Cover image: Teaching complex global issues- guidance and lesson plans for secondary teachers


Teaching complex global issues- guidance and lesson plans for secondary teachers

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This resource contains guidance on how to teach about complex global issues, think critically about the causes of the issues, who they effect, and how they are being handled.

It includes several through provoking and engaging teaching resources accompanied with student work sheets. Global environmental issues are rooted in the actions of past and present generations.

Critically engaging with multiple and differently positioned perspectives and experiences is essential to responsibly relating to current and future generations. In 2015, nation-states across the globe adopted the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This resources supports goal 4, which calls for quality education for all. Specifically it links to target 4.7, which requires that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development through education for sustainable development and global citizenship among other values-based forms of education.

This resource supports UNESCO's 2014 statement that the main aim of Global Citizenship Education is to: 'Support learners to revisit assumptions, world views and power relations in mainstream discourses and consider people/groups that are systematically underrepresented/marginalized'  


  • REFLECTIONS FOR TEACHERS - A tool to help teachers reflect on the materials and pedagogies that currently and could in the future support facilitation of global issues lessons.
  • ORIENTING LEARNERS TO THE GLOBAL ISSUE: MAINSTREAM AND MARGINALISED PERSPECTIVES - An orientation activity as an introduction to a global issue
  • EXPLORING THE ISSUE - An activity that can be used to analyse a campaign directed at students (e.g. KONY 2012)
  • BREAKING DOWN AN ISSUE AND IDENTIFYING KEY CHALLENGES - A series of three question sets to support students in their inquiries into a global issue
  • RESPONSES AND ACTIONS CHECKLIST - A check-list that can be used after students have studied an issue in order to consider future implications of their conclusions.
  • HANDOUTS FOR STUDENTS   Developed by Dr. Karen Pashby (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Dr. Louise Sund (Örebro University and Mälardalen University)

Resource contents

  • PDF



Compassionate Values

Age Ranges

KS3: ages 11-14, KS4: ages 14-16, KS5: ages 16+


Citizenship, Philosophy / P4C / Critical thinking, Spiritual, moral, social, cultural (SMSC)

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