The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are frequently used as a frame of reference for the teaching and learning of Global Issues content in English Language Teaching (ELT). This presentation argues that the prevalence of SDGs-based Global Issues pedagogy in ELT is partially the result of a well-intended but uncritical acceptance of the validity of the SDGs as a framework for thinking about social, economic, and ecological well-being. This presentation will survey a number of critiques of the SDGs and highlight the necessity of complementing the use of the SDGs in Global Issues study with alternative conceptions and movements that promote social, economic, and ecological well-being, including: Buen Vivir from Latin America, Ecological Swaraj from India, Ubuntu from South Africa, and the de-growth/post-growth movement. In the course of comparing and contrasting these approaches to social, economic, and ecological well-being, this presentation shows, practically and flexibly, how teachers might introduce to their students alternatives that complement an SDGs-based pedagogy. The goal is to raise awareness of the need for more critical reflection on the use of the SDGs as a frame of reference when teaching and learning about Global Issues in ELT and demonstrate how classroom activities involving alternatives to the SDGs may be designed.
Michael Brown, Kanda University of International Studies, Japan
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