers • Some were there because of their type of organisation • Some non-panel members expressed reservations about the composition of the panels “Well I don’t know who chose them or who made those decisions, because it’s not a representative group.”
Tensions • Number of tensions in bringing ESD and EGC together. • False assumption that simply bringing together development education and environmental education would produce an integrated policy. • Some saw this as a result of misunderstandings, some put it down partisanship. “I was quite shocked to discover that some environmental organisations just didn’t want to have anything to do with it and just wanted to carry on in the way they were. They really did see things in a very narrow way.” • Talk of turf wars with competition over funding. “I think in the early days some thought this is an opportunity to become THE scheme that delivers ESDGC and so there was… quite a lot of tension early on as people competed for pole position almost.”
Developing the ESDGC Common Understanding • Estyn (2006): Some teachers did not have a “clear and consistent understanding of the definition, purpose and benefits of ESDGC”. • Conflicting views over use of concepts or themes • Many, however agreed with the respondent who said: “I feel the key concepts put people off, very worthy and all that but it wasn’t a good communication tool for teachers.’
Teacher Training • The key push in the UK from the 1970s was towards creating an all-graduate profession i.e. employing teachers who could grasp and manipulate concepts. • In Primary training, the 3 year undergraduate teacher training degree has undermined this move - students now only have to achieve level 3 (A-level) in their main subject to obtain a degree. • Secondary training generally follows a technocratic model of teaching • The new Skills framework may change this
Knowledge and values • This debate on teacher training was reflected in attitudes to knowledge communication. • One respondent, on climate change, stated “a lot of things depend on having proper knowledge, a lot of attitudes start with proper knowledge”. • Others argued that knowledge communication was not the whole or even the major part of the solution. Critical thinking and values were essential .
The Common Understanding: content • The views on the value of themes influenced the ESDGC panel’s decision. • The final themes selected were: • Wealth and Poverty Identity and Culture • Choices and Decisions Health • the Natural Environment Consumption and Waste • Climate Change. • The ESDGC: A Common Understanding for schools in Wales (DCELLS, 2008b) is now in schools.
The ESDGC Common Understanding: the process • Most were aware of the difficulties. Some were positive: “I think the way that the CU was developed is a cracking case study of how things should be done.” • A number felt that insufficient resources were allocated, • Some felt frustration at the length of time the process took. • Some non-panel members felt that there were issues in the production and distribution of documents, lack of involvement of teachers and education advisory teams. • Some were very blunt: “The consultation and involvement hasn’t worked”.
Achievements • All were pleased with the achievements. “Well, I think it’s been a tremendous achievement.” “think it’s fantastic, I love it. I love the fact that it exists.” “We can’t really ask for much more than having it there in the curriculum and so on and so forth, yeah I think we have come a long way.” • There was genuine pleasure at the fact that: • it was in schools, • that the teachers had clear guidance, • that ESTYN were fully involved, • there was a focus on whole school operation and not just on the curriculum.
They said …. “it gives people ammunition” It puts a “line in the sand”. “The mindset change is one the most important things to happen…” “Well, in places where it is really taken on board you can already see that it is having a huge impact on school life, and you know the whole ethos and way of working can be dramatically changed by the adoption of this strategy.”
On the need to bring about more change There was agreement on: • Necessity of bringing about changes in attitudes and action • Changing the zeitgeist is absolutely necessary. • Many felt that they were “running with the tide” - revised curriculum on same wave length • Not all of this is down to the ESDGC policy – other major global moves were influential • Abolishment of SATS testing had freed up time for other approaches.
The future • They were generally positive about the future direction of ESDGC. “The statutory requirement on sustainability will be key” • There are also other forces at work: • Cyfanfyd and the NGOs generally are still pressing the agenda • Many of the advisory teachers in schools have taken this agenda on board. • It is a focus for the inspection process and, therefore, always on the agenda of head teachers. “I think that Wales is just about still in the vanguard, because we are a small nation; it is easier for us to do such things here.”
On what may happen next …. • Concern about future funding from both the WAG and DFID EES money; the effect of the economic crisis • Many pointed to the drivers that could be utilized. • WAG top 10 overall priority • opportunities in the Welsh Baccalaureate and the World Development ‘A’ level • opportunity in the Skills Framework • “It could be massive. ESDGC wants to climb into bed with that skills framework and say ‘eh up, if you want to talk about thinking and building active learning into your school and move away from didactic level, particularly at secondary school then ESDGC is a means to do that.”
Models • Ongoing work is considering the ESDGC developments in the light of: • policy entrepreneurship as proposed by Mintrom and Vergari (1998) • Communities of practice (Lave and Wenger, 1991; Thorpe, 2002) • Second level Activity theory (Engeström, 1987) and third level Activity theory (Russell, 2002)
Stages in development • Different communities of practice, or activity systems, meet and discuss … ideas, goals uncertain • A new community of practice forms, lobbies for change…. Goals become more defined • 2 separate Panels (activity systems) with separate goals and some different values • Initial stages of joint panel - need to resolve conflicts of ideas -- goals forming, not concrete • Fully functioning effective ESDGC Panel with well-defined goals
WAG SD policy Education Officers New policy ideas Environmental NGOS DevelopmentNGOs
Figure 1. The later stages of the WAG ESDGC panel represented by second level Activity Theory (Engeström, 1987) Tools: Initial document ESDGC: Why What, How (ACCAC, 2002), information from NGO documents, research papers, the Decade for ESD etc Object: School implementation ofESDGC; The ‘Common Understanding’ Goal Critically, globally and sustainability-aware learners Subject: Schools and teachers ESDGC in schools in Wales Rules: WAG commitment to SD, Estyn Positionstatement, proposals for therevised curriculum andthe new Skills Framework Division of labour: Consultation, writing, gathering evidence Community: ESDGC panel Consultants; consultees
Bibiography ACCAC (1994) Spiritual and Moral Development, Cardiff: ACCAC ACCAC (2000) Personal and Social Education (PSE) framework in Wales, Cardiff, Cardiff, Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales. ACCAC (2002) Education for Global Citizenship and Sustainable Development, Cardiff, Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales. Bjørke (2004 ) The concepts of Communities of Practice, Activity Theory and implications for Distributed Learning, Arendal. Available at: http://www.gvu.unu.edu/docs/The%20concepts%20of%20Communities%20of%20Practice,%20Activity%20Theory%20and%20implications%20for%20Distributed%20Learning.doc Brinn, D., Fowler, C. and Hester, C. (2001) Making a difference: education for sustainable development within the personal and social education, Sandy: The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. DCELLS (2008a) Making the Most of Learning, Cardiff: Welsh Assembly Government. DCELLS (2008b) Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship: A Common Understanding for schools, Information Document No.065/2008, Cardiff: Welsh Assembly Government. DCELLS (2008c) The Skills Framework, Cardiff: Welsh Assembly Government DELLS (2006a) Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship: A Strategy for Action, DELLS Information Document No: 017-06, Cardiff: WelshAssembly Government. DFEE (2000) Developing a global dimension in the school curriculum, 0015-0016-2000, London: DFEE, DFID (1997) Eliminating World Poverty: A Challenge for the 21st Century. London, Engeström, Y. (1987) Learning by expanding: An activity-theoretical approach to developmental work research, Helsinki. Orienta-Konsultit Estyn (2006a) Establishing a position statement on Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship in Wales, Cardiff: Estyn. Estyn (2006b) Update on inspecting Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship, Cardiff: ESTYN. Green, J. () http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~jgreene) HM Government (1998) The Government of Wales Act, London, HMSO Lave and Wenger (1991) Millar, R. 2009 http://www.infed.org/biblio/holisticeducation.htm Mintrom, M., & Vergari, S. (1996) Policy Networks and Innovation Diffusion: The Case of State Education Reforms, The Journal of Politics, 1998, 60, 1, 126-148 Oxfam (1997) Curriculum for Global CitizenshipOxford: Oxfam, Richardson, J. (2002) Government, Interest Groups and Policy Change, Political Studies,Volume 48 Issue 5, Pages 1006 – 1025 Russell, D.R. (2002) Looking beyond the interface. Activity theory and distributed learning, London, Routledge Falmer. Scott, W. & Gough, S. (2003) Sustainable Development and Learning: Framing the issues London and New York: Routledge Thorpe (2002) UK Sustainable Development Panel, 2000 Welsh Assembly Govenrment ESDGC Advisory Panel (2008) The ESDGC Panel