Quality Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho, Anabela Marisa Azul, Luciana Brandli, Pinar Gökcin Özuyar, Tony Wall

Education for Sustainable Development Through Extra-Curricular or Non-curricular Contexts

  • Elizabeth A. C. RushtonEmail author
  • Meryl Batchelder
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69902-8_19-1



Extra-curricular and non-curricular education in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is distinct from formal curricular learning through the content delivered (which is outside of or beyond the formal curriculum and the context or place of learning). Although much extra-curricular and non-curricular learning frequently takes place on school sites and can be a part of the extended school day, it is often learning that incorporates practical activities, student choice, and interdisciplinarity that is not linked to assessment.


Over the last 40 years, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) has grown out of Environmental Education (EE) and Development Education (ED) in a complex and complicated evolution (Hart and Nolan 1999; Marcinkowski 2009; Kopnina 2012; Stevenson 2013) that is beyond the scope of this entry. To avoid ambiguity, ESD is used in this entry to mean learning that promotes...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Ballard HL, Dixon CG, Harris EM (2017) Youth-focused citizen science: examining the role of environmental science learning and agency for conservation. Biol Conserv 208:65–75.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2016.05.024CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bonney R, Cooper CB, Dickinson J, Kelling S, Phillips T, Rosenberg KV, Shirk J (2009) Citizen science: a developing tool for expanding science knowledge and scientific literacy. Bioscience 59(11):977–984.  https://doi.org/10.1525/bio.2009.59.11.9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bonney R, Phillips TB, Ballard HL, Enck JW (2016) Can citizen science enhance public understanding of science? Public Underst Sci 25(1):2–16.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1075547016656191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bray B, France B, Gilbert JK (2011) Identifying the essential elements of effective science communication: what do the experts say? Int J Sci Educ Part B 2(1):23–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Calabrese Barton AM (2012) Citizen (s’) science. A response to “the future of citizen science”. Democr Educ 20(2):1–4. Retrieved from https://democracyeducationjournal.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://scholar.google.co.uk/&httpsredir=1&article=1044&context=homeGoogle Scholar
  6. Cincera J, Kovacikova S (2014) Being an EcoTeam member: movers and fighters. Appl Environ Educ Commun 13(4):227–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cooper C, Dickinson J, Phillips T, Bonney R (2007) Citizen science as a tool for conservation in residential ecosystems. Ecol Soc 12(2).  https://doi.org/10.5751/es-02197-120211
  8. Cotton D, Winter J (2010) It’s not just bits of paper and light bulbs’: a review of sustainability pedagogies and their potential for use in higher education. In: S. Sterling (ed) Sustainability education. Perspectives and practice across higher education. (pp. 54–69). London: RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
  9. Curtis V (2015) Motivation to participate in an online citizen science game: a study of Foldit. Sci Commun 37(6):723–746.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1075547015609322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Deuchar R (2007) Citizenship, enterprise and learning: harmonising competing educational agendas. Stoke on Trent, TrenthamGoogle Scholar
  11. DeWitt J, Archer L (2017) Participation in informal science learning experiences: the rich get richer? Int J Sci Educ Part B 7(4):356–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. DfE (Department for Education) (2011) Teachers’ standards guidance for school leaders, school staff and governing bodies (DFE-00066-2011). Department for Education, London. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teachers-standards. Accessed 28 May 2019
  13. Dobson A (2007) Environmental citizenship: towards sustainable development. Sustain Dev 15:276–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Education Scotland (2019) Home page, https://education.gov.scot/. Accessed 28 May 2019
  15. Emery K, Harlow D, Whitmer A, Gaines S (2017) Compelling evidence: an influence on middle school students’ accounts that may impact decision-making about socioscientific issues. Environ Educ Res 23(8):1115–1129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Eshach H (2007) Bridging in-school and out-of-school learning: formal, non-formal, and informal education. J Sci Educ Technol 16(2):171–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Falk J, Osbourne J, Dierking L, Dawson E, Wenger M, Wong B (2012) Analyzing the UK science education community: the contribution of informal providers. Wellcome Trust, LondonGoogle Scholar
  18. Feldman AF, Matjasko JL (2005) The role of school-based extracurricular activities in adolescent development: a comprehensive review and future directions. Rev Educ Res 75(2):159–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fettis GC, Ramsden MJ (1995) Sustainability – what is it and how should it be taught? In: ENTRÉE ‘95 proceedings, pp 81–90Google Scholar
  20. Garrecht C, Bruckermann T, Harms U (2018) Students’ decision-making in education for sustainability-related extracurricular activities – a systematic review of empirical studies. Sustainability 10(11):3876CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Giddings B, Hopwood B, O’Brien G (2002) Environment, economy and society: fitting them together into sustainable development. Sustain Dev 10:187–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Glackin M, Dillon J (2018) Environment, sustainable development and education. In: Maguire M, Gibbons S, Glackin M, Pepper D, Skilling K (eds) Becoming a teacher. Issues in secondary education, 5th edn. Open University Press, pp 328–344Google Scholar
  23. Glackin M, King H (2018) Understanding environmental education in secondary school in England: report 1: perspectives from policy. King’s College LondonGoogle Scholar
  24. Glackin M, King H, Cook R, Greer K (2018) Understanding environmental education in secondary school in England: report 2: the practitioners’ perspective. King’s College LondonGoogle Scholar
  25. Gura T (2013) Citizen science: amateur experts. Nature 496(7444):259–261.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nj7444-259aCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ha-Brookshire J, Norum P (2011) Cotton and sustainability: impacting student learning through sustainable cotton summit. Int J Sustain High Educ 12(4):369–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hart P, Nolan K (1999) A critical analysis of research in environmental education. Stud Sci Educ 34:1–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hawkes J (2001) The forth pillar of sustainability: culture’s essential role in public planning. Common Ground Publishing, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  29. Huckle J, Wals AE (2015) The UN decade of education for sustainable development: business as usual in the end. Environ Educ Res 21(3):491–505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jickling B, Wals AEJ (2008) Globalization and environmental education: looking beyond sustainable development. J Curric Stud 40(1):1–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kopnina H (2012) Education for sustainable development (ESD): the turn away from ‘environment’ in environmental education? Environ Educ Res 18(5):699–717CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Leal-Filho W (2000) Dealing with misconceptions on the concept of sustainability. Int J Sustain High Educ 1:9–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Levine Rose S, Calabrese Barton A (2012) Should great lakes city build a new power plant? How youth navigate socio-scientific issues. J Res Sci Teach 49(5):541–567CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lipscombe BP, Burek CV, Potter JA, Ribchester C, Degg MR (2008) An overview of extra-curricular education for sustainable development (ESD) interventions in UK universities. Int J Sustain High Educ 9(3):222–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mahoney JL, Cairns RB (1997) Do extracurricular activities protect against early school dropout? Dev Psychol 33(2):241–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mannion G (2005) Borderland voices and practices: the ambiguity of children’s participation in school grounds greening. Can J Environ Educ 10(1):241–255Google Scholar
  37. Mannion G (2019) Re-assembling environmental and sustainability education: orientations from new materialism. Environ Educ Res:1–20.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2018.1536926
  38. Marcinkowski TJ (2009) Contemporary challenges and opportunities in environmental education: where are we headed and what deserves our attention? J Environ Educ 41(1):34–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Martin AR, Chen JC (2016) Barriers to sustainability in mature-age adult learners: working toward identity change. Environ Educ Res 22(6):849–867CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McKenzie M, Bieler A, McNeil R (2015) Education policy mobility: reimagining sustainability in neoliberal times. Environ Educ Res 21(3):319–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McKeown R, Hopkins C (2016) Moving beyond EE and ESD disciplinary debate in formal education. J Educ Sustain Dev 1:17–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. National Foundation for Educational Research (2006) Active citizenship and young people: opportunities, experiences and challenges in and beyond school: research report No 732. Available online: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED502417.pdf. Accessed 24 Apr 2019
