36 of Agenda 21 calls for reorienting education to address sustainable
development. Reorienting education can appear as an insurmountable task
that requires reform at every level of education - reform that would require
more funding than is currently available in national budgets. However,
if the strengths model is applied beyond curriculum to administration,
the efforts of existing ministries, departments, universities, etc. can
contribute greatly toward reorienting education to address sustainability.
in her book The Global Citizen, talks about changing the status
most effective way you can intervene in a system is to shift its
goals. You don't need to fire everyone, or replace all the machinery,
or spend more money, or even make new laws—if you can just change
the goals of the feedback loops. Then all the old people, machinery,
money, and laws will start serving new functions, falling into new
configurations, behaving in new ways, and producing new results.
1991, p 250.
us who work in ESD would be wise to ponder Meadows' words. We could accomplish
more by working to shift institutional goals to further sustainability.
goals in isolation is usually insufficient for sustained systemic change.
Studies of management systems show that a number of steps must be taken
together for a new idea to go from vision to self-sustaining reality.
Although each institution has its own way of bringing about change, three
general starting points are common - the three Ps: program, policy, and
practice. For ESD or any other innovation to become an integral part of
an institution, these three areas must be addressed simultaneously or
in short succession.
Practices, and Policies
of all kinds tend to resist change; formal education is no exception.
In the following sections on program, policy, and practice, the theme
of cultural diversity illustrates possible ESD activities. Real-life examples
from teacher-education institutions illustrate recent ESD activities in
program, policy, and practice.
Program changes evolve from local responses to specific problems or
needs. Innovators use their expertise to develop a programmatic change
within their own institutions to address this need. Others hear about
the innovation and adapt it or develop their own versions to fit the needs
of their institutional settings. For example, a large urban North American
school district wanted cultural diversity within its staff so that pupils
would see their ethnic groups reflected in the professionals who taught
them. To this end, the school district worked with a university to alter
admission requirements, which allowed a broader ethnic base of applicants
into the pre-service teacher-education program. The students admitted
through the program were given additional counseling and support to help
them become successful academically. This cultural diversity program was
implemented in the faculty of education at one university. Professors
reported the success of the program at conferences and in the media. Word
spread about the success of the program dealing with this prominent issue.
Other institutions developed programs with similar intent but with different
programmatic components specific to the needs of their universities and
local school districts. Within a few years, the ethnic composition of
teaching staffs in local schools began to change.
ESD into Caribbean Literature, Mico Teachers' College, Jamaica By Dr. Lorna Down, Head, Department of Languages
Education for Sustainable Development into Caribbean Literature
has been a stimulating and refreshing learning experience for both
students and teachers, even as it proved a challenging task.
Literature is a 90-hour, two-semester course. The texts studied
included Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea and Dennis Scott's
An Echo in the Bone.
were Year 1 English Option students (i.e., students specialising
in English) at Mico Teachers' College.
the programme by providing students with an overview of Education
for Sustainable Development using the UNESCO literature - I focused
on the quality of human life in regard to relations/relationships.
Specifically I explored with students themes of Violence, Power
Relations, Women's Rights, Racism & Violence.
themes were first introduced by engaging students in a project -
Global Pictures of Human Relationships. Here in groups they were
expected to make a collage of pictures, headlines, and articles
on one of the themes. These they presented with a brief discussion
to the rest of the class.
addition to exploring the texts in terms of their literary elements,
I had students examine the high level of violence in Jamaica. This
began with a journal entry and was followed by a discussion on violence.
The exercise proved extremely useful: it was cathartic as it revealed
how all of us in different ways were affected by the violence. Students
spoke openly about their fears, obsessions, and plans for dealing
order to help students cope with these fears, anxieties, etc., I
had them examine alternative responses to violence, specifically
Peace Initiatives. This was later followed by a lecture on Conflict
Resolution. The guest speaker was a conflict resolution practitioner,
who provided the students with practical and meaningful ways to
deal with conflict.
