Educators facilitate ‘value creation’ through the SDGs

Yesterday I had the good fortune to lead an educator-centric multi-country webinar on three of my favorite themes: change agency, entrepreneurship, and sustainability. Invited to contribute to an EntreCompEdu café webinar series, I detailed the why, the how, and the what next for educators ‘Creating value through the Sustainable Development Goals’.

Important when embarking upon or sharing any journey with others, I was open with my own motivations and goals. I thus opened with two drivers behind my passion. An extract from Carl Sagans ‘The Pale Blue Dot’ and my work as an Edu-pirate.

“Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves” – Carl Sagans

As educators, particularly, if not parents and citizens, we have a responsibility to provide learning contexts stimulating and rich enough to answer to the needs of all types of learners, preparing them for a variety of life and work context and challenge. We can further aspire to ensure skills developed will positively contribute to the wider social or civic responsibilities of different value creators in society; contributing not solely to innovation and economic growth and job creation, but the wider cultural and environmental value. It is not exaggerative to say the learning experiences we plan for and facilitate in our classrooms, virtually or otherwise, will shape minds and actions, and thus help steer the destinies of actors in our global system.

I spent my time sharing how entrepreneurial value creators are uniquely poised to support the SDGs, while the topic of sustainability provides limitless opportunities for value creation for learners. The SDGs provide the ideal canvass to inspire creativity, problem-solving, and action- and encourage teaching practices that facilitate students to be more creative and ambitious in the ways they look at the world and approach problems from many contexts – all key to survival in a VUCA world.

But we need to think BIG, be ambitious,– and move on from being well-intentioned sustainability talking shops. Whilst appropriate foundation work, our goal must now be to encourage our learners to take action – have impact. We want our learners to be self-motivated in embracing the challenges laid down by the SDGs and their associated ‘wicked’ problems; to be skilled to identify and deliver upon the value creation opportunities – economic, social, eco, social or harmonious. That it be now, that we conjoin as educators to overcome the barriers we may face, policy, institutional or other, that may prevent us from upping the ante on facilitating the rich experiential, collaborative, multi-stakeholder and reflective learning environments that will support our learners in becoming self-sufficient in mapping their own creative links and opportunities. People unafraid to take risks, who risk failure, and take their ideas through to implementation. The SDGs must not become a tick box framework for the classroom.

Our end mission as educators should be to shape our 21c education system as fit for purpose; facilitating learner journeys, irrespective of life or career choice that produce self-motivating, self-sustaining value creators, with the adaptive capacity to deal with any of society’s challenges, ‘wicked’ or otherwise.

There was a lot more to share from yesterday. The cafe recording will be released soon.

Thank you to ‘EntreCompEdu’ for having me.


EntreCompEdu :

Sagans , C. (1994) Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

© Felicity Healey-Benson and (2021)

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