Learn, thrive and dream

The vision and purpose of NISSEM

We gratefully acknowledge the commitment of the NISSEM Transitional Advisory Group, who helped to draw up the following statement.

The challenge

Can school textbooks and other materials …

  • be more equitable, inclusive, and diverse? 
  • help to foster knowledge, skills, competences, values, and attitudes, through social and emotional learning, to prepare students for challenging and unpredictable personal, community, national, and global futures? 
  • support the vision of and commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Target 4.7?
  • serve teachers better to support these aims?

The approach

NISSEM seeks to integrate transformative global and sustainability themes, social and emotional learning (SEL), and life skills into educational materials for students and teachers in schools and other learning environments. 

Our approach is based on three dimensions of the school experience, in which values and purpose shape school conditions and teaching–learning practices and support the development of the whole child:

Classroom practice, often shaped by teaching and learning materials, is critical to this approach. We envisage textbooks and teaching–learning materials that provide students and teachers with opportunities to explore the values and purposes of SEL, life skills and SDG Target 4.7, adapted to national circumstances, cultural understandings, and policy priorities, and which embed values of dignity, equity, and inclusion to support all children irrespective of background.

The materials

Textbooks and other education materials, whether print or digital, can become carriers of, rather than barriers to, new competencies, perspectives, and attitudes, for students and teachers.

We need new strategies to develop new materials …

  • Curriculum developers, textbook writers, and publishers need time and support to research, absorb, contextualize, and integrate SEL content, life skills, and priority SDG 4.7 themes and values, taking note of timetable constraints.
  • Textbooks should embed pedagogy that helps teachers to support social and emotional learning and its application to personal and societal challenges.
  • Writers should be encouraged to engage with teachers, students, and parents to develop and get feedback on materials that are relevant and motivational, and which are both teacher-centered and student-centered. 

… And new strategies to train teachers to use these materials

  • Teacher education and in-service professional development and support, including for teacher educators, can help practitioners to relate teaching and learning to building student agency, addressing personal, community, societal, and global concerns for the planet, and showing respect for diversity, gender equality, and a culture of peace.
  • Professional development that is focused on shifting teachers’ beliefs and biases to creating a learning environment that embraces diversity of background, experience, context, and adversity.

The declaration

We declare our intention to support transformative learning that includes:

  • Clear policy commitments on education’s response to environmental, societal, and personal challenges, adapted to national circumstances and cultural specifics, according to nationally developed priorities and understandings that reflect the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG Target 4.7.
  • Multi-pronged strategies to translate policy priorities into subject- and grade-specific syllabi and textbooks, in consultation with subject specialists, teachers, students, and community members, covering SEL and life skills, and addressing environmental, societal and personal goals.
  • The formation of technical groups, with and in consultation with teachers, to implement these strategies across the curriculum and especially in core subject areas.
  • Developing a platform to create and share innovative teaching–learning materials for schools and teacher education/professional support, embedding personal, societal, and environmental competencies within learning tasks, and publicizing findings from pilot projects and action research. 
  • Promoting crisis- and conflict-sensitivity in curriculum, taking account of natural and man-made hazards in different contexts, as well as addressing psychosocial and SEL needs of crisis-affected students, in line with INEE Standards and the Safe Schools Declaration.

Improved textbooks and materials within a healthy school climate can give life to educational values and purposes and transform teaching and learning. Textbooks and materials can become carriers of and not barriers to SEL and SDG 4.7-aligned messages, skills, and values.

Work with us to help teachers, students, and their communities to thrive and dream of a welcoming and sustainable world.