Policy is an overall plan embracing the general goals and acceptable procedures
of a government body or authoritative group. Policy is the next step after
innovative practices have proven worthy of the time, effort, and resources
expended. As more and more individuals recognize that an innovative program
fulfills educational or political goals, management begins to look at
expansion. Key to expanding innovative programs is the creation of policy.
Policy is the "blessing" of the upper administration and the creation
of institutional infrastructure that accompanies the "blessing." Once
the innovation becomes policy, those who have pioneered the change feel
validated and those who have not been involved must either become involved
or be prepared to explain why they are not following the policy. Because
all teachers and administrators will encounter education policy in their
careers, it is important that they graduate with a basic understanding
of how and why policy is generated. By understanding how policy is generated
educators may be able to contribute to ESD-compatible change in their
itself will not effect change. From years of observing change in policy
brought about by elections and subsequent change in government administration,
the public knows that policy often does not alter programs or practices,
especially without funding or acceptance from those who would implement
In the cultural
diversity program described previously, the school district cemented cultural
diversity of the teaching staff as policy by including it in the official
documents of the board (e.g., recruitment- and hiring-procedures manuals).
Coast University, USA
Commit to environmental sustainability for the University's campus
Statement: Florida Gulf Coast University has identified a
sustainable environment as a major center for excellence. The
University will recognize its opportunities to serve as an academic
and functional model of environmental sustainability. Located
in the heart of rapidly-growing Southwest Florida, FGCU is uniquely
representative of the balance achievable when the prevailing goal
is sustainability. We will operate and manage University facilities
and grounds as a model for ecological sustainability.
University will seek to develop environmental programs of national
concepts and concerns will be integrated throughout FGCU curriculum.
will build and operate attractive facilities and grounds on
ecologically-sustainable principles and practices, where economically
feasible. The Environmental Management Systems project will
be initiated to sustain ecologically sound institutional practices.
University will establish an Environmental Stewardship Council
which will develop a comprehensive plan for infusing ecological
perspective and ecological responsibility into curriculum and
research programs, as well as campus culture.
For policy changes to become firmly entrenched, the changes must be supported
in the standard practices of the system. In the previous example addressing
cultural diversity, the program was solidified through changes in ongoing
practices. For example, the university altered recruitment procedures
of prospective teacher candidates and new faculty members and sent press
releases to smaller ethnic newspapers in the city to spread the word regarding
the changes. The university continued to send such press releases so ethnic
communities would have ongoing access to news of university activities.
Budgets for the cultural diversity programs were embedded in line items
that were automatically renewed annually thereby removing the program
from the yearly struggle for funding and the threat of possible cancellation.
University reporting procedures made cultural diversity activities automatic
by including them as required components of year-end reports. Promotion
procedures changed to include evidence of leadership or compliance in
the area of cultural diversity.
related to ESD on campuses should be pointed out to teacher candidates.
Ideally, teacher candidates would have the opportunity to observe a building
in which environmentally sustainable practices are the norm. Observing
recycling efforts, purchasing and using environmentally sustainable cleaning
products, reusing paper, conserving energy, and conserving water will
help teacher candidates think about practices that contribute to more
sustainable classrooms and school buildings.
University EcoCentre, Brisbane, Australia By Professor John Fien, Director
EcoCentre is a key element of the community outreach and partnership
program of Griffith University. Located on a 640-hectare forest
campus in the tropical city of Brisbane, Australia, it is a 600-square-metre
building that has been designed as a model of eco-design and environmental
responsibility. It provides space for the Toohey Forest Environmental
Education Centre which is staffed and operated by Education Queensland;
a conference and training centre (seating up to 90 people); a 200-square-metre
display and exhibition gallery; a suite of iMac computers linked
to the Internet to facilitate environmental research via the Griffith
EcoHOTline - a dedicated portal for the public and school students;
and a postgraduate research students' office.
