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National Workshop on Reorienting Teacher Education towards EFA and ESD in Indonesia

10-14 July 2012, Jakarta, Indonesia
Co-organized by
UNESCO Asia and the Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, Bangkok, Thailand
Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO


Capturing the teachable “aha” moments

“When you see the light bulb lighting up in your participants’ eyes – catch that teachable moment. Use it and follow it through to make sure that moment sticks,” said Robert Steele, a facilitator at the Workshop on Reorienting Teacher Education towards Education for All (EFA) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) held on 10-14 July 2012 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

And there were many teachable “aha” moments during the workshop. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to capture them all.

Many teachers face the same problem in the classroom. With heavy workloads, they have to follow strict curriculum, syllabi and lesson plans. Some may not even notice the “aha” moments when they appear.

It is no wonder that we were asked this question: Will it be business-as-usual when the participants return to their respective schools and universities?

Judging from the participants’ enthusiastic, intense engagement during the workshop and their positive feedback, the organizers – UNESCO Bangkok, UNESCO Jakarta and the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO – certainly hoped not.

In fact, the participants, representing heads of schools, teacher educators and teachers from more than 20 schools and universities all over Indonesia, have been tasked by Mr. Arief Rachman, the Executive Chairman of the Indonesian National Commission, to share what they have learned with ten other schools each within three months. These additional 200 schools are also expected to reach out to another ten schools each during the next three months, and on it goes. Through this snowballing strategy, Mr. Rachman expects progress reports from about 200,000 schools and universities twelve months later.

An ambitious target, but it shows that Indonesia is serious about meeting the EFA and ESD goals.

As Mr. Hubert Gijzen, Director of UNESCO Jakarta noted, education is a key engine in achieving a life of quality and teachers have a major role in instilling in their students a deep awareness and understanding of the urgent need to pursue inclusive and sustainable development.

Supported by the Japanese Funds-in-Trust, the workshop aimed to enhance the capacity of teachers to design and integrate ESD and EFA concepts and contents into their curricula and to develop appropriate pedagogies, lesson plans and teaching materials. The workshop was designed to provide a broad overview of EFA and ESD concepts to the participants, followed by the sharing of in-depth information on three thematic EFA/ESD issues: (i) environment protection and climate change, (ii) intercultural understanding, and (iii) biodiversity.

The workshop facilitators introduced several interactive and hands-on activities which can be easily adapted for classroom teaching and learning. For example, the AtKisson Sustainability Compass (with N for Nature, E for Economy, S for Society and W for Human Well-being) is a useful tool that encourages lateral thinking and a holistic approach to address issues and problems. Audio-visual aids such as The Lorax animated movie based on Dr. Seuss’ book about the conflicts between nature and development are both entertaining and educational, offering numerous entry points for developing interesting lesson plans and activities.

Accepting and understanding cultural diversity and differences is a key factor in promoting intercultural understanding. Creative games and drama improvisations of potential conflict situations can be used to probe the concepts of ‘self’ and ‘others’ as well as illustrate how people are “same same but different”. Visual arts and art installation methodologies can also be integrated into the lesson plans to challenge preconceptions and stimulate analytical reflections.

The importance of biodiversity can also be taught through games and interactive activities such as the “Web of Life” that emphasizes the close linkages between all components of nature, the “Systems Game” that demonstrates the inter-dependence of our ecosystem, and the “Oh Deer” which picks up on the concept of limited resources and competition.

Encouraged to utilize the knowledge, tools and pedagogies they have learned, the participants worked in groups to develop action plans which can be implemented in their own institutions upon their return. The action plans also provide a platform for the participants to continue their communication and collaboration even though they come from different schools in different parts of the country. 

Cutting across all these themes and activities are two important messages. One, teachers play a critical role in relaying EFA and ESD concepts and knowledge to their students. Two, using innovative pedagogies, tools and resources, teachers can incorporate EFA and ESD concepts into any subject area without major changes to existing curriculum. At the same time, they can engage their students actively in the learning practices.

The organizers are optimistic that Mr. Arief Rachman will see some positive results twelve months from now.

For more information, please contact


Information note (pdf, 110 kb)

Programme (pdf, 170kb)

Welcome Address, Hubert Gijzen, Director, UNESCO Jakarta (pdf, 300kb)


Introduction to project and workshop, Lay Cheng Tan, UNESCO Bangkok (pdf, 640kb)

EFA and ESD in Indonesia, Hendarman, Board of Research and Development, MoEC, (pdf, 2mb) 

Compass in the classroom: Tools and methods for inculcating a sustainable ‘habit of mind’ within existing school curriculum, Robert Steele, Systainability Asia/AtKisson Group (pdf, 1.8mb)

Incorporation of Environmental Protection and Climate Change into Teacher Education, Robert Steele, Systainability Asia/AtKisson Group (pdf, 5mb)

Exploring the Essentials of EE, CCE and Challenges, Barriers and Opportunities and Enablers for teaching & learning - & - Practical Exercises for exploring whole system thinking and Environmental Literacy Competencies, Robert Steele, Systainability Asia/AtKisson Group (pdf, 3.8mb)

Cultural Diversity & Inter/Intra-cultural Understanding, Lea L. Espallardo (pdf, 560kb) 

RICE Project, Lay Cheng Tan, UNESCO Bangkok (pdf, 310kb)

Indonesian Biodiversity, Herwasono Soedjito, Research Center for Biology, The Indonesian Institute of Sciences - LIPIINDONESIAN (pdf, 6.3mb)