Project Description


Department of Education, Queensland

Project Brief

The aim of the project was to develop a guide for teachers of Senior Geography (Years 11 and 12) to encourage best practice geography program and unit writing and to support professional development activities aligned with the Queensland Senior Geography Syllabus.


The brief for the project was quite flexible and at the time the concept of ‘Sustainable Development’ (originally coined by the IUCN World Conservation Strategy) was gaining a higher profile as the central tenet of the 1987  Brundtland Report  (also known as Our Common Future). I believed that this concept and approach would be an increasingly important one for geography teachers as it aligned with the systems thinking and human-environment interactions at the core of the discipline.  By using the focus of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD), the publication encouraged teachers to incorporate concepts and principles of ESD into their Geography teaching programmes.

The Outcomes

  • Teaching for Ecologically Sustainable Development: Guidelines for Years 11 and 12 Geography is a 58 page book and was the first book published by the Education Department, Queensland on recycled paper.
  • As a departmental publication it had a limited first print run with limited distribution to Queensland Schools teaching geography, Queensland Environmental Education Centres and libraries. After a review in the WCSD newsletter there was demand for the publication from a number of centres and researchers worldwide and this necessitated a second print run.
  • The book was produced in 1992 at the onset of the concept of ESD and has gone on to inspire subsequent curriculum development and resource initiatives. A well known expert in this area, Professor John Fien, acknowledged during his review of the publication that it represented ‘coverage of an important theme for which not one educational resource has been produced in Australia.’
  • The book formed the basis of one of the modules of the UNESCO resource Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable World: A Multimedia Teacher Education Program.
  • It was awarded the Australian Geography Teachers’ Association (AGTA) Award for Geographical Reference Book for Teachers in 1994.