EcoCentre opened in 2001 to provide environmental education and
training programs for students, the general public, industry, business,
and government. As such, the EcoCentre operates many programs. Teacher
education is one of the most important and serves the needs of pre-service
student teachers, experienced teachers who visit the EcoCentre with
their classes or for a professional development workshop, and the
university's large group of master's and doctoral students in environmental
education. The EcoCentre contributes to these teacher education
groups in two main ways.
first is through the educational potential of the building itself.
The EcoCentre has been designed and constructed according to strict
"eco-design" principles, and features the use of recycled and recyclable
construction materials, solar energy, ambient ventilation and lighting,
rammed earth walls for temperature regulation, rainwater collection
for "greywater" functions, and wet-composting toilets. Such features
reflect domestic scale environmental technologies that can be used
not only in the family home but also in school design. In addition,
the EcoCentre manages a mobile Greenhouse Lab, a 5-metre-long caravan
that may be borrowed for up to a week by schools. It contains resources
for hands-on activities, displays, books and brochures, and audio-visual
materials on the Greenhouse Effect and renewable energy. Teacher
education students have access to the building and work-experience
opportunities in the EcoCentre and in schools with the Greenhouse
second way the EcoCentre contributes to teacher education is through
the work of the teachers in the Toohey Forest Environmental Education
Centre. Established as a partnership between the local Department
of Education and the university, the school is staffed by two teachers
and caters to classes of pre-school, elementary, and high school
students who visit for daily programs. The themes of these programs
include field studies of local history, indigenous studies, and
forest and stream ecology. They also offer work in the teaching
and research laboratories of university staff and in the university's
environmental planning studios. Pre-service student teachers, teachers
who accompany their classes, and the university's postgraduate students
are integrated into the planning and facilitation of these activities
with school students.
case study is an example of all three - program, practice, and policy
- being carried out in conjunction to permanently change the nature of
the teacher education program. Each of the three Ps played a key role
in bringing about permanent change.
on Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability
Canada By Associate Dean Don Dippo
to the International Conference on Reorienting Teacher Education
to Address Sustainability, Hockley Highlands, Ontario, Canada, October
is Canada's third largest university with approximately 40,000 students.
The Faculty of Education at York graduates just over 1000 students
per year - 800 certified to teach at the elementary level, 200 certified
to teach high school. For ten years, the Faculty has been involved
in "re-orienting." In 1988, a group of faculty (under no particular
authority) came together to ask how, as a Faculty, we could begin
to address issues of racism in our schools and in our Faculty itself.
In 1998, an external accreditation review panel recognized equity
and social justice issues as constituting the core of our teacher
education programmes. With respect to sustainability, we are probably
just about where we were ten years ago with equity and social justice.
This brief case study (in truth, one person's view) is about what
we might learn from that experience in "re-orienting" and about
how we might proceed in "re-orienting" again.
its inception in 1972, York's Faculty of Education could be described
as "Progressive" in the Dewian sense of being committed to both
individual growth and social development. The faculty distinguished
itself from behaviourist approaches by embracing more liberal/humanist
ideas about teaching and learning. Developmentalism was at the core
of the curriculum. Students read Piaget, Kohlberg, and Vygotsky.
We were child-centred, activity/inquiry based, and advocates of
whole language. We were holistic, emphasizing the physical, intellectual,
emotional, social, and spiritual development of children. This is
the position, the vision of ourselves, we espoused, we proclaimed,
and worked hard at.
the mid-80s, there were certainly faculty members who had taken
note of how schools systematically disadvantaged women, the poor,
racial and linguistic minorities, and Aboriginal people. Individual
faculty members addressed systemic discrimination in their courses.
But the commitment to take on these issues was not programmatic.
It was not infused in our teacher-education curriculum. Then in
1987-88, amidst mounting research evidence and media reports about
racism in schools (and, indeed, in faculties of education) a group
of faculty members came together to begin to strategize about how
to effect change in our teacher education programme. The plan was
to meet regularly, to sit on Faculty committees, and to make proposals
for curricular and programmatic changes to our Faculty Council.
