Decisiveness

The educator helps the learners to act in a cautious and timely manner even in situations of uncertainty.

Learning Outcomes

The educator helps the learners to:

Underpinning Components for the educator

In order to achieve the above Learning Outcomes the educator should be able to:

Example activities for teaching Decisiveness

1 Egg & Spoon ‘race’
  • Suggested duration: 15 mins
  • Technique used: A race across a room followed by reflective discussion
  • Materials required: Materials that suggest an ‘egg & spoon’ race eg different round objects, spoons of different sizes, forks etc.
  • Aim of activity: To highlight the range of decisions people take, how they have imnplications and how some people act according to different values.
  • Underpinning components: UC12.2a; UC12.3b
  • Connection with other competences: Responsibility

Short description

In groups of three ask them to select an implement and an ‘egg’. Gather at a start point. State that ‘All three members need to travel across the room as quickly as possible while keeping their egg in the spoon’ (Imply but do not specify that they should do this one at a time). Run the race a few times and see if anyone complains that it is not fair (e.g. different implements, different ‘eggs’ or someone is cheating). Plenary: discuss reactions and thoughts e.g. thoughts about cheating, equality, rules.

2 Instant dilemmas
  • Suggested duration: 15 mins
  • Technique used: Individual activity ‘quiz’
  • Materials required: Slides of various simple dilemmas 
  • Aim of activity: To encourage learners to reflect on values and principles that underpin decisions
  • Underpinning components: UC12.1b; UC12.2a
  • Connection with other competences: Responsibility

Short description

Individually, learners quickly reflect on each dilemma presented and write down their response. Small groups then discuss their choices and the reasons those decisions were made. Whole group then discuss the various principles that underpinned decisions and whether there were any inconsistencies.

3 Problem solving
  • Suggested duration: 20 mins
  • Technique used: Small group discussion
  • Materials required: Examples of real life problems with possibly social, environmental and economic impact
  • Aim of activity: To encourage learners to think about different solutions and then think of the values that might underpin them
  • Underpinning components: UC12.1b; UC12.2a; UC12.2b
  • Connection with other competences: Attentiveness; Responsibility

Short description

Small groups each study a different real life problem-based scenario and try to come up with at least six different solutions/ways forward. Then for each solution consider which values underpin it and which might be compromised. Whole group, discuss solutions proposed and the related values.

4 Decision making
  • Suggested duration: 15 mins
  • Technique used: Short lecture
  • Materials required: Slides
  • Aim of activity: To encourage learners to think about decision making processes
  • Underpinning components: UC12.1a; UC12.3a
  • Connection with other competences: Attentiveness

Short description

Responses to dilemmas. Need to sometimes bend or break rules? Examples from history e.g. suffragettes, anti-slavery, gay rights. Revolution vs evolution. Need to change society to make it sustainable?

5 Diamond Island
  • Suggested duration: 25 mins
  • Technique used (e.g. research, simulation, debate): Role play based on the true story of the exploitation of agriculture land on Diamond Island in Cambodia
  • Aim of activity: Understand that Sustainable Development Issues, such as the use of land, uphold different views and aspects thus requiring in-depth analysis for decision making, seeking alternative choices, and accounting for the consequences of these choices.
  • Underpinning components: UC12.2a; UC12.1b; UC12.2b
  • Connection with other competences: Attentiveness; Transdisciplinarity

Short description

A scenario is presented, for describing the problem in Koh Pich a small island in Cambodia, where the Government in 2004 decided to remove from the island the 134 agricultural families aiming to transform the natural island to a free trade centre, attracting multinational companies to invest on it. The discussion of the scenario is based on issues like changing the use of land and the social, economic, ecological consequences of this change; the destruction of professional groups, the uprooting of populations, the disruption of social cohesion. When the issue is discussed in depth, using various sources of information, the group is divided in small groups taking different roles:

  1. The local population
  2. The representatives of the Government 
  3. The Investors 
  4. The representatives of the environmental parties
  5. The representatives of Mass Media

Each group justifies its opinion and uses various resources of information to build their arguments. Role-play is expected to reveal all the different aspects of the issue, their consequences and impacts, aiming to reach a decision that will ensure the sustainability of the island and the population.