  43. Olsson D, Gericke N, Chang Rundgren SN (2016) The effect of implementation of education for sustainable development in Swedish compulsory schools – assessing pupils’ sustainability consciousness. Environ Educ Res 22(2):176–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pittman KJ, Irby M, Yohalem N, Wilson-Ahlstrom A (2004) Blurring the lines for learning: the role of out-of-school programs as complements to formal learning. New Dir Youth Dev 2004(101):19–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ramjan C (2018) Did you understand the question? An analysis of Scottish secondary school pupils’ comprehension of a Sustainable Development survey. Unpublished MSc thesis, University of Stirling, StirlingGoogle Scholar
  46. Reiss MJ, Billingsley B, Evans EM, Kissel RA, Lawrence M, Mujtaba T, …Veall D (2016) The contribution of natural history museums to science education. UCL Institute of Education, LondonGoogle Scholar
  47. Robbins M, Francis LJ, Elliott E (2003) Attitudes toward education for global citizenship among trainee teachers. Res Educ 69(1):93–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rowe D (2007) Education for a sustainable future. Science 317(5836):323–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Russell JL, Knutson K, Crowley K (2013) Informal learning organizations as part of an educational ecology: lessons from collaboration across the formal-informal divide. J Educ Chang 14(3):259–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sadler TD, Barab SA, Scott B (2007) What do students gain by engaging in socioscientific inquiry? Res Sci Educ 37(4):371–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sætre PJ (2016) Education for sustainable development in Norwegian geography curricula. Nordidactica J Humanit Soc Sci Educ 1:63–78Google Scholar
  52. Siegel MA (2006) High school students’ decision making about sustainability. Environ Educ Res 23:115–1129Google Scholar
  53. Sleeter CE, Flores Carmona J (2017) Un-standarizing curriculum: multicultural teaching in the standards-based classroom, 2nd edn. Teachers College Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  54. Sterling S (1996) Education in change. In: Huckle J, Sterling S (eds) Education for sustainability. Earthscan, London, pp 18–39Google Scholar
  55. Stevenson R (2013) Researching tensions and pretensions in environmental/sustainability education policies: form critical to civically engaged policy scholarship. In: Stevenson RB, Brody M, Dillon J, Wals AEJ (eds) International handbook on research in environmental education. Routledge, New York, pp 147–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Summers D, Cutting R (2016) Education for sustainable development in further education. London: Palgrave MacmillanGoogle Scholar
  57. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) (2006) Education for sustainable development. https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000152453. Accessed 31 May 2019
  58. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (2014) UNESCO roadmap for implementing the global action programme on education for sustainable development. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, France. https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000230514. Accessed 31 May 2019Google Scholar
  59. Veugelers W (2007) Creating critical-democratic citizenship education: empowering humanity and democracy in Dutch education. Compare: J Comp Int Educ 37(1):105–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wals A (2009) Review of contexts and structures for education for sustainable development. UNESCO, Paris. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001849/184944e.pdf. Accessed 23 Apr 2019Google Scholar
  61. Wals A (2011) Learning our way to sustainability. J Educ Sustain Dev 5(2):177–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Walshe N (2013) Exploring and developing student understandings of sustainable development. Curric J 24(2):224–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wiggins A, Crowston K (2011, January) From conservation to crowdsourcing: a typology of citizen science. Paper presentation at the annual conference of System Sciences (HICSS), Honolulu, pp 1–10Google Scholar
  64. Wilderman CC (2007, June) Models of community science: design lessons from the field. In: Conference presented at the Citizen Science Toolkit Conference, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=2ahUKEwjruPnAkfbdAhUSneAKHRiQDEIQFjAAegQICBAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fthrivingearthexchange.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2015%2F01%2FModels-of-Community-Science-Lessons-from-the-Field.pdf&usg=AOvVaw37xBym-YkKAfG4jfh9bR06
  65. Winter J, Cotton D (2012) Making the hidden curriculum visible: sustainability literacy in higher education. Environ Educ Res 18(6):783–796CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Crown 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy, School of Education, Communication and SocietyKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of ScienceCorbridge Middle SchoolCorbridge, NorthumberlandUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Rudi Pretorius
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South AfricaPretoriaSouth Africa