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Lander, Lorraine, Track 1

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Education for Sustainability: a Wisdom Model

Published in: Environment
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Lander, Lorraine, Track 1

  1. 1. Lorraine Lander, Ph.D. State University of New York 1
  2. 2.  Benefits of a Theoretical Foundation (or framework): Education for Sustainability (EfS)  Education for Sustainability: A Cognitive Approach  Why Wisdom and EfS  What is Wisdom?  Proposed Four Pillar Model of Wisdom  Advantages of Wisdom for EfS  Benefits of EfS for Wisdom Development  Questions and Contact Information 2
  3. 3. EfS is an applied field that draws from multiple academic disciplines and takes place in the context of multiple academic disciplines EfS can be multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary A theoretical foundation call allow for better sharing of insights, methods, assessment, and tracking progress given these broad methods and content A theoretical foundation or framework would provide support for these types of interactions, collaborations, and goals 3
  4. 4. Proposal  There are similar cognitive processes that take place during sustainability thinking and actions  Consideration of these processes has advantages for educators interested in sustainability 4
  5. 5. My Definition (Lander, 2015): “Sustainability is a way of thinking and decision making that is based on ethical principles and which supports the welfare of others in both our social and natural environments now and in the future.” 5
  6. 6.  There are many similarities between the cognitive processes found in conceptions of wisdom and the types of thinking and behavior behind sustainability.  Some aspects of wisdom have commonalities with systems thinking.  Wisdom may be easier to “sell” to students, colleagues, and the public. 6
  7. 7.  Old virtue-philosophical roots  Knowledge  Competence  Practical  Domain specific and/or contextual  Culturally specific  Comes from experience  Can be nurtured, if not taught directly (although new evidence suggests it can be taught) 7
  8. 8. Sustainability concerns knowing and caring about others, making prosocial or prosystem choices, and engaging in prosocial or prosystem behaviors. Wisdom and EfS: Both are about knowledge Both are about thinking Both are about ethical concerns Both are about explicit doing (decisions, problem solving, choices, etc.) 8
  9. 9. Proposed Model of Wisdom (consolidates several established theories of wisdom): Pillar One – Knowledge Pillar Two - Thinking skills – critical thinking, problem solving, collaborative, and creative thinking, among others Pillar Three – Ethical considerations (prosocial or prosystem, balancing competing interests) Pillar Four – action or deliberate inaction that supports system 9
  10. 10. Pillar Two: Thinking Pillar One: Knowledge Pillar Three: Ethical Reasoning Pillar Four: Action for Environmental or Social Good Wisdom Is Equivalent To Develops 10
  11. 11. Aligning EfS with cognitive learning theory: makes educational theory and research on promoting the four pillars (knowledge, thinking, ethical reasoning, and prosocial or prosystem action) available for EfS curriculum development Connects EfS with age appropriate approaches to teaching and developmental theory about readiness 11
  12. 12. Learning theories related to the four pillars provide structure for: Observations and data collection Common language for professional development across academic fields Assessment Organizing research hypotheses and having results apply more broadly 12
  13. 13.  EfS research can inform wider learning theory field  Supports short and long term collaboration across programs and years of education  Can be applied at different levels: lesson, course, program, degree, etc.  Wisdom theory can inform EfS  Promoting EfS as one method of developing wisdom helps gain interest and support 13
  14. 14.  Sustainability and Business Certificate example: four courses, assess for presence of four pillars  Case study methodology, popular with some EfS examples, four pillars of wisdom model would provide a common criteria to transfer results to other fields 14
  15. 15.  EfS provides a rich context for development of ethical reasoning necessary for wisdom  EfS provides for role models (important in some models of wisdom)  EfS provides context for four pillars to interact (systems thinking), for example in project and place-based approaches so wisdom can be practiced 15
  16. 16.  Lander, L. (2015). Sustainability Education: Is Thinking the Key?. Sustainability: The Journal of Record, 8(1), 27-31. 16
  17. 17. Native American (Iroquois) proverb: “The greatest strength is gentleness” Thank You! Lorraine Lander Lorraine.lander@esc.edu 17

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