The Admissions Committee began to look at systemic barriers. The
Curriculum Committee looked at issues of representation. The Hiring
Committee looked at ways to diversify the faculty complement. Interest
in the work of these committees grew. A new dean was appointed who
was very supportive of these initiatives. The scope of the project
expanded to include discrimination based on race, ethnicity, language,
social class, gender, sexuality, and disability. There were heated
discussions and debates within committees and within the faculty
at large. Should we adopt the multiculturalist position being advanced
by American theorists or should we embrace the Anti-Racist position
being put forward by scholars in the United Kingdom? Should we create
a single compulsory course, which addresses discrimination in all
its forms, or should we insist that systemic discrimination and
disadvantage be addressed in all of the courses we taught? In the
midst of these debates, there came a kind of watershed moment when
the faculty concluded that it was not necessary to resolve these
issues before being able to declare in print (that is, in the University
Calendar, in the Faculty Handbook, on the Faculty Web site)
that we were, as a Faculty, committed to addressing equity issues
in all our programmes. After all, in the course of time and as a
result of all the discussion and debate, we had changed our admissions
policies and procedures. We had made our curriculum more inclusive.
And our faculty complement had become more diverse.
wasn't long, however, before the limitations of this particular
vision became the subject of debate. While there was widespread
agreement that equity issues ought to be addressed by all of us
in ways appropriate to the different courses that we taught, there
were questions raised about whether we could be as truly progressive
as we wanted to be while remaining largely silent about issues related
to poverty, violence, militarism, globalization, eco-racism, and
environmental degradation. The Faculty now describes itself as being
committed to addressing equity and social justice issues in all
its programmes. It is fair to say that, at this point, the Faculty
still addresses equity more directly than social justice. But we've
committed ourselves to finding ways to more adequately address both.
the view of several faculty members, myself included, sustainability
now offers the Faculty an opportunity to make good on its commitments
to address equity and social justice. The challenge ahead is not
unlike the challenge that faced equity advocates in our Faculty
ten years ago. The task is to find ways to engender understanding
and build commitment and enthusiasm for the conceptual framework
and pedagogical imperatives that sustainability education implies.
The social context in Ontario is, in many respects, more hostile
than the context that supported the development of multicultural/anti-racist
education initiatives in the past. The curriculum has become decidedly
more narrow, focussing on basic and employability skills. Standardized
and high-stakes testing have further marginalised many highly important
but undervalued aspects of the curriculum. Yet, day by day, the
need becomes greater as the effects of social and environmental
neglect become more and more apparent.
like this one on reorienting teacher education to address sustainability
bolsters our hope that something can be done, and strengthens our
resolve to do it.
in transition go through three stages that need to be managed in different
manners - the present state, the transition state, and the future state.
Reorienting education for sustainability will follow the same path and
require different management techniques for each stage. Major administrative
challenges face those who are orchestrating change on a major scale. Some
of those who are in leadership positions in the reorienting effort have
years of administrative experience; others are new to educational change
or are outsiders to the educational community. Even those who have been
in educational administration for years will be new to ESD because it
is an emerging field.
who was involved in Toronto's green schools program and the Toronto Board
of Education's effort to create an outcome-based curriculum, recommends
the following seven-step process for bringing about change in a school
the decision to act.
is trendy; new ideas are always passing through the educational community.
With each new trend, administrators and teachers must decide to adopt
a new idea or let it pass. If administrators decide to adopt a new trend,
they must be ready to commit funding and resources (e.g., classroom
materials, release time for teachers to help plan and implement the
new effort, inservice training of teachers). Administrators know that
for teachers to adopt a new trend or method, it must meet at least one,
preferably more, of the following four criteria: (a) the new trend is
of interest to them, (b) it makes their job easier, (c) it makes a difference
in their program (e.g., it makes a positive difference in the achievement,
attitude, or behavior or their students), and (d) they are held accountable
and are evaluated on it. Unfortunately, ESD will not be readily adopted
because sustainability is not interesting to the general public and
the teaching faculty.
up the decision with a rationale.