6 Buying a t-shirt
  • Suggested duration: 30 mins
  • Technique used: Values clarification
  • Aim of activity: Understand that our choices and decisions are based on deeper beliefs and values that we hold concerning the world we live in and therefore it is necessary to explore these values when making decisions and choices in order to reorient them towards the principles of sustainable development.
  • Underpinning components: UC12.1b; UC12.2b; UC12.3a
  • Connection with other competences: Attentiveness; Transdisciplinarity

Short description

A scenario is given, where three young people (George, Thomas and Joanna) decide to buy a cotton t-shirt. Their decision for buying the t-shirt is based on specific characteristics: the brand, the style, the fashion trends in their country, the country of the t-shirt production, the working conditions for the production of the t-shirt, the salary of the workers that produced the t-shirt, the type of cotton and where it was cultivated, how it was made and by whom. The three teenagers decide to buy their t-shirt based on different criteria. Thomas bought a t-shirt for 100 euros based on fashion, George bought his t-shirt for 10 euros from a charity shop and from cotton that a label indicated that is organic and finally Joanna bought her t-shirt from the internet from a fair trade company. Her t-shirt cost 15 euros, was made from organic cotton and had printed on the phrase “Make poverty history”. Groups discuss the values that determined the decision of each kid to buy the specific t-shirt. It will be useful to use main principles and values of the Earth Charter. It will be useful to firstly discuss and analyse the values of the Earth Charter before discussing the t-shirt selection of the young people. Finally, each member of the group is asked to respond to the questions below:

  • “Were there any cases where your decision for buying a product was based on these values? Yes or no? Why?”
  • If you were asked to buy a cotton t-shirt, what criteria would you use to buy it? Are there any values from the ones discussed above that you think will impact your decision? Which of them and why?
7 Creating a tourist resort in a protected nature area
  • Suggested duration: 45-60 mins
  • Technique used: Debate 
  • Aim of activity: To help students realise that for each issue, there are different approaches and views that require in-depth analysis and scrutiny, collective and consensus decision-making and action.
  • Underpinning components: UC12.1b; UC12.2b; UC12.3a; UC12.3b
  • Connection with other competences: Attentiveness; Transdisciplinarity; Action

Short description

The scenario of the activity describes a village situated near a protected natural area that attracts the interest of a developer. The developer intends to buy land in the village and build a tourist resort. The area is famous for its biodiversity. The forest hosts unique species and is one of the few local forests that survived from forest fires. The village was very famous for its climate and beauty and many decades ago it was one of the most populated villages in the area. Nowadays the village has very few citizens, mainly old people, and year by year the population declines. The decision of the developer has caused many reactions by the local authority, which is divided in two. On one side, there is the part of the local authority which considers that this project will rejuvenate the area economically and socially by creating new jobs especially for the young people. On the other side, the rest of the local authority functionaries consider that this kind of development will destroy the area, will maximize the risks of the degradation of the area and believe that there are alternative ways for boosting local economy and community, such as using the current infrastructure of the village (e.g. abandoned houses) for agro and eco-tourism, to develop the village in harmony with nature.

Two different positions emerge from the scenario: a) those that agreed with the developer’s project and b) those that are against. For the debate each party must develop its position and support it with arguments. The party that supports the project should emphasise: a) to the rejuvenation of the village; b) the new jobs and the settlement of young people; c) the limitations that they will have to pose to the developer in order to conserve the protected area; d) the active role that they will undertake during the project implementation, etc. Also their justification must include those parameters: a) How the local community will confront the other environmental consequences, b) How will they ensure that the village will benefit from the project, etc. The party that is against the project must give emphasis to: a) the use of the current infrastructure, b) the limits of the development, c) revealing the cultural and natural heritage of the village through other ways, d) the risk of the village remaining isolated, since the tourists will stay in the resort, etc.

