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Author's note
What is E S D?
Reorienting Education
Localizing the Global Initiative
Challenges and Barriers to E S D
Community Sustainability Goals
Case Study: Toronto, Canada Board of Education
Managing Change
Public Participation
Concluding remarks
Tools to Introduce the Concept of Sustainable Development
Tools to Create Community Goals
Tools to Reorient Education to Address Sustainability
Tools for Managing Change
Web resources

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Participants use a questionnaire to examine their assumptions about barriers to success.


To assess the validity of decisionmakers' assumptions about barriers to success on a particular project directed toward a larger goal.

Group size: 2 to 10 participants.

Time Needed: 30 minutes to 1 hour.


  • Examining Assumptions worksheet [web version] [pdf version]
  • Pencils.
  • Optional: one extra sheet of paper per person.


  1. Distribute Examining Assumptions worksheet.
  2. Participants decide on a specific project they are working toward, and agree on a short description of the project (e.g., greening the school building and yard; reorienting the pre-service teacher education to address sustainability).
  3. Participants complete worksheet individually, writing in any concerns they have about people or circumstances that would prevent the accomplishment of this particular project, (e.g., the director won't like it, lack of funding, lack of vision, not a priority of the administration). Complete columns 2 through 4 to explore whether these concerns are assumptions or not.
  4. Participants share their ideas from Columns 2, 3, and 4. Encourage participants to share information that verifies, invalidates, or gives insight into the assumptions about each perceived barrier to accomplishment of the project.
  5. Participants discuss what steps need to be taken to accomplish the project (column 5). If the steps listed in column 5 seem inadequate, discuss alternative ways to accomplish the project and list them in column 6.

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