school adopts a new trend, the administration must announce the decision
internally and externally. The announcement should be accompanied by
a rationale that is easy to convey and understand. The rationale must
convince teachers, parents, and administrators that the change is worth
the investment of time and effort. A successful rationale might be "The
new math program raises student achievement and is cost effective" or
"The safe substitutes program (replacing harsh cleaners and school-yard
chemicals with non-toxic compounds) saves money for the schools and
protects children from toxic chemicals."
should include an explanation on how the reform is better for the students
and good for the community. The challenge is to craft a rationale that
is credible, repeatable, and understandable. Writing a rationale for
ESD presents a major challenge; sustainability is not easily described
in one or two sentences.
a communication strategy to share your vision with the stakeholders and
the rationale, a school must create a communication strategy to announce
the new program. The communication strategy must include both telling
and listening. The plan should address a variety of audiences, how each
audience will be reached, and what type of forum will be used for listening
to the reactions of the various audiences (e.g., a memorandum to all
teachers explaining the change, followed by staff meetings with the
superintendent of curriculum or a media release followed by a town meeting).
to dialog after the announcement reduces the number of unfounded rumors.
For example, as part of a green schools program, one school decided
to replace incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent tubes. A teacher
was upset, noting that there was money for light bulbs, but not new
textbooks, not realizing that the savings in energy costs of the new
lighting would pay for installation and new textbooks within a few years.
the challenge of writing an easily communicated rationale, preparing
a communication strategy for ESD will be complicated. Depending on their
interests and needs, audiences respond better to some explanations of
sustainability than to others. The diversity of stakeholders, the best
message for each stakeholder, and the best methods to contact those
stakeholders must be considered.
goals and milestones.
new plan is revealed and the rationale announced, the work between the
administration and the teaching staff should begin. Faculty and administrators
must work together to figure out how to implement the overall goal within
the settings of individual schools. Together, they decide what components
to undertake and in what order. Using the strengths model is an excellent
way to begin setting goals and priorities for ESD programs.
and faculty will also set milestones or targets to assess progress.
The form for a milestone is simple - by a specific date a specific task
will be accomplished or adopted by X percent of those involved. For
example, "By January of next year, recycle bins will be in 90 percent
of the classrooms," or "By the end of the academic year, all fifth grade
teachers will have received anti-bullying inservice training."
for each task in a new program should be assigned when setting goals
and milestones, and a reporting method for those with responsibility
should be created. People with political power and genuine interest
should be assigned to the most important tasks; the success of the program
depends on these.
multi-faceted efforts like reorienting education to address sustainability,
many projects are possible. The champions of each project all clamor
for attention and are eager to implement their ideas. The temptation
is to start all the projects for which staff show interest; however,
experience shows that starting small with a few successes and not spreading
too thin the efforts and energy of your staff is wise. From small successes
come larger successes.
accountability and methods of programmatic evaluation.
that the new program becomes ingrained into the school system, methods
of evaluation must change correspondingly. If evaluation is not changed,
there will be little progress. For example, if a principal asks a teacher
to instruct using a new method, but evaluates and bases retention and
promotion on criteria from the old way, the teacher may become confused
and frustrated or refuse to change. End-of-the-year reporting from individual
schools should reflect the changes. Because ESD encompasses social,
economic, and environmental concerns, sustainability will be woven into
many aspects of the end-of-the-year reports.
and revise goals and milestones.
educational trends are implemented, teachers and administrators usually
find they need to make mid-course corrections to the program. An opportunity
for program revision should be built into a new program from the beginning.
Designing a new program is based both on professional experience and
imagination, which adds imprecision and uncertainty to the process.
