Learning to make a difference

Susan Adams Education for Sustainability is tailored to be integrated in to the curriculum with a whole schools approach. It is delivered principally in workshop format, tailored to suit the specific needs of each school and group of students. Workshops can be run as a standalone class or to coincide with a strand on a curriculum subject, with Green week or as a full course on sustainable development. Workshop examples are below.

Climate Talk - A keynote speech talk on climate change and sustainability to educate and empower students to talk action (1 hour)

Sustainability Action - A workshop to frame sustainability and to motivate taking action examining what actions can be taken in school and at home ( double period or 2 hours)

Plastic Action - 2 workshops on plastic education examining the causes effects and solutions to plastic pollution. Students will be trained to peer educate other students on plastic. These workshops give students the tools to spread awareness about plastic throughout the school through peer education initiatives.

Sustainability Action Modules - 8 week modules aimed at Transition Year students.Students are encouraged to understand the complexities of, and synergies between, the issues threatening planetary sustainability. Helping them to understand and assess their own values and those of the society in which they live in, with the context of sustainability, while customizing this message for individual learners. I use participatory teaching and learning methods that motivate and empower students to change their behaviors and take action for sustainable development.


Each workshop focuses on facilitating and empowering students to become confident, effective Peer Educators. The workshops provide students with the opportunity to explore local and global topics and to learn skills. By the end of the workshops students will be able to:

  1. Know how to stay healthy and communicate effectively
  2. Have an understanding of Sustainable Development from local to global
  3. Be able to carry out effective group work and facilitation
  4. Be able to take action with peers for a more sustainable world
  5. Know the responsibilities of a peer educator

Each student will learn skills to help them and their peers to live more sustainably. The core skills required for Peer Education and the skills required for Education for Sustainable Development include skills to:

  1. Understand how different systems and issues are connected
  2. Understand how an issue changes through time
  3. Critical thinking and problem solving and decision making
  4. Communication with both peers and adults
  5. Effective facilitation and group work
  6. Building self-confidence and self-esteem
  7. Reflection on the student’s own values and those in society you live in
  8. Researching and analyzing information and media
  9. Planning and completing an action project
  10. Motivating others to feel part of a movement


In some instances, and particularly on the TY programme, students can choose topics that are best suited to their needs. The programme is learner led to promote emotional involvement and empowerment. Using land based learning, students explore issues that are relevant locally and that link to real lives and possible actions in their community. Students will also explore how these local issues are linked globally.

Teaching Approach

This ESD programme has a Peer Education approach to teaching and sharing information, values and behavior, providing students with opportunities to become powerful agents for Sustainable Development among their peers and in their communities. The ultimate goal of Peer Education for a Sustainable Development Programme, is that through workshops, action projects and facilitation practice, students will become skilled ‘Peer Educators’ capable of working with groups and managing independent projects together.

Possible areas of exploration

  • Forests, agriculture & water
  • Happiness
  • Food and Shelter
  • Cultural diversity
  • Climate change
  • Trade & debt
  • Human rights
  • Health and Disabilities
  • Bio diversity
  • Poverty
  • Polution
  • Economic, social & political
  • Natural resource depletion
  • Gender equality
  • Inclusion

Junior Cycle

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) sits in the framework of the new junior cycle as it has been incorporated into science, geography and Civil, Social & Political Education subjects on the curriculum. I can deliver standalone workshops to support the ESD strands of each subject and I can collaborate with the teacher to design teaching plans that can support ESD topics across the syllabus.


  • Workshops and teacher collaboration for ESD in science
  • Strand One: Science in society,
  • Strand Two Earth and Space: Energy, sustainability
  • Strand Three Chemical World: Sustainability
  • Strand Four: Systems & Interactions
  • Strand Five Biological World: Systems & Interactions, sustainability

Senior Cycle

New opportunities to promote ESD more prominently in the senior cycle come with the introduction of Politics and Society. The NCCA focusses on five key skills – communicating, working with others, critical and creative thinking, being personally effective and information processing. Developing these skills is central to supporting learners to have the dispositions that will enable them to live more sustainably. I can offer standalone workshops and teacher collaboration and support for each strand that has an ESD influence. I can facilitate the project strand of the syllabus.

Civic, Social and Political Education

  • Workshops and teacher collaboration for full syllabus and action projects. Curriculum ESD highlights, global citizenship and fair trade.

Workshops available to include an introduction to ESD

  • Strand One: Introduction to ESD, understanding the complexities of, and synergies between economics, society and the environment and social injustice.
  • Strand Two: Project facilitation for active citizenship. These projects can be entered into the relevant body such as Eco UNESCO’s Young Environmentalist or SEAI’s One Good Idea, promoting personal development.
  • Strand Three: Human Rights and Responsibilities. Workshop about global justice and human rights with an emphasis on climate change and climate justice.
  • Strand four: Sustainable Development. Workshop and teacher support on climate justice, fair trade and poverty.