How to Integrate Sustainable Development in English Lessons: Reflections from Teachers, Students and Academicians

Abstract views: 140 / PDF downloads: 63




sustainable development, sustainable development goals, education for sustainable development, English language curriculum, qualitative descriptive study, course design


This qualitative descriptive study as one small part of a big project sought to examine the opinions and recommendations of different stakeholders (i.e. students, teachers and academicians) as to the basic characteristics of a middle school English language course integrating sustainable development content. Three different interview schedules for each group of participants were developed by the researchers to elicit participants’ ideas about a sustainable development-oriented English course to be developed. Qualitative data were analyzed by means of content analysis and the main components of a course, that is, course aims, course content, learning-teaching experiences and course evaluation practices were utilized as themes to analyze the data. The results from this analysis indicated that the participants from each of these different stakeholder groups all appeared to appreciate and support the education for sustainable development. Their recommendations often pertained to course content that would include real-life videos and materials centering on the reallife issues already put forth by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The utilization of technology and collaborative activities were recommended by all participants as an important dimension of teaching-learning experiences of this course. All stakeholders also emphasized the dominance or popularity of ecological dimension of sustainable development framework within their current experiences pointing out the lack or insufficiency in terms of including the economic and social dimensions of sustainable development for the teaching of English. Teachers and academicians mentioned some psychological conditions like students’ developing ecophobia and losing hope for future and they warned that these should be seriously taken into consideration in the course design process. Several constraints were also reported by teachers and students against the optimal utilization of foreign language teaching irrespective of the integration of sustainable development content.


Akgül, F. A., & Aydoğdu, M. (2020). Ortaokul Öğrencileri İçin Sürdürülebilir Yaşama Yönelik Farkındalık Ölçeğinin Geliştirilmesi. Trakya Eğitim Dergisi, 10(2), 378-393.

Arslan, S., & Curle, S. (2021). Sustainable development goals in the English language high school curriculum in Turkey. European Journal of Education, 56(4), 681-695.

Bagoly-Simó, P. (2013). Tracing sustainability: An international comparison of ESD implementation into lower secondary education. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, 7(1), 95-112.

Bedir, H. (2021). English Language Teachers' Beliefs and Perceptions on Sustainability. International Journal of Curriculum and Instruction, 13(2), 1880-1895.

Boeve-de Pauw, J., Gericke, N., Olsson, D., & Berglund, T. (2015). The effectiveness of education for sustainable development. Sustainability, 7(11), 15693-15717.

Brinkmann, R. (2021) Practical Sustainability. Palgrave Macmillan Press.

Bruntland, G.H. (Ed.) (1987) Our Common Future. World Commission on Environment and Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Demir, Y., & Atasoy, E. (2021). Ortaokul Öğrencilerinin Sürdürülebilir Kalkınmaya Yönelik Algılarının İncelenmesi. Trakya Eğitim Dergisi.

Council of Higher Education (2018). Öğretmen Yetiştirme Lisans Programları. Ankara: Ankara University Publishing.

Demirbaş, Ö. Ç. (2011). Coğrafya dersi öğretim programında sürdürülebilir kalkınma. Uluslar arası İnsan Bilimleri Dergisi, 8(2), 596-615.

Erdem Aykanat, A., Balcı, T., & Duran Özdil, K. (2019). Ortaokul ve İmam Hatip Ortaokulu 7 İngilizce Ders Kitabı. Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı Yayınları

Jutvik, G., & Liepina, I. (2007). Education for change: a handbook for teaching and learning sustainable development. Gsndrs: Riga, Latvia.

Kater-Wettstädt, L. (2018). How secondary-school students deal with issues of sustainable development in class. Environmental Education Research, 24(11), 1565-1580.

Kaya, M. F., & Tomal, N. (2011). Sosyal bilgiler dersi öğretim programının sürdürülebilir kalkınma eğitimi açısından incelenmesi. Eğitim Bilimleri Araştırmaları Dergisi, 1(2), 49-65.

Lambert, V., & Lambert, C. (2012). Qualitative descriptive research: An acceptable design. Pacific Rim International Journal of Nursing Research, 16(4), 255-256. Retrieved from

Macer, D.R.J. (ed.) (2004) Bioethics for Informed Citizens across Cultures. Christchurch, New Zealand: Eubios

Miles, M. B. & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis: An expanded source book. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Mutlu, G. & Yıldırım, A. (2021). Research-driven Curriculum Design: Developing a Language Course. Budrich Press.

Sandelowski, M. (2010). What's in a name? Qualitative description revisited. Research in Nursing & Health, 33(1), 77-84. doi: 10.1002/nur.20362

Şahin, S. A. L. İ. H., & Göcen, C. (2021). Sürdürülebilir Kalkınma Amaçları Bağlamında Coğrafya Eğitimi. Uluslararası Avrasya Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi, 12(46).

Secretary-General, U. & Indicators, I.-A. and E., 2016. Report of the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators : note / by the Secretary-General, UN. United States of America. Retrieved from

TTGV (2022). Sorumlu Yatırımcılık/ ESG Perspektifinden Sürdürülebilirlik , Retrieved on 2 January 2023, from

United Nations (UN) (1992) Press Summary of Agenda 21 - Final Text, UN Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 3-14 June or UN Agenda 21 Chapter 36: Promoting education, public awareness and training. Retrieved from: htm. on 10 October 2023. CID: 20.500.12592/2c0gsq.

Yıldırım, A., & Şimşek, H. (2008). Sosyal Bilimlerde Nitel Araştırma Yöntemleri (6. Baskı). Ankara: Seçkin Yayıncılık.




How to Cite

Şanal, Y., Sezgin, S., Döker, S. D., Yavuz, F., & Mutlu, G. (2023). How to Integrate Sustainable Development in English Lessons: Reflections from Teachers, Students and Academicians. Qualitative Inquiry in Education: Theory & Practice, 1(1), 50–72.



Research Article