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Embedding Global & Sustainable Schools Concepts into your Curriculum

The purpose of this page is to offer teachers some ‘enquiry’ questions to help identify suitable Global Citizenship and Sustainability issues in lesson planning where there is an opportunity to do so. They are intended for cross-curricular use in most if not all subjects and can be used by primary, secondary and special school teachers. The Key Questions can be modified to suit the topic or unit being studied and the level of attainment and age of the pupils. The next step is to use the selected Key Questions to devise teaching and learning activities appropriate to that topic or unit without distorting it.

Key Questions by Key Concept

The Key Questions have been arranged by Key Concept for both the Global Dimension and Sustainable Development to give the full range and breadth of study of these important elements of the curriculum. However there is considerable overlap between these two elements and between the individual Key Concepts of each, so some Key Questions are duplicated.


Global Dimension

Key Concept


Key Questions

1: Global Citizenship

Gaining the knowledge, skills and understanding of concepts and institutions necessary to become informed, active and responsible citizens

  • What do different people/groups think about the issue?
  • How does the United Nations work and what does it do to help countries and peoples around the world?
  • How do other organisations such as Oxfam, Christian Aid and Cafod help the poor and needy around the world?
  • How are decisions made which affect us/other peoples and who makes them?
  • Who listens to my/other peoples’ views and ideas?
  • How can I take action to improve the situation/problem/issue?
  • How do events across the world affect us in our local area?
  • What do different languages/places/art/music/religion tell us about other peoples?

2: Diversity

Understanding and respecting differences and relating these to our common humanity

  • How do people’s rights vary around the world?
  • What are the similarities and differences between different cultures and peoples?
  • Are we being prejudiced or biased?
  • What is amazing about other peoples and environments around the world?
  • Will it/the proposal increase or decrease the variety of wildlife?
  • How do different environments affect us and other peoples?
  • What do different people think about the issue/problem?

3: Human Rights

Knowing about human rights including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  • What are our human rights (in this situation)?
  • How can we be responsible global citizens in our homes and local areas?
  • Who has rights and responsibilities in this situation?
  • Who is being denied their human rights in this situation?
  • Are we/they being prejudiced, biased or racist?
  • Is this fair/unfair?
  • What is/are the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child/the European Declaration on Human Rights/the UK Human Rights Act and how do they affect our lives?

4: Interdependence

Understanding how people, places, economies and environments are all inextricably interrelated, and that choices and events have repercussions on a global scale

  • How will it/a change/a proposed development affect people, places or living things?
  • What impact will (e.g. a new offshore drilling rig) have on (e.g. marine and coastal pollution or local people’s standards of living)?
  • What impact will the actions of others have on our lives?
  • What impact will my/my country’s actions have on other people?
  • What impact will my ideas/clothes/religion/possessions have on other people (say within the school site, locally. regionally, nationally or globally)?
  • How can I be a responsible citizen of the planet?

5: Sustainable Development

Understanding the need to maintain and improve the quality of life now without damaging the planet for future generations.

  • How do we take care of/look after this effectively?
  • Should we use these resources/materials?
  • Can we re-use this resource/these materials?
  • What is the source of these materials/resources?
  • What impact will it/the proposal have on jobs, income, the family, the local community and the environment?
  • What will happen in the future?
    What do we want to happen in the future?
  • What will improve our quality of life?
  • Have we included everyone in this decision-making process?
  • Will everyone benefit equally from the proposal/development?

6 Values & Perceptions

Developing a critical evaluation of representations of global issues and an appreciation of the effect these have on people’s attitudes and values

  • What do I/we/other people think and feel about the issue/problem/event?
  • Why are our Human rights important?
  • What other solutions can we come up with to solve this problem or issue?
  • What are the different ways we can view these events or issues?
  • What are the newspapers/TV/ internet/other media saying about these events/issues?
  • What influenced me/other people in taking this course of action?

7: Social Justice

Understanding the importance of social justice as an element in both sustainable development and the improved welfare of all people

  • Why do we need to be fair/just when dealing with others both here and overseas?
  • What happens when some people have more power/influence/wealth than others?
  • What effects will my/our/other’s actions have on people’s lives?
  • Do I /we/other people know enough to make a good decision about the issue/problem?
  • How can we make the world a fairer/more just place?
  • Are we enthusiastic about making the world a fairer/more just place?
  • Are we/they prejudiced against other peoples?
  • Do men/women/the disabled have equal access/rights/opportunities?
  • How do problems from the past affect our lives today and the problems and issues we face?

8: Conflict Resolution

Understanding the nature of conflicts, their impact on development and why there is a need for their resolution and the promotion of harmony

  • What conflicts/disagreements exist locally/nationally/globally and in what ways might they be solved or resolved?
  • What choices do we have in this situation and what effects or consequences might they have?
  • Are we able to discuss the issue?
  • Do we tolerate and respect other points of view?
  • an we put ourselves into other people’s shoes and understand their position?
  • Do we have the skills to present and debate our case?
  • re we able to work with others and come to agreed group decisions?
  • Can we arrive at new and creative solutions, through disagreement and conflict, which improve the situation?
  • Is this/are we being racially prejudiced and what can we do about it?
  • What effects has this disagreement/conflict had on people/places/environments either locally, nationally or globally?

Sustainable Development

Key Concept


Key Questions

1: Interdependence

Understanding how people, the environment and the economy are inextricably linked at all levels from local to global
(eg. ecosystems; aid and trade/fair trade issues; impact of oil price changes; impact of foot and mouth and other epidemics affecting animals or humans; impact of changing tourism fashions)

  • How will it/a change/a development affect people, places or living things locally or in other parts of the world?
  • What impact will……..have on……..? (say within the school site, locally, regionally, nationally or globally)
  • How will it affect the ecosystem, economy or people?
  • Who will benefit and who will lose from this proposal, development or change?
  • Did you notice any changes to.....when…..happened?
  • How did …… react when…..happened?

2: Citizenship & Stewardship

Recognising the importance of taking individual responsibility and action to ensure the world is a better place

(eg. taking greater responsibility for the school and local environment – involvement in Eco-Schools and Schools Council; tending the school garden; avoiding waste in resource use (e.g. water and constructional materials) and energy supplies)

  • What do you think should happen?
  • How could we achieve or arrive at that?
  • Can we influence the decision-making process?
  • What are the alternatives?
  • Why did they do that?
  • Do you agree with the last person who spoke?
  • What are your reasons?
  • Who decides what happens?
  • Who will benefit and who will lose?
  • What are the arguments for and against the proposal or change?
  • How did you get that answer?
  • Can you explain what you mean by that?
  • How do we know about that?
  • What am/are I/you going to do about it?
  • Is there a better way to do this?
  • Would it make life better?
  • What did you notice?
  • How do we take care of/look after this effectively?
  • What will make it grow better and live longer?
  • Did you turn it off?
  • Why should we turn it off?
  • Should we use these resources/materials?
  • Is it worth saving these materials?
  • Can we re-use this resource/these materials?

3: Needs & Rights of Future Generations

Understanding our own basic needs and rights and the implications for the needs of future generations of actions taken today

(eg. for food, shelter, health, education and a safe and secure environment)

  • Who will benefit and who will lose?
  • Will it/the proposal make us/them healthier?
  • What do we need to make us an effective and successful community in the future?
  • What do we need to survive?
  • What are we and future generations entitled to?
  • How will it/the proposal/change affect the people/children who come after us?

4: Diversity

Respecting and valuing both human diversity – cultural, social and economic – and biodiversity

(eg. through Art, Music, RE and Geography and in the study of ecology and ecosystems in Science and Geography)

  • How do they do this in other countries, regions, religions, cultures?
  • Will it/the proposal increase or decrease the variety of wildlife?
  • Do we value other cultures and religions?
  • What are the alternatives?
  • Are we being prejudiced or biased?

5: Quality of Life

Acknowledging that global equity and justice are essential elements of sustainability and that basic needs must be met universally

(eg. becoming more aware that inequalities in the quality of life can vary locally and globally)

  • Would it/the proposal make life better?
  • Is it fair?
  • Has it always been like that?
  • What is that/this place like?
  • What would it be like to live there?
  • What is it like to live here?
  • What are the differences in the standard of living and quality of life between…….. and …….?

6: Sustainable Change

Understanding that some resources are finite and that this has implications for people’s lifestyles, and for commerce and industry

(eg. in the use of energy resources, fuel and consumables; packaging; food and farming)

  • Would it/the proposal make life better?
  • Is it/the proposal sustainable?
  • What would happen if………?
  • What are the alternatives?
  • Has it always been like that?
  • Would it cost a lot?
  • Would it be worth it?
  • Has it always been like that?
  • Can we source more of our food locally?
  • What would happen if fuel prices continue to rise?
  • Can we/should we reduce our use of petrol/packaging/water/electricity?

7: Uncertainty & Precaution

Acknowledging that there are a range of possible approaches to sustainability and that situations are constantly changing, indicating a need for flexibility and lifelong learning

(eg. through the study of topical ESD issues using debates, discussion, role-play, drama and decision-making exercises)

  • What would happen if?
  • What are the alternatives?
  • What happened before/last time?
  • Can you spot a pattern in these actions/developments/statistics?
  • What are the trends in…..?
  • What would we do if things went wrong?
  • What caused this to happen?
  • What is likely to happen in the future?
  • Who might gain and who might lose if….?
  • What are the risks?
  • Are there any safeguards?