Seeds of change: applying transformative learning and thinking in relation to students responding to climate change challenges

Paul Govind, Kirsten Davies, Roger Lee, Thomas Riddell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

This Chapter captures the experiences of Australian university students in the context of an in-country, experiential based learning and teaching program developed by the academic authors of this paper and undertaken by the student authors in Vanuatu. The Chapter hypothesises that the documented accounts of the students, during and after the completion of the program, are understood as displaying elements of the process of transformative learning. The program applied the theory of transformational learning to student thinking surrounding the significant problem of global warming from the perspective of vulnerable developing nations. Witnessing the effect of climate change on the livelihoods of Vanuatu citizens triggered a critical reflection within students that included a reappraisal of their values that underpinned their understanding of climate change. Through the Chapter, the authors describe the program’s design and development and the experiences of university students in the context of an in-country, experiential based learning environment in Vanuatu. In accordance with the literature on transformational learning, the academic staff intentionally provided conditions that were conducive to transformational learning. The Chapter maintains that successful models for achieving TL must provide supportive structures that give necessary doctrinal teaching but also facilitate opportunities for students to be empowered through independent learning and the mental and emotional space to engage in reflection.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of lifelong learning for sustainable development
EditorsWalter Leal Filho, Mark Mifsud, Paul Pace
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Pages359-376
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783319635347
ISBN (Print)9783319635330
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • transformative learning
  • thinking
  • Vanuatu
  • teaching
  • Tranformative learning
  • Thinking
  • Teaching

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