SEEd Responses to DfID Consultation on Global Learning

Here are the SEEd responses to the recent DfID consultation on Global learning – hope you find them useful!


What skills are needed for our young people for their future?

SEEd believes that critical thinking, systems thinking, futures thinking, understanding change (both social and environmental), action learning and the action competencies that come from taking action are essential.


What teaching methods/approaches work best to build these skills?

SEEd believes that Inquiry based learning is key – it develops skills in research, critical thinking, reflection, planning, reviewing and trying again – and therefore builds resilience.

As an outcome of inquiry based learning students build their understanding of how social, economic and environmental systems locally and globally impact on human lives across the world.

As an action learning approach it develops the ability to:

  • understand student’s own responsibility and agency.
  • have empathy for people affected negatively by those systems – be it environmental, social or economic.
  • fully participate in learning and developing these skills ie not to just be told about global issues but to choose and investigate those that interest them.
  • understand how this type of learning is transformative and can bring about change both locally and globally.

What are the impacts on student learning?

The biggest impact ca be achieved through inquiry based learning. Each student or teams of students undertake one inquiry-based project ideally a term, but at least a year.

You then do not need to identify separate learning approaches as they will be contained within this approach.

For example the students may decide to explore expertise in the community, or do a survey or take action locally. Researching the background and developing critical thinking questions will be included. Reporting or communicating their work will include a lot of other types of learning.

This method is well researched and evaluated. It will allow the current National Curriculum to be brought to life and be motivational for the students.

Impact is really long term – mostly people are  measuring short term learning outcomes.

For impact the best way is to survey 18-25 year olds understanding and life choices.


What skills/training do teachers need?

In inquiry based learning, the teacher facilitates the learning and teaches skills as required or asks questions to deepen the learning and encourage critical thinking, collaboration and clarification of assumptions, world views and values.


How can this work with school partnerships globally?

Again, teachers sharing and discussing these inquiry based learning projects – methods and knowledge in a ‘peer learning’ structure, with the students sharing their learning, ideas, asking questions of each other and sharing their projects (by mail if necessary if electronic approaches are not available!)


How can this work be sustained?

By taking a whole school approach which includes school ethos, campus, curriculum, community. This has been shown to be the most effective way to sustain this work and why UNESCO has adopted this approach in their Global Action Programme. SEEd is working with UNESCO leading on this approach globally.

The UK led with this approach and many countries are now adopting it. This would help better link schools and sustain their learning especially since so many schools are interested in this methodology in the global south.

Please see the Sustainable Schools Alliance website for  further details of the framework, resources and approach and the SEEd website for basic resources and case studies.  or 


What needs to be in place to support this work?

Teacher led training approaches are good but the work of civil society organisations have supported this work for 25 years in the absence of a sustained Department of Education mandate.

There are 3 ways to do support the work further:

  1. Create the mandate by adding into the Education Act as a purpose of education:

‘Care for oneself ( developing global citizenship skills), care for others ( locally and globally) and care for the environment ( because many issues globally stem from drought or sea level rise etc)

  1. Support NGOs with core funding to become local school advisors and facilitators
  2. Support training orgs including schools and teachers, in delivering inquiry based learning approaches to training teachers.