A Student-Centered Approach To a Happy New Year

In this very snowy new year (at least here in Umeå), we welcome you all back to our project about advancing education for sustainability. Last year, we had visitors from 39 countries on all continents (except Antarctica) that show the interest for ESD is global. This year we will be developing ideas to encourage engagement with taking action for sustainability through education.

Many of you have used our questionnaire assessment tool to measure your students’ sustainability competencies and some have assessed different student groups over several years. Thank you for taking part in this project and using our tool to help you find solutions to your sustainability education. Your feedback and shared experiences have been very helpful to develop the tool and create a space for inspirational pedagogical activities for sustainability teaching.

We have had some helpful results, showing valid and reliable scales and how to proceed with the tools’ development in the future. The new improved version of the Sustainbility Competence Assessment tool will be tested further this year, so join in to find solutions to your edcuation for sustainability by applying for the new questionaire.

First on the agenda is to continue our work with assessment development. We met with a pedagogical development specialist at Umeå University to discuss our project and our plans for the near future. We we had a very engaging and fruitful discussion about pedagogial methods to enahnce student learning. Listening to people who have passion in their work and engaging in ideas exchange is always very stimulating, motivating and greatly appreciated. Thank you very much!

We discussed the importance of a student-centred approach and how to address the students’ needs by providing students with their own individual profile. The information the student receive can help the students to address their own individual progression of learning for sustainability to enable more confidence in their future activities with sustainability action. The feedback could also stimulate how the student transforms their approach to the cohort’s education as the program progresses. We aim to help the student to develop their understanding of questions that they probably ask themselves already, such as am I interested, am I able, am I capable and who do I want to become? 

We also discussed different forms of visualising the results, such as pie charts that develop over time and can compare the student and teachers’ understanding of the key sustainability competencies. Since it has been discussed with some participants that one challenge is that students perceptions of their sustainability competence may score lower on the scales as they progress in their studies (rather than score higher, as is the norm with accumulation of knowledge), these ideas may be a way to address the students’ concern for what it means to score lower on the sustainability competencies. As a learner becomes a contributor the student may transform to become a performer. Transforming mindsets towards sustainability while they progress with a changed understanding of their levels of sustainability competences.

We look forward to your feedback regarding these issues. How have you addressed a student-centered approach to education for sustainability? What worked for you and what has been more challenging? We invite you to visit our website and share your experiences, and take part in our discussion forum to tell us about your challenges to education for sustainability.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: