Education for sustainable development (ESD) in mathematics education: What could it look like?

Hui-Chuan Li, Tsung-Lung Tsai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the past two decades, there has been a loud call around us to integrate Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) across all subjects in the primary and secondary curricula. However, researchers have argued that sustainability and mathematics education remain largely unconnected in actual classrooms. The question as to what sustainable mathematics education could look like in the 21st century remains unanswered. There is a pressing need to rethink, re-envision mathematics teaching and learning for 21st-century learning priorities.

In this note, we first present a theoretical synthesis of the specialized literature on the learning and teaching of mathematics. We then attempt to contribute to this particular area by challenging the traditional boundaries of the philosophy of mathematics, followed by some thoughts on ESD in mathematics teacher education. In doing so, we seek to call attention to the need for integrating ESD into mathematics education. We hope, through our call in this note, that more researchers will be stimulated to revisit the integration of ESD into mathematics education, and, consequently, to conceptualize how, and where, efforts should be focused in order to integrate aspects of ESD with mathematics teaching and learning in schools.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology
Early online date6 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jul 2021


  • education for sustainable development (ESD)
  • mathematics teacher education
  • teachers' wider professional responsibilities
  • sustainable mathematics education
  • sustainability


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