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Teaching sustainable development in higher education

Teaching sustainable development in higher education PurposeThis paper aims to argue that substantive changes are required in both curricula and pedagogical practice in higher education institutions to challenge dominant epistemologies and discourses and to unsettle current ways of thinking about, and acting in relation to, the environment. Central to such a shift, it is argued, is the need for higher education curricula to be interdisciplinary and for pedagogical practices to work to build capacities in students for critical and reflective thinking.Design/methodology/approachIn this paper, a case study of our reflections is offered on a subject designed to promote capacities in students for critical and reflective thinking via an interdisciplinary approach. The paper uses data from student reflective essays and student course evaluations to make an argument for the success of this approach.FindingsGenuine transformative learning can occur within a constructivist informed pedagogical approach to teaching for sustainability.Research limitations/implicationsResearch implications are that genuine transformation can occur in students’ thinking processes (which the paper argues is critical for effective education in sustainability) with appropriately designed courses in higher education.Practical implicationsMore effective environmental actors and thinkers, who can critically engage with the complexity of environmental problems.Social implicationsSocial implications include a more effective and socially just higher education for sustainabilityOriginality/valueThe authors know of no other narrative that addresses attempts to educate for sustainability using this approach. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education Emerald Publishing

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References (60)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1467-6370
DOI
10.1108/IJSHE-07-2014-0102
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThis paper aims to argue that substantive changes are required in both curricula and pedagogical practice in higher education institutions to challenge dominant epistemologies and discourses and to unsettle current ways of thinking about, and acting in relation to, the environment. Central to such a shift, it is argued, is the need for higher education curricula to be interdisciplinary and for pedagogical practices to work to build capacities in students for critical and reflective thinking.Design/methodology/approachIn this paper, a case study of our reflections is offered on a subject designed to promote capacities in students for critical and reflective thinking via an interdisciplinary approach. The paper uses data from student reflective essays and student course evaluations to make an argument for the success of this approach.FindingsGenuine transformative learning can occur within a constructivist informed pedagogical approach to teaching for sustainability.Research limitations/implicationsResearch implications are that genuine transformation can occur in students’ thinking processes (which the paper argues is critical for effective education in sustainability) with appropriately designed courses in higher education.Practical implicationsMore effective environmental actors and thinkers, who can critically engage with the complexity of environmental problems.Social implicationsSocial implications include a more effective and socially just higher education for sustainabilityOriginality/valueThe authors know of no other narrative that addresses attempts to educate for sustainability using this approach.

Journal

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher EducationEmerald Publishing

Published: May 3, 2016

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