Decolonial options and foreclosures for global citizenship education and education for sustainable development


  • Karen Pashby Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Louise Sund Örebro University and Mälardalen University



global citizenship education; decoloniality; education for sustainable development; teacher pedagogy


This article builds from scholarship in Environmental and Sustainability Education and Critical Global Citizenship Education calling for more explicit attention to how teaching global issues is embedded in the colonial matrix of power (Mignolo, 2018). It reports on findings from a study with secondary and upper secondary school teachers in England, Finland, and Sweden who participated in workshops drawing on the HEADSUP (Andreotti, 2012) tool which specifies seven repeated and intersecting historical patterns of oppression often reproduced through global learning initiatives. Teachers reacted to and discussed the tool and considered how it might be applied in their practice. The paper reviews two of the key findings: a) the relationship between formal and nonformal global education and mediation of mainstream charity discourses, and b) emerging evidence of how national policy culture and context influence teachers’ perceptions in somewhat surprising ways.



Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


Andreotti, V. (2011a). Actionable Postcolonial Theory in Education. Palgrave Macmillan.

Andreotti, V. D. O. (2011b). (Towards) decoloniality and diversality in global citizenship education. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 9(3-4), 381-397.

Andreotti, V. (2012). Editor’s preface: HEADS UP. Critical literacy: Theories and practices, 6(1), 1-3.

Andreotti, V. (2014). Actionable Curriculum Theory: AAACS 2013 Closing Keynote. Journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies 10, 1–10.

Andreotti, V., Stein, S., Sutherland, A., Pashby, K., Susa, R., & Amsler, S. (2018). Mobilising different conversations about global justice in education: toward alternative futures in uncertain times. Policy & Practice: A Development Education Review, 26, 9–41.

Amsler, S. (2010) Bringing hope ‘to crisis’: Crisis thinking, ethical action and social change. In S. Skrimshire (Ed.), Future Ethics: Climate Change and Apocalyptic Imagination (pp. 129–152). Continuum.

Ball, S. J. (2017). The Education Debate.

Biesta, G., Priestley, M., & Robinson, S. (2017). Talking about education: Exploring the significance of teachers’ talk for teacher agency. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 49(1), 38–54.

Blenkinsop, S., Affifi, R., Piersol, L., & Sitka-Sage, M. (2017). Shut-Up and Listen: Implications and Possibilities of Albert Memmi’s Characteristics of Colonization Upon the ‘‘Natural World’’. Studies in Philosophy and Education. 36(3), 349–365.

Bryan, A. (2013). 'The Impulse to Help':(Post) humanitarianism in an era of the 'new' development advocacy. International Journal of Development Education and Global Learning, 5(2), 5–29.

Gewirtz, S., Maguire, M., Neumann, E., & Towers, E. (2019). What’s wrong with ‘deliverology’? Performance measurement, accountability and quality improvement in English secondary education. Journal of Education Policy, 1–26.

Grain, K. M., & Lund, D. E. (2016). The social justice turn: Cultivating" critical hope" in an age of despair. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 23(1), 45–60.

Gregory, S. (2012). Kony 2012 through a prism of video advocacy practices and trends. Journal of Human Rights Practice, 4(3), 463–468.

Huckle, J., & Wals, A. E. J. (2015). The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development: business as usual in the end. Environmental Education Research, 21(3), 491–505.

Jensen, B, & Schnack, K. (1997). The Action Competence Approach in Environmental Education, Environmental Education Research, 3(2), 163–178.

Jickling, B., & A. E. J. Wals. (2008). Globalization and environmental education: Looking beyond sustainable development. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 40(1), 1–21.

Kuleta-Hulboj, M. (2016). The global citizen as an agent of change: Ideals of the global citizen in the narratives of Polish NGO employees. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies (JCEPS), 14(3), 220–250.

Lander, V. (2016). Introduction to fundamental British values. Journal of Education for Teaching. 42(3), 274–279.

Lau, S. M. C., & Stille, S. (2014). Participatory research with teachers: Toward a pragmatic and dynamic view of equity and parity in research relationships. European Journal of Teacher Education, 37(2), 156–170.

Martin, F. (2011). Global Ethics, Sustainability and Partnership. In G. Butt (Ed.), Geography, Education and the Future (pp. 206–224). Continuum.

Matthews, J. (2011). Hybrid Pedagogies for Sustainability Education. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 33(3), 260–277.

Mignolo, W. D. (2011). The darker side of Western modernity: Global futures, decolonial options. Duke University Press.

