04 Jul 2023

Ad-hoc report explores synergies and shared challenges between student well-being and learning for sustainability

We are pleased to announce the publication of a ad hoc paper titled “Student well-being and learning for sustainability: Synergies and shared challenges“, authored by Antje Disterheft. This report delves into the interconnectedness of two crucial concepts gaining widespread attention: well-being (WB) and Learning for Sustainability (LfS). Recognized by policymakers, scholars, educators, and various stakeholders, due to their relevance in developing of societies fit for the future.

The timing of this report coincides with the recent release of two influential publications: The World Happiness Report 2023 and the IPCC’s Synthesis Report for the Sixth Assessment Report on Climate Change . While the World Happiness Report focuses on global happiness and well-being, the IPCC’s Synthesis Report emphasizes the urgent need for societal transformations to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals. Both reports indirectly emphasize the significance of examining the interlinkages and synergies between well-being and LfS, as they are vital for ensuring the livability of Planet Earth for both human and non-human species.

The ad hoc paper’s first section establishes the conceptualization and agendas of well-being and LfS, providing essential theoretical and political contexts. The subsequent section highlights four synergies identified between these two concepts:

  • Synergy I – Becoming aware of the mind-body connection.
  • Synergy II – Strengthening nature-connectedness.
  • Synergy III – Facing and dealing with (difficult) emotions.
  • Synergy IV – Fostering happiness and resilience.

The third section of the report presents selected inspiring examples of schools, projects, and learning environments that have implemented these synergies to varying degrees. By showcasing real-world instances, the paper demonstrates how these concepts can be effectively integrated into educational settings. Finally, the report concludes by highlighting future avenues for research and acknowledging the limitations and necessary precautions to consider when advancing policies in the fields of well-being and LfS.

This ad hoc paper serves as a vital resource for policymakers, educators, researchers, and stakeholders invested in fostering student well-being and promoting sustainable learning environments. By exploring the synergies and shared challenges between well-being and LfS, this report paves the way for the development of strategies that facilitate a more sustainable and prosperous future for all.