For a sustainable development it is strategic to awaken young minds, to challenge and motivate them to grow into a critical individual learner in search of meaning and resolve. ESD seen as from a pro-active rather than reactive nature, providing the (young) learner with a strong foothold to stand on, roots to feed from and wings to fly. The challenge to create a prosperous future invites to think, think again, even to dream, fantasize, re-consider, to create lines of thought towards it. We keep ESD away from the organisational or system-perspective, seeing an individuals’ understanding, decisions and actions in the congruent logic presented as the Dimensions of ESD.
The individual learning is furthermore seen as a continuous articulation of the ‘Why?’, the inquiry most natural to the younger minds, to constantly generate new and evolving understanding of what is, thus taking a continuously critical disposition.
We ask the question because we are human and we fail to be fully human whenever we fail to ask it (Ford, 2007). A critical understanding of the “Ist” underlies a growing insight and understanding of the “Soll” and the change towards it.
While scholars in the ESD-discourse propose education should prepare students for the unknown rather than learning what we already know (for example Perkins, 2014), such appears based on the presumption that, given the rate of knowledge creation in this ‘knowledge economy’, what is learned tends to be outdated rather fast. I principally opposed to that conviction since the past and present can be regarded to be construed of facts and rest on values with longer lasting quality. Although for example globalisation calls for more understanding of cultures, trade-mechanisms,
a better mastering of (more) languages and the interdependence of value-exchanges, there is a vast landscape of resistant knowledge to start out from. The appearance and behaviour of most phenomena did and will not change overnight. Youth is still in the position to first gain thorough understanding of what is, develop an informed opinion how it came about to then engage in the exploration and development of the future. An over-accentuation of continuous change, the relativity of knowledge and uncertainty can put that learning at risk and is not to be seen as a motivating factor. I reason in line with the Socratic view, expecting that ‘learning from the roots’ will eventually contribute to learners’ autonomous capacity (Kumaravadivelu, 2003).
As a later commentor on the OPEDUCA-concept worded it: “… to imagine a better world while standing deep in the science of the world they live in” (Smith, 2020).