It is important that all interested parties reach a decision or suggest alternative solutions for developing the area and actively involve the local community to the decisions and their implementation.

Additional Activities
  • Fair trade: A simulation game that will help players understand the benefits of the fair trade and realise that our decisions and choices impact the lives of other people worldwide.
  • “Publishing the secret archives of a desalination unit that causes the pollution of the water and leads thousands of people to death or accept all the money and the cure that the company that built the factory is giving me to safe my child from the serious disease that causes from the pollution of the water”: Moral dilemma aiming to make us to understand that the environmental and sustainable development issues are driven by social, ecological and personal values which determines our decisions. For decisiveness is very crucial to clarify our values for an issue as a means for redefining our decisions.
  • Climate changes: causes, roots, actions. Applied of a concept map for designing in details the causes, the impacts, the measures, the accountability in social, economic and political level.

Example activities for teaching Decisiveness Sustainable Development Goals

Decisiveness SDG1 No poverty

Contribute to ending poverty by acting in a cautious and timely manner even in situations of uncertainty.

Decisiveness SDG2 Zero hunger

Contribute to ending hunger by acting in a cautious and timely manner even in situations of uncertainty.

Decisiveness SDG3 Good health and well-being

Make well informed decisions choosing from pre-identified alternatives that support people’s health and wellbeing and act promptly when others need help.

Decisiveness SDG4 Quality education

Use opportunities for education in own life and apply the acquired knowledge in everyday situations to promote sustainable development.

Decisiveness SDG5 Gender equality

Take effective and timely decisions being aware of the impact they might have on gender equality.

Decisiveness SDG6 Clean water and sanitation

Take decisions in uncertainty related to unsustainable water and sanitation issue after having identified positive/negative impacts of possible decisions on various stakeholders.

Decisiveness SDG7 Affordable and clean energy

Take well-informed decisions leading to reduced greenhouse gases emissions.

Decisiveness SDG8 Decent work and economic growth

Make informed decisions and actions both as a worker/ professional and as a consumer.

Decisiveness SDG9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Make cautious and timely decisions while working towards a resilient infrastructure and inclusive and sustainable industrialization and innovation.

Decisiveness SDG10 Reduced inequalities

Act in a cautious and timely manner, even in situations of uncertainty, to reduce inequality.

Decisiveness SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

Make sound and well-informed decisions considering different community and stakeholder views and act promptly to create a sustainable community.

Decisiveness SDG12 Responsible consumption and production

Evaluate, participate in and influence decision-making processes about acquisitions in the public sector.

Decisiveness SDG13 Climate action

Be aware of the impacts of climate change on people and the planet and of the uncertainties that characterize climate future evolutions. Manage competing priorities in climate change and make effective and timely decisions addressing conflicting issues, keeping in mind the precautionary principle while being prepared to rapid change of strategies.

Decisiveness SDG14 Life below water

Facing an uncertain future, evaluate various options based on collective intelligence and take a decision that help protect life below water.

Decisiveness SDG15 Life on land

Assess and take decisions for a solution to socio-environmental conflicts about biodiversity.

Decisiveness SDG16 Peace, justice and strong institutions

Useful reading for Decisiveness

  • Curtis W & Pettigrew A 2009 Learning in Contemporary Culture. Exeter: Learning Matters
  • Stibbe A 2009 the Handbook of Sustainable Literacy Totnes: Green Books Ltd
  • The Story of Solutions 2013
  • Thiele L 2013 Sustainability. Cambridge: Polity
  • Vare P (Forthcoming) Exploring Inherent Contradictions in Attempting to Implement Education for Sustainable Development in Schools – Outlines different strategies adopted by teachers to overcome dilemmas.