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Unit information: Education, Peace and Sustainability in 2021/22

Unit name Education, Peace and Sustainability
Unit code EDUCM0094
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Mbogo Barrett
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


Environmental sustainability, conflict and legacies of violent colonisation are among the greatest global challenges. With respect to each of these, education’s contribution has and continues to be both positive and negative. This unit explores education’s role from the perspective of social justice theory. Global agendas, programmes and practices intended to promote sustainability are interrogated from the perspective of social and environmental justice. Education’s role with respect to peace and violence, including dealing with violent histories, is inspected from the perspective of reconciliation, transitional and reparative justice. The unit is concerned with education policy and practice at different scales, ranging from the role of international organisations and social movements to the role of teachers and learners in promoting peace and sustainability. Throughout a position of critical hope is adopted that looks for positive ways that education can contribute to sustainable and reparative futures.

The aims of the unit are to:

  • acquire foundational knowledge and understanding of research and scholarship relating education to environmental sustainability, peace and violence;
  • appreciate the influence and limitations of global policy instruments and international organisations concerned with ESD and education for peacebuilding;
  • apply social justice theory to analysis of education policy, programmes and practice; and
  • explore in-depth an aspect of education theory, policy or practice that relates to sustainability, peace or violence.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit students will demonstrate ability to:

  1. Articulate understanding of environmental and social justice theories;
  2. Apply environmental and social justice theories to problems of education’s role with respect environmental sustainability, peace and violence;
  3. Critically appraise education policies, programmes, initiatives and practice intended to promote sustainability, peace and social cohesion;
  4. independently source a range of academic and non-academic texts and read these critically;
  5. collaborate with peers to develop critical insights into education, sustainability, peace and violence; and
  6. express coherent and convincing arguments in writing through their own distinctive critical voice.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through a combination of methods, including seminars, discussion of key readings and videos, small scale collaborative student projects or reading groups. Participants will be encouraged to draw upon, share and reflect on their own professional expertise.

Assessment Details

Formative assessment

Group work assigned by unit tutors leading collaboratively produced output (ILOs 4-5)

Essay outline or abstract of no more than 500 words

Summative assessment

4000-word essay that applies theory introduced in the unit to critically review or analyse theory, policy or practice relating to education and sustainability or peace/violence. (ILOs 1-6)

Reading and References

Dryden-Peterson, S. (2017). Refugee education: Education for an unknowable future. Curriculum Inquiry, 47(1), 14–24.

Novelli, M., Lopes Cardozo, M. and Smith, A. (2017) The 4Rs Framework: Analyzing Education’s Contribution to Sustainable Peacebuilding with Social Justice in Conflict-Affected Contexts, Education in Emergencies 3(1): 14-43.

Ramírez-Barat, C. and Duthie R. (2017) Transitional Justice and Education: Learning Peace. New York: Social Science Research Council.

Tikly, L. (2019) Education for Sustainable Development in the Postcolonial World: Towards a Transformative Agenda for Africa. London: Routledge.

Wals, A. (2019) interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 144, podcast audio, January 14, 2019.