Digital skills and tools to create motivating English lessons based on the UN Global Goals

Are you an English language teacher looking for ways to create motivating lessons that deal with sustainability issues?

Are you interested in creating lessons that don’t rely on coursebooks and grammar-based syllabuses?

If the answer to either question is yes, I am here to help you make your next lesson look slick and presentable, be pedagogically robust, and fit into the content-based syllabus that the UN Global Goals so beautifully offer.

The UN Global Goals have been chosen because they were created based on the wishes of ordinary people across the world, and then world leaders signed up to them and they are an excellent and highly-recognized platform for improving so many areas of the world, and a focus on education is at their heart.

Digital tools and skills are great for you as a teacher to focus on because so much of the international dialogue on dealing with the various crisis that affect us on a global level takes place in the digital realm. Digital technologies broaden the reach of this dialogue, and provide teachers and learners with a powerful tool for the diffusion of knowledge.


Mainstreaming the global goals in the ELT classroom is the aim of this site. The global goals are an excellent springboard for resources. They fit beautifully into a classroom where the focus is on content.

Digital literacies are key in the way we approach integrating the global goals here, as so much of students awareness of issues in the world around them comes digitally, and the skills of filtering, interpreting and using this information, as well as creating it, are critical in fulfilling the desire to deal with the global crisis we face.

We currently live in an age where, in many different countries and contexts, a standardised approach to schooling, including ELT, is increasingly the norm. This is typically characterised by low-risk, discrete-item teaching, frequent testing and dependence on measurable results and outcomes. By introducing children to the Global Goals as part of foreign language lessons, we can redress this balance and integrate a more holistic, personalised approach to children’s education into our classroom practice.
Reid, Carol

Integrating global issues in the creative English language classroom: With reference to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, ed. Peachey, N and Maley, A. British Council, 2017

The United Nations Global Goals are a perfect starting point for those wanting to deal with 21st century problems in their English teaching. English as a lingua franca will have to play an important role in the global response to global problems. Therefore as teachers we need to empower our students with the tools to deal with these issues as well as the language to do this.

Why focus on digital literacies to integrate the theme of sustainability into your classes?

I would argue the following

If you aim to free yourself from published materials and approach new topics, digital technology offers an effective way to do this.

Learner autonomy is your goal if you wish to create both effective language learners and assist your learners to think critically about 21st century issues.

Much of learners’ language use will take place in the digital domain, and much of the debate about global issues does too. Teaching with the use of digital tools and focussing on digital literacies means you empower your learners to operate effectively in this environment.

This is a 21st century problem requiring 21st century skills. Learners need these skills in combination with their linguistic resources.

Language cannot be separated from content, meaning and information, so there is much more to learning a language than the structure of it, and this site aims to bring these other elements to the forefront using the content of the global goals.

Explore the teaching materials and teacher training videos below

Images screenshotted from the UN SDGs website.