May 8th, 2010

Standing in the Crossroads: The Role of Transformative Education in Addressing Sustainability

By Christine Kelly


Today we find ourselves standing in the crossroads of our future.  Will we learn from our past mistakes and successes or become yet another story of societal and ecological collapse?  As sustainability educators we are called to consider our contribution to education innovation by asking, as does Stephen Sterling (2001), what is education innovation, what is education innovation for and how is educational productivity defined.  Our capacity to leverage the knowledge contained in the past and present chronicles of environmental devastation and human behavior lies in how we choose to answer these questions today and into the future.  This article explores how complexity, resilience, transformation and regeneration form a transformation pedagogy based in a paradigm of learning as change.  This pedagogy underscores the need for systems thinking, paradoxical curiosity, dialectical thinking, and transcendence within an authentic action context as well as the necessity for more aesthetic and spiritual spaces of engagement and connection.  This approach to sustainability education is designed to intentionally increase the complexity of our learning environments by creating persistent relational communion platforms that though their adaptation and transformation allow for the emergence of the as-yet imagined—for it is this creative and imaginative capacity that can foster catalytic change; change that moves us from the brink of collapse towards a sustainable future for all.

Full PDF:  Kelly2010

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