Tag Archives: teaching for sustainability

Summary part 1 of “Competences in Education for Sustainable Development. Critical Perspectives” (Vare, Lausselet, Rieckmann, 2022)

Continuing my mission of “I am reading it so you don’t have to” on a new book: Competences in Education for Sustainable Development. Critical Perspectives by Vare, Lausselet, & Rieckmann (2022). This is my summary of their Part I, and I was really positively surprised by how much I enjoyed reading the book so far, especially the critical perspectives! And very much worth reading in the original, not just my super brief and very biassed summary!

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Currently reading “Academic identities and teaching wicked problems: how to ‘shoot a fog’ in a complex landscape” (McCune et al., 2024)

Teaching about sustainability is teaching about a (or many) wicked problem(s), and that is a challenge for teachers for many reasons. We need to, for example, teach how to work with wicked problems in general (although there is some helpful literature out there that we can start from). But when doing this, we need to drastically reconsider the traditional idea of the teacher being “the expert” (also one aspect in the “spiral of silence“). In a topic where there is no one right answer, being the expert is not possible in the traditional sense, so we need to figure out how to deal with that. How do we integrate it with who we think we are as academics, and how do we negotiate who we are with academic colleagues and all the other people in different contexts, with different agendas and values and ways of knowing etc?

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In a nutshell: “Sustainable Development Teaching – Ethical and Political Challenges”, edited by Van Poeck, Östman, Öhman (2019)

I really really really recommend that you read this book, but if you are short on time, check out my summary posts (part I, IIA, IIB, IIIA, IIIB) or the blogpost below for a super boiled-down summary of my takeaways from the whole book. I really enjoyed reading this book, especially because of its focus on “ethical and political challenges”, which I felt completely unprepared to address before, and now feel I have a much better idea of how to tackle; and also understanding what the authors mean by it makes it all a lot less daunting. So here are the main points for me:

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Thinking about sustainable futures, inspired by a recorded lecture by Dougald Hine

Last night I watched a lecture by Dougald Hine. It is part of an online course on Higher Education Didactics for Sustainability that I did not take myself, but that I have been at the fringes off for a while now, looking at the public parts of the course on their learning management system, and reading through their literature list, and talking with participants and facilitators. This lecture was the opening lecture to set the scene, and it was so good that I am now wondering how to implement it in basically all teaching relating to sustainability that I’ll do in the future. Here is a summary of the main points I am taking away from watching it.

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Planning an academic development workshop with GAI Claude

“Hi Claude, I want to plan a 45 minute workshop for university teachers with the title “how do I cultivate joy, passion, and purpose in my teaching, and how do I share it with my students?”. The goal is for the participants to leave the workshop feeling a renewed sense of joy, passion, and purpose going into their future teaching, and I also want them to be able to articulate what it is that brings them feelings of joy, passion, and purpose in their teaching. Ideally, they will have strategies for how to cultivate those feelings, and have ideas on how to share that with their students.

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Database of Methods of Nonviolent Protest and Persuasion

This blogpost is mostly a note to myself so that I don’t have to search for the database of methods for non-violent protest and persuasion next time I need it! Almost 200 methods, what a treasure for inspiration! They are grouped into “protest and persuasion”, “non-cooperation” and “intervention” (getting more and more confrontational), each with several subcategories. Many of the methods I had never heard of, or not actually realized what they were. Each method has its own site with historical examples. Brilliant!

P.S.: Featured image: This is my fourth night in this hotel room and I keep wondering — is this the way the image is supposed to be hung? Did the decorator make a mistake when they first decorated this hotel? Was it some guest who thought it would be funny to turn it upside down? And now: Is this a form of non-violent protest that is still missing on the list? What were they protesting, though? Anyway, really like the picture, and it has made me think a lot!

The paradoxes we are confronted with when teaching for sustainability, and attempts at dealing with them, using Liberating Structures

Today, I tried two new “liberating structures” in my “teaching for sustainability” course: First the “Wicked Questions“, where we surfaced some “opposing-yet-complimentary” strategies that we need to pursue simultaneously to succeed, and then we worked towards “15% solutions“, with a focus on small changes that we have the freedom and resources to implement now. And this is how it went.

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Exploring another serious game for teaching for sustainability

Yesterday evening I joined a group of 14 teachers who met up to learn from, and support, our colleague, Ester Barinaga, who wanted to try a new game for teaching purposes and needed guinea-pigs to test it on. The topic was money: contrary to popular belief, money is not at all neutral, and what currency is available, who distributes money and how, what rules exist for trading, … have huge effects on how an economy develops. We explored different aspects through variations of a very simple setup and had space to express emotions and reflect on what happened under different conditions.

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