Teaching the Sustainable Development Goals | Teachers College Columbia University

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Teaching the Sustainable Development Goals

May 18, 2018 - June 8, 2018

This online professional development has two tracks designed to offer you a mode of learning that best fits your professional and personal needs.

Hybrid Track Dates: May 18 - June 8, 2018 with synchronous sessions on May 22 and 29, 8:00-9:30 pm EDT and June 5, 8:00-10:00 pm EDT

Asynchronous Track Dates: May 18 - June 8, 2018

Registration closes at 5:00pm EDT on May 11, 2018

Registration Fee: $375

Group/Team Discount (5 or more): 25% off the registration fee, please contact cps@tc.columbia.edu to register

Units Awarded: Participants will receive 2 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and 20 CTLEs for this professional development.

Any attendee who is taking this course for CTLE credit for NY State must enter their name exactly as it appears on the TEACH website in accordance with NYSED requirements.

This May, join Dr. William Gaudelli, Professor of Social Studies Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, for an online professional development using the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, 2015-2030. Taken together, the 17 comprehensive goals are full of real-world connections to prepare young people for living in a globally interconnected world. No matter your teaching background, this professional development will provide you with meaningful curriculum connections that can be found in the goals, including policy and civic dimensions for social studies, educational access with respect to teaching language and literacy, climate change and species extinction for science educators, and statistical measurements for mathematics teaching.

Please direct inquiries about this professional development to the Teaching the Sustainable Development Goals, 2015-2030, course assistant, Melissa Mitchem, at mcm2267@tc.columbia.edu.

Hybrid Track

Where: Online*

When: May 18 - June 8, 2018 with synchronous sessions on May 22 and 29, 8:00-9:30 pm EDT and June 5, 8:00-10:00 pm EDT

Description: In the hybrid track, participants will attend 3 synchronous sessions with Dr. Gaudelli to discuss the background of the SDGs as well as issues and challenges with the goals. These conversations will prompt educators to consider how to engage the goals with students. Participants will also read scholarship on the goals and interact with colleagues through discussion boards asynchronously. By the end of the professional development, participants will create a teaching toolkit for the SDGs in groups. This professional development should involve 20 hours of participants’ time in total.


  • Connect and network with like-minded educators with diverse backgrounds
  • Expand your understanding of SDGs through dialogue with educators and Teachers College faculty
  • Receive written and verbal feedback from Teachers College faculty


*Participation in the synchronous sessions will require a strong internet connection and a headset.

Asynchronous Track

Where: Online

When: May 18 - June 8, 2018

Description: In the asynchronous track, participants are able to complete readings and assignments on the SDGs at their own pace and without attending synchronous sessions. Participants will watch Dr. Gaudelli’s lectures, read scholarship on the goals, and interact with colleagues through discussion boards. Dr. Gaudelli and his course assistant will have available and optional online office hours to further support your work. By the end of the professional development, participants will create a teaching toolkit for the SDGs individually. This professional development should involve 20 hours of participants’ time in total. This track may appeal to international educators in particular given potential differences in time zones.


  • Complete assignments according to your personal schedule
  • Receive written feedback from Teachers College faculty
  • Expand your understanding of SDGs through discussion board posts with educators and Teachers College faculty



“I was thrilled to discover that there are many resources I can use in the classroom, from examples of hands on activities to great lesson plans.”

“Through the videos, reading, and researching information for the teaching toolkit, I discovered numerous ideas and activities for teaching the goals in my classroom and introducing the goals to the younger students at my school.”

“I loved learning about the history of SDGs and how it is and always will be a work in progress and a proof that humans do care about each other. The critique of the goals was fascinating and eye-opening on the constant presence of the imperial norms in the world.”

“This course opened my eyes to endless opportunities within global education.”

Future Directions:

“I would like to start a sustainability committee at my school. I might also like to lead a PD group at my school on how to implement the SDGs 2015-2030 into the classroom curriculum.”

“I will plan all the units for my AP class around the global challenges the College Board recommends we cover and the SDG goals and targets I've learned about.”

“I plan on using the information as I work and coach the multi age middle school team in my building.”

“I cannot imagine teaching a foreign language without including SDGs.”

Examples of Participants’ Projects:

  • High school interdisciplinary unit (Latin, history, and English/language arts) about global inequality (SDG Goal 10)
  • Sixth grade science unit on clean water (SDG Goal 6)
  • Interdisciplinary project (Spanish and English) in which students create a PSA in both languages around hunger and responsible consumption and production (SDG Goals 2 and 10)
  • Handbook on tackling inequality (SDG Goal 10) within US schools, e.g. tracking or leveling, for school community
  • Upper elementary school lesson plan exploring issues of inequality (SDG Goal 10) such as immigration through young adult literature
  • Middle school interdisciplinary lesson (math and English) on quality education for all (SDG Goal 4)
  • Middle school interdisciplinary unit (social studies and science) on climate action (SDG Goal 13) leading to a capstone research project


Who should participate in this professional development?

This professional development is open to educators of all backgrounds (grade level, subject area, independent or public schools, etc.). The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals allow for curricular connections at all levels. We invite all educators to consider what it means to engage students in thinking critically about global challenges.

What is unique about this professional development?

We’ve designed this professional development to allow educators to engage with meaningful content around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals while also supporting goals they have for their unique school contexts. Course instructors provide feedback on projects created during the professional development individually or in groups that can be shared with or implemented in their schools. This professional development also awards participants 20 CTLEs or 2 CEUs.

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