Courage to change, courage to act




The aim of the project was to broaden the understanding of ESD in Germany and Poland by promoting the concept of “transformative education”. By introducing a critical-emancipatory perspective, we wished to multiply methods that allow for a deconstruction of “mental infrastructures” such as the growth paradigm.

At the core of the project was a series for trainings for multipliers from non-formal education as well as teachers in Germany and Poland. It included ten modules, each focusing on a specific aspect of ESD (e.g. ecological boundaries, food sovereignty, growth criticism). The participants were introduced to specific methods of „transformative education“ and learn how to apply them in their own context. A desired output of the project was a Polish method book that comprises some of the used methods.

In addition, the project activities included three symposiums: a presentation and discussion of the handbook “Fostering Sustainable Consumer Behaviour” by the German Academic Initiative on Environmental Psychology, a workshop on how to design educational activities with a low ecological footprint, and finally a presentation of the Polish method book developed in the course of the project.

Project Goals

  • Conveying methodological skills about transformative education as critical-emancipatory form of ESD (e.g. fostering „shaping competence“)
  • Thoroughly reflecting the methods and questioning the role of instructor as “learning guide”
  • Empowering to apply the learnt methods and skills in the own professional context (transfer)
  • Fostering the cross-border exchange of expertise amongst actors in the field of education
  • Conveying deeper knowledge about the social-ecological transformation, ESD and Transformative Education in Poland and Germany
  • Getting to know examples of good practice from various countries

Target group

The training cycle was aimed at mulipliers from Germany and Poland: teachers working in general education or vocational education and training, and multipliers active in non-formal education from the fields of sustainability, ESD, Transformative Education, Global Learning, environmental education, etc. The three thematic symposiums brought the education specialists into an exchange with actors from the fields of research, civil society, politics and media.

Focal topics

By their modular structure, the 10 activity-oriented and diverse modules, lasting 4 days each, allowed the participants to choose their own focus, based on personal interest and preferences. To help the creation of a network and to foster exchange of experiences after applying the methods in their own working context, participants were encouraged to attend at least two of the seminar modules.

The topics of the seminar modules and symposiums included the following aspects: 

  • From knowledge to action – an introduction to transformative education (05.-09.09.18) report and impressions
  • What grows when the economy grows? Basics of growth criticism (17.-20.01.2019) report and impressions
  • Does growth live up to its promise? – Prosperity beyond work, consumption and competition (21.-24.03.2019) report and impressions
  • How can we feed the world in the 21st century? Focus on food sovereignty (16.-19.05.2019) report and impressions
  • Learning with and from nature – Experiential education in ESD (1.-5.6.2019) report and impressions
  • Growth and transition within us – mental infrastructures in capitalism and a post-growth society (27.11.-1.12.2019) report and impressions
  • Infinite growth on a finite planet? The ecological boundaries of the planet (7.-10.02.2020)
  • An economic perspective on growth and growth criticism (22.-25.05.2020)
    ** Cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic **
  • Is a fairer world possible? Globalisation from a post-colonial perspective (Online-Workshop; several modules between Sept. 11 and 17, 2020) report and impressions
  • For a just future for all – strengthening people to live and act sustainably (22.-25.01.2021) report and impressions

Handbook with methods for the social-ecological transformation:
"Wszystkie ręce na pokład! Podręcznik do edukacji na rzecz transformacji społeczno-ekologicznej"

This Polish-language handbook includes 22 methods from Education for Sustainable Development, Transformative Learning and Degrowth Education. These were tested, discussed and refined in the German-Polish training modules of "Courage to Change, Courage to Act". Following the steps "recognize, assess, act", the publication proposes methods for different learning objectives that are suitable for working with both teenagers and adults. Many of the methods address core socio-ecological concerns such as growth critique, sustainability strategies, and social justice; others can be easily adapted to other thematic focuses and can thus provide socio-ecological impulses to new target groups. The selection of the published methods was done with regard to the needs of (non-formal) educators in Poland and in German-Polish exchange.

The handbook is the result of the project "Courage to Change, Courage to Act", which we implemented from 2018 to 2021 together with seven partner organisations from Poland and Germany. The publication was made possible thanks to funding from the German Federal Environmental Foundation, the German-Polish Youth Office and the Böll Foundation Warsaw.

On request we will gladly send you a print copy. The handbook and the collection of additional materials are also available free of charge here: 

Download the digital version of the handbook in low resolution (in Polish) (14 MB).
Download the digital version of the handbook in high resolution (in Polish) (60 MB).
Download the additional materials to the handbook (in Polish)

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