Sometimes programs simply do not turn out as planned. Specific dates
should be set for program revision (e.g., feedback after three months,
minor revisions at six months and major revision after one cycle of
instruction to prepare for the next cycle). Not only will the program
improve with review and revision, but the anxiety of the faculty implementing
the program will decrease with the knowledge that if things are not
going well, there will be an opportunity to change. This opportunity
for collaboration and change is especially important when implementing
new pilot projects that have not been tested previously, as is the case
the importance of saying thank you, rewarding effort, and celebrating
successes during the busy academic year. In North American schools,
athletic departments are excellent at rewards and celebration. At the
end of each season, coaches and players are recognized with awards such
as certificates, plaques, and patches for their participation and achievement.
Unfortunately, teachers and students who run the school composting program
or the community volunteer program most likely do not receive the same
accolades. Academic departments and extra-curricular clubs should learn
from athletics to reward and celebrate.
recommends that school recognition programs (e.g., Earth Flag Schools,
or Green Schools) reward all schools that meet or exceed previously
set criteria - similar to the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides merit-badge
programs - rather than selecting a few winners. He suggests that the
awards be tangible, enduring past the moment of public recognition.
in Implementing Curricular Change
former Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Charles Hopkins,
says that the interest and cooperation of teachers is essential
to any curricular change. Therefore implementing curricular change,
such as reorienting education to address sustainability, carries
a price that cannot be paid simply with inkind contributions from
teachers. Hopkins says, "To implement any new program I would have
to take resources away from other programs. Those resources are
money, time, and teacher goodwill. All three of these resources
are in short supply." To assess the situation, Hopkins asked 10
questions of himself and other administrators. Do teachers:
want this change? (E.g., Will it make their job easier?)
have to change? (E.g., Will there be follow-up, supervision,
understand the change?
have the time to learn and practice the change in a safe setting?
(E.g., Is coaching available?)
have the materials available? (E.g., Do they have to seek and
read material in their spare time?)
have support or pressure from parents?
have support or pressure from fellow teachers?
intuitively value the change? (E.g., Does it make sense and
will it help my students or society? Am I doing the right thing?)
see that everybody else has to do it too?
get a sincere reward for doing it?
says that if the answers to all ten questions are positive then
the proposed curriculum reform has a good probability of success.
Considerations in Managing Change
sections on managing during change are for those who are new to educational
administration and reform. The following sections contain major points
for consideration. For more detailed descriptions and strategies, search
the educational administration and the business management literature.
strategies begin with examining and, often, rewriting the mission of the
organization. However, the mission of the formal education sector is well
defined, and in many cases any efforts to redefine the mission of primary,
secondary, or higher education would meet with major, overwhelming resistance.
A much better strategy for reorienting education is to cast ESD as a major
player in achieving formal education's mission and goals while helping
to achieve community and national sustainability goals.
and Capability of Change
As with many
educational reform movements, the success of reorienting education to
address sustainability will in part depend on the capability of those
who lead the effort and the readiness of those who must help implement
it. Realistically, the participation of the national leaders in the Earth
Summit and the signing of Agenda 21 did not commit the participation
of entire nations to implementing national sustainability plans, part
of which should be reorienting education to address sustainability. One
of the reasons that education has not already reoriented to address sustainability
is that the need for change is not readily apparent. The central issue
becomes whether to change rather than how to change. In
the section on Challenges and Barriers to ESD,
we state that the initial step in launching an ESD program is to develop
awareness within the educational community and the public that reorienting
education to achieve sustainability is essential. Without that awareness,
those who lead the reorientation effort would have to work to prepare
the educational community before moving into efforts to reorient.
Part of successfully
involving others in any reform or change is to give them a sufficiently
detailed description of the end point so that they will become involved
in working to achieve it. When people can envision an agreeable future
they can define a role for themselves in both the transition and future
states. Uncertainty about the future can cause anxiety and result in behaviors
that work against achieving the desired goal. A natural reaction to uncertainty
is to talk with a small circle of other anxious and uninformed colleagues.
Unfortunately, in such situations, speculation and rumors may grow, and
erroneous assumptions and misinformation will slow or thwart the reform
effort. Developing a scenario that allows people to see a role for themselves,
while retaining sufficient flexibility for input from new converts, is
vital to progress.
the Nature of Change Required for Reorienting Education
education to address sustainability is a huge project. It will require
activity on the national, regional, state/provincial, and local levels.
