Transformative pedagogies for ESD teaching

As introduced in Session 2, ESD seeks to support transformative learning. In developing transformative learning approaches, it is always important to use methods with purpose. If one thinks about why one wants to use a particular method, and how the method can be combined in learning sequences of expanding enquiries and development of new knowledge and practices, that are helping students to learn not only about sustainability, but also how to take action and apply their values and ethics, then one can think about using a range of different methods, in sequence. The sequencing of the methods is important as this is what ultimately makes up a transformative learning process that uses different methods in a sequence of open ended, active learning and ethics-led change.

As introduced in Session 2, the Fundisa for Change Methods and Processes booklet, and other associated materials such as the CAPE Conservation Education Teacher Education Workbook, can help us to think through the range of methods that can be used in a learning sequence to support a transformative learning purpose. These materials are found in the online e-learning library along with many other materials that can be shared with students to support active and transformative approaches to learning with children and students.

In TVET it is also very important to develop transformative approaches to learning. Increasingly, we are learning that the concept of a ‘productive demonstration site’ which means a site where one can model and co-learn a practice with others, offers a very good T-learning option for TVET. It also involves the learning sequence of situating the issues in context and subject, exposing or examining options using systems thinking, