Building an ESD trainer FAQ

Sample task for a teacher training targeted at teachers of guest-oriented vocational skills (food preparation, maintaining cleanliness and textile care).


  • to anticipate some of the most frequent questions about shifting to a sustainability mindset
  • to add and adapt to a template FAQ
  • to discuss ESD with stakeholders and colleagues

Time: 60 – 75 minutes


  1. Look at the following FAQ about implementing a sustainable perspective in your courses.
  2. Show the FAQ to colleagues, stakeholders and students to get their suggestions for additional questions and different answers.
  3. Aim to add at least two questions and add or edit at least one response.
  4. Add your adapted and extended FAQ to your portfolio.

FAQ about Education for Sustainable Development

This FAQ is not complete. Your task is to extend it eiher by adding questions, extending existing replies or adding replies to empty questions.


How does teaching sustainability differ from teaching other topics?
The challenge is not so much to teach ABOUT sustainability, since this could be done in the same way as teaching almost anything else. Our challenge is how to teach vocational guest-oriented skills (such as cleaning, cooking, running a B & B) in such a way that you promote sustainable ways of working in your students. eg when learning how to cook meringues you might also ensure that there is a plan for using the unneeded egg yolks embedded in the lesson.
Having said that, to learn about sustainability in a deep way you, as a student, do need to experience it and so certain pedagogies will work better than others such as PBL, Design Thinking, Visible Thinking, Experiential learning, Values-based education and so on.

How to motivate students to see the importance of sustainability without being a Doomsday missionary?
Al Gore said recently: “Hope is essential – despair is just another form of denial”
What we increasingly notice is that sustainable solutions are cheaper, more efficient and more holistic. eg treat your employees well and they will be more motivated to work for you.

What can I do if I know that I have a student in my class who thinks very strongly that climate change has not been made worse by people?

How can environmental, social and economic sustainability be incorporated into the curriculum?
We cannot predict since we do not know in advance the exact syllabus that each teacher participant teaches. We expect that they will come with ideas and that their course colleagues can give feedback.

How important is it to emphasize that sustainability is not only about the environment but also about social and economic factors as well?
Very, if you can demonstrate to students the importance of sustainability across all three sectors then it is much easier to convince them of the importance of acting sustainably.


Is there an interrelationship between environmental, social and economical sustainability?

There should be a tight interrelationship with all 3. There are new economic paradigms being tried out such as the Circular Economy and the Donut economy.

How well do sustainably responsible companies do financially?
I t seems that sustainable approach makes financial sense eg see this article.



What is the interrelationship between economic wellbeing and sustainable values? Is it so, that only rich can afford to think sustainably?
Sustainable behaviour is increasingly money-saving behaviour eg instead of continually buying plastic bags you buy one solid bag that you use over a very long period of time. It would be interesting to explore to what extent this is true over a range of everyday tasks.


Can you give me some ideas for collaboration?

List of sample tasks in the series

An arrow to the future

Building an ESD FAQ (this post)

From 17 to 5: A backcasting strategy

Is there a sustainability TPACK?

Staff competences in a sustainable setting

Sustainability Bingo

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