Mignolo, W. D. (2018). The Conceptual Triad: Modernity/Coloniality/Decolonialty. In W. D. Mignolo & C. E. Walsh, On decoloniality: Concepts, analytics, praxis (pp. 135-152). Duke University Press.

Mignolo, W. D., & Walsh C. E. (Eds.) (2018). On Decolonialty. Concepts, Analytics, Praxis. Duke University Press.

Mogensen, F., & Schnack, K. (2010) The action competence approach and the ‘new’ discourses of education for sustainable development, competence and quality criteria, Environmental Education Research, 16(1), 59-74,

Pashby, K. (2012). Questions for global citizenship education in the context of the ‘new imperialism’. In V. de Oliveira Andreotti & L. M. TM. de Souza (Eds.), Postcolonial Perspectives on Global Citizenship Education (pp. 9-26). Routledge.

Pashby, K. (2015). Conflations, possibilities, and foreclosures: Global citizenship education in a multicultural context. Curriculum Inquiry, 45(4), 345–366

Pashby, K., & Andreotti, V. (2015). Critical global citizenship in theory and practice: Rationales and approaches for an emerging agenda. In J. Harshman, T. Augustine, & M. Merryfield, (Eds.), Research on global citizenship education (pp. 9-23). Information Age Publishing.

Pashby, K., & Sund, L. (2019a). Bridging 4.7 in Teacher Education: Engaging critical scholarship in Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship. In P. Bamber (Ed.), Teacher Education for Sustainable Development and Teacher Education (pp. 99-112). Routledge.

Pashby, K., & Sund, L. (2019b). Teaching for sustainable development through ethical global issues pedagogy: A resource for secondary teachers.

Pashby, K., Sund, L., & Corcoran. S. (2019). Teaching for sustainable development through ethical global issues pedagogy: Participatory research with teachers. Report.

Pashby, K., & Sund, L. (2020). Critical GCE in the era of SDG 4.7: Discussing HEADSUP with secondary teachers in England, Finland, and Sweden. In D. Bourn (Ed.), The Bloomsbury Handbook of Global Education and Learning (pp. 314–326). Bloomsbury.

Singh, P. (2015). Performativity and Pedagogising Knowledge: Globalising Educational Policy Formation, Dissemination and Enactment. Journal of Education Policy, 30(3), 363–384.

Shultz, L., & Pillay, T. (2018). Global citizenship, common wealth, and uncommon citizenships: An introduction. In L. Shultz & T. Pillay (Eds.), Global citizenship, common wealth and uncommon citizenships (pp. 1–8). Koninklijke Brill NV.

Sund, L. (2016). Facing global sustainability issues: teachers’ experiences of their own practices in environmental and sustainability education. Environmental Education Research, 22(6), 788–805.

Sund, L., & J. Öhman. (2014). On the Need to Repoliticise Environmental and Sustainability Education: Rethinking the Postpolitical Consensus. Environmental Education Research, 20(5), 639–659.

Stein, S. (2015). Mapping global citizenship. Journal of College and Character, 16(4), 242–252.

Tallon, R., & McGregor, A. (2014). Pitying the Third World: towards more progressive emotional responses to development education in schools, Third World Quarterly, 35(8), 1406–1422.

UNESCO. (2014). Global Citizenship Education: Preparing learners for the challenges of the twenty-first century.

Wals, A. E. (2009). A mid-DESD review: Key findings and ways forward. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, 3(2), 1952–04.

Walsh, C. & Mignolo, W. D. (2018). Introduction. In W. D. Mignolo and C. E. Walsh, On decoloniality: Concepts, analytics, praxis (pp. 1–12). Duke University Press.

Walsh, C. D. (2018). Decoloniality in/as Praxis. In W. D. Mignolo & C. E. Walsh, On decoloniality: Concepts, analytics, praxis (pp. 15-32). Duke University Press.

Van Poeck, K., & J. Vandenabeele. (2012). Learning from Sustainable Development: Education in the Light of Public Issues. Environmental Education Research, 18(4), 541–552.

Von Engelhardt, J., & Jansz, J. (2014). Challenging humanitarian communication: An empirical exploration of Kony 2012. International Communication Gazette, 76(6), 464–84.




How to Cite

Pashby, K., & Sund, L. (2020). Decolonial options and foreclosures for global citizenship education and education for sustainable development. Nordic Journal of Comparative and International Education (NJCIE), 4(1), 66–83.