Education for Sustainability
The module is in direct response to the National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Ireland 2014-2020 (Department of Education and Skills, 2014), which calls for a holistic whole institution approach to sustainability across the higher education sector and identifies clear gaps in the ‘preparedness of lecturers to facilitate the type of participatory learning that is most frequently associated with effective ESD’. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) or Education for Sustainability is a vision of education that seeks to balance human and economic well-being with cultural traditions and respect for the Earth’s natural resources. ESD applies transdisciplinary educational methods and approaches to develop an ethic for lifelong learning, fosters respect for human needs that are compatible with sustainable use of natural resources and the needs of the planet, and nurtures a sense of cooperation and global solidarity (UNESO Decade of ESD, 2005-2014).
The module will seek to build on existing sustainability initiatives across all campuses to create a dynamic community of practice, consisting of staff, students and community stakeholders, who are committed to integrating and embedding inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to sustainability across all areas of academic practice. This inquiry-based, research-informed, experiential and active learning approach will focus on real-world issues within an holistic educational framework informed by the 4 Cs of culture, campus, curriculum and community as identified by the Rio+20 Treaty on Higher Education, the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the UNECSO Roadmap for Implementing the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development and the National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development in Ireland.
Explore and critically evaluate sustainability-related international best practice examples of curriculum design, pedagogical approaches and assessment strategies to inform the design and testing of participatory learning 'interventions' to create cognitive, affective and behavioural learning opportunities.
Identify and evaluate synergies between the formal and informal ('hidden') curricula using a place-based and living laboratory-based pedagogical framework to develop experiential and interdisciplinary learning opportunities.
Create and test an evidence-based research framework to support the design, piloting and evaluation of learning 'interventions' to measure their impact at a granular level i.e. level of engagement, marks, feedback, attitudes and awareness.
Identify possible synergies between academic practice (teaching and research), institute culture and community needs to create an experiential reciprocal lifelong learning framework for local 'Sustainability in Practice' initiatives.
Apply future-oriented thinking to address the fundamental questions about the overall purpose and direction of higher education to build embedded pathways for sustainability learning and active citizenship across the curriculum.