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Charlotte Holland, Carmel Mulcahy, Frida Besong and Miriam Judge

Abstract

This paper presents a pedagogical model that emerged during the design of an online Masters programme developed with the support of funding from the Erasmus multilateral programme. The authors are experienced in both the development and implementation of online learning, particularly values-based learning approaches in higher education, and are deeply committed to building alternate theoretical models that stimulate thinking about values-based learning within an online context. This pedagogical model thus represents an alternative theoretical resource for thinking about the role of ethical-values in learning. Garrison, Anderson and Archer’s (2000) Community of Inquiry Framework has been re-conceptualised and a new pedagogical model, titled the “Ethical-values Pedagogical Model”, has emerged. This model posits that a positive ethical-values presence is critical to sustaining teaching, social and cognitive presences and thus the lynchpin for the enablement of appropriate and meaningful cognitive experiences. The ethical-values bases of learners and educators effectively filter the way in which the cognitive experience is created and the manner in which the individual learner makes sense and/or constructs meaning within the learning environment. As such, the ethical-values bases of participants impact significantly on the teaching, social and cognitive presences within the learning environment. The presence of ethical-values that foster authentic, democratic and transformative learning experiences for the individual learner, communities of learners and educators is critical to the success of this Ethical-values Pedagogical Model.

Open access

Frida Besong and Charlotte Holland

Abstract

The concepts of sustainability and sustainability competence are controversial, complex, difficult to define and measure, and have varied meanings for different people and practices. Given the complex nature of sustainability, there is limited availability of paradigmatic frameworks to guide educators in assessing sustainability competencies. This paper introduces the Dispositions, Abilities and Behaviours (DAB) framework, which influenced the design of an intervention in 2013-2014 that profiled sustainability competencies among final year undergraduate students in a higher education institution. The results of the mixed methods study indicate that the DAB framework has good potential as a guide to educators or researchers in understanding and profiling sustainability- related abilities, attitudes and actions (areas of performance) of cohorts of students within higher education settings.

Open access

Tanja Tillmanns, Charlotte Holland, Francesca Lorenzi and Pierre McDonagh

Abstract

One of the central challenges within education for sustainable development (ESD) is in empowering learners to reframe mindsets, particularly those that result in unsustainable behaviours and/or actions. This paper introduces the concept of rhizome articulated by Deleuze and Guattari (1987) and proposes that it can act as a framework for re-conceptualising processes of ESD. Key constructs within the rhizome, such as assemblages, nomadism, war machines and lines of flights, are discussed to highlight their relevance to ESD. The principles of the rhizome (connection, heterogeneity, multiplicity, signifying rupture, cartography and decalcomania) are then examined in the context of six processes necessary for effective ESD outlined by Tilbury (2011), namely, collaboration, dialogue, ‘whole system’ engagement, innovation within curricula, teaching and learning and active and participatory learning. The final section critically considers how this weaving of rhizomatic principles with the processes of ESD impacts on educating for sustainability. The rhizome has the potential to inspire educators and learners alike to become more critically aware of the interconnectivity and disruptive influences within sustainability. In this regard, the discussion ends by concluding that the reconceptualisation of ESD as rhizome or rhizomatic can foster an ontological shift towards perceiving the nature of reality as complex interconnected multiplicities.

Open access

Tanja Tillmanns, Charlotte Holland and Alfredo Salomão Filho

Abstract

This paper presents the design criteria for Visual Cues – visual stimuli that are used in combination with other pedagogical processes and tools in Disruptive Learning interventions in sustainability education – to disrupt learners’ existing frames of mind and help re-orient learners’ mind-sets towards sustainability. The theory of Disruptive Learning rests on the premise that if learners’ frames of mind or frames of reference can be disrupted (in other words, challenged), then learners’ mind-sets can be re-oriented towards sustainability, and indeed learners can be motivated to engage in change agency for sustainability. The use of Visual Cues thus unsettle or challenge learners’ mind-sets, and in doing so, set them on the pathway towards re-orientation in becoming more sustainability oriented, and/or in motivating engagement in sustainability change agency. The findings form part of a broader research study on ESD conducted in a higher education institution in Ireland within an undergraduate degree of teacher education. Kathy Charmaz’ Constructivist Grounded Theory approach guided the entire study, resulting in the articulation of the theory of, and processes within, Disruptive Learning. This paper presents design criteria for Visual Cues that were articulated through a thematic analysis approach from data emerging from reflective diaries, follow-up interviews, audio recordings and observational notes. The findings from this study in respect of design criteria state that Visual Cues must disrupt rather than disturb; must represent (have impressions of) real life contexts, scenarios, practices or events; must provoke controversy; must contain a visual stimulation; and can have a critical question.