Last week I had the pleasure to work with “real” students (“real” in contrast to the teachers that I typically work with) and it gave me so much energy* to meet such wonderful young people (wow, I feel old). But it’s true! I facilitated the Biodiversity Collage and that gave me new motivation to read some more articles on how other people use serious games in teaching about sustainability.
How can we imagine future universities that are less market-driven and more socially just, focussed on community and sustainability? Possibly by using a different metaphor, that of ecology, according to Kinchin (2023), who also suggests five “moves” that would be required to move towards an ecological university. A super interesting perspective! (Thanks for sharing this article with me, Kirsty! :-))
As you’ve seen from my recent Biodiversity Collage posts, I have gotten into serious games as tools for teaching. Today, I am reading up on a different game, the Climate Fresk (which I also got introduced to when I got to play it in a workshop led by my awesome colleague Léa Lévy, and which she and colleagues have evaluated as teaching tool in our context). Let’s see what experiences other people have had with it!
Came across this model, had to share! You know I love me a good visualization of a model, and I think this one is brilliant to help support thinking about sustainability teaching in a holistic way!
What competencies should we be teaching students so they will be best equipped to work towards a sustainable future? The (really useful, me thinks!) Redman & Wiek (2021) framework.
My awesome LTH colleague Léa Lévy invited me to a workshop she was doing with some of her colleagues yesterday, where we played a serious game on biodiversity in order to test if it might work as a teaching tool in their context. The game, “The Biodiversity Collage“, is about collaboratively organizing a growing deck of cards on different aspects of biodiversity: what biodiversity depends on, how we as humans make use of it in different ways, how our actions put pressures on the system, and what consequences those pressures ultimately lead to.
Especially when it comes to teaching about climate change or sustainability more generally, it seems unavoidable to really consider mental states. While the dominant discourse around climate change has been about external, biophysical factors for a long time, and climate change was thus seen as a challenge that can be solved by technology and policy changes and does not require any other real changes from us, this view is currently changing towards one that considers internal “mental states”. The climate crisis is then a human relationship problem that cannot be separated from other crises like hunger, poverty, or the covid-19 pandemic, and that is inadvertently caused by internal issues like racism, injustice, consumerism. So fixing the climate crisis requires changes in the way we all think about the world and live our lives: We need to reconsider our values, beliefs and worldviews in order to change the way we act.
Wamsler et al. (2021) review the literature to develop an integrated model of change that explains the interaction of internal and external changes for sustainability.
Talking about sustainability teaching, one model that seems to resonate with many teachers I speak with is the “Head, hands, heart” model by Sipos et al. (2008). I came across basically the same thing now in an article by Öhman & Sund (2021) as a model for sustainability commitment.
In communicating about climate change specifically, and other sustainability challenges, there is often the debate around how to kickstart people into action. Paint the doom-and-gloom (i.e. realistic) picture so people will act out of fear (and I just recently wrote about how anger can be a constructive emotion leading to action), or draw more positive pictures so they feel hopeful and that they can make a difference, and therefore don’t get paralyzed?