UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Transformative sustainability learning : a united pedagogy of head, hands and heart Sipos Randor, Yona


A novel pedagogy termed Transformative Sustainability Learning (TSL) is a simple, fundamental and useful outcome of three recent experimental learning collaborations through the University of British Columbia (UBC). These case studies include the first two years of a transdisciplinary UBC Earth and Ocean Sciences collaborative initiative, The Science and Practice of Sustainability; and one Community Service Learning program coordinated through the UBC Learning Exchange, coined Edibility and Awareness. This action research, largely conducted at the on-campus UBC Farm, constituted cyclical processes of innovation, implementation and reflection. These iterative processes formed the basis for four primary outcomes. First, the creation of TSL as a useful model for place-based, learner-centred university education for sustainability. Second, the development of Head, Hands and Heart, a simple organizing principle for working groups and individuals to engage in TSL by integrating cognitive learning activities (e.g. ecological-footprinting), practical skill sharing and enactment (including physical labour), and enablement of passion and values to be translated into goals and behaviour. Third, the development of a cognitive landscape for understanding TSL amongst related learning models clarifies its position as a valuable bridge amongst sustainability pedagogies that share characteristics of being inter/transdisciplinary, practical and/or place-based. Fourth, the explicit TSL model presented here may better enable transformations to sustainability through more effective planning, implementation and evaluation of collaborative sustainability pedagogies. In sum, TSL, at UBC and beyond, can clarify, elevate and further unify sustainability-oriented pedagogies while strengthening their transformative potential.

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