It will probably involve a long list of government officials, legislators,
administrators, teachers, unions, and nonprofit organizations. To begin
the complexity of reorienting education to address sustainbility, analyze
the nature of change needed. Of course, this analysis should be done at
the level you work. If you work in a local high school, your analysis
will be quite different than the analysis of the national minister of
education. Start by asking: What must be changed? Will it require legislative
action? Will it require amendment of the mandated national curriculum?
Will it require the goodwill of teachers in your school? Planning for
legislative change is very different than planning to cultivate the goodwill
of a teaching faculty. Analyze the type of change necessary for your level
of work. This type of analysis will help you clarify choices and alternative
paths of action. The ESD Toolkit has several exercises on managing
change (see Section XIV: Tools
for Managing Change) and several exercises on types of change involved
in a reoriention effort (see Section XIII: Tools
to Reorient Education to Address Sustainability).
education to address sustainability will involve identifying and dealing
with barriers. Some barriers can be circumvented while others will require
confrontation and change. Two tendencies for people who resist change
are to invent barriers to new ideas or to identify barriers based on assumptions
rather than fact. Statements like "The dean would never endorse that idea,"
or "The funding is not available," are typical barrier statements that
may or may not have a legitimate basis. Rather than accepting that the
dean will not endorse an idea, you can explore the reasoning behind the
statement, or you personally can approach the dean. In addition, funding
is always an issue and can be cited as a legitimate barrier. The nature
of funding concerns are revealed by answering two questions: "Does this
project require money or can it be accomplished with reallocation of staff
time and other in-kind contributions? Is this project of higher priority
than a currently funded project?"
and Planning Commitment
efforts to reorient education to address sustainability must determine
who in the educational community must commit and implement the change
for the reorienting process to actually take place. While many of us intuitively
know who needs to "be brought on board," systematic analysis of individuals,
groups, and institutions whose commitment to the effort (e.g., providing
money, time, and human resources) to implement and persevere is essential.
Systematic analysis by several people rather than the intuition of one
person should result in a comprehensive picture of key change agents.
the commitment necessary to succeed (see Section XIV: Commitment
Charting exercise), leaders need to plan and strategize how to get
the minimum commitment from the people who were identified as key to the
success of the program.
Implementing, and Monitoring Plans
As with many
multifaceted projects, a clear but revisable roadmap of how to move from
the current state to the desired future state is necessary. Although some
administrators can mentally depict the multiple steps involved in simultaneous
tasks necessary to implement a major project, these talented administrators
must be able to share the complexities with their colleagues and constituents.
As a result, it is advisable to create a project plan. Simple tables that
list tasks and milestones can quickly explain complex projects to a variety
of audiences (see Section XIV: Sample
Worksheet for Creating an Action Plan).
another thing to keep in mind is that it is difficult for stable organizations
to change. Formal education is comprised of stable organizations. Lessons
from business and industry show that rather than continuing to use the
regular structure of the organization during the transition period, it
is often necessary to create temporary systems and management structures
to accomplish the desired change. This may mean temporarily hiring an
expert in sustainability to advise a school system during the transition.
The expert in sustainability would work with the administration to lay
out a wide variety of potential sustainability projects and envision alternative
Remarks on Managing Change
permanent, changes associated with reorienting education to address sustainability
must occur throughout the programs, practices, and policies of a school
system. Much of the success of reorienting education to address sustainability
will hinge on the ability of the leadership to communicate. In fact, crafting
and delivering clear messages that explain ESD, and then listening to
the reactions and thoughts of those who have a vested interest in the
educational system, are equally important components of communication
associated with managing change.
for change is an essential ingredient of success. Leadership that plans
ahead to identify potential barriers, gain commitment, engage the public,
prioritize projects, and implement tasks according to schedule will increase
the chance of success. The investment in planning allows leaders to be
reflective rather than reflexive to each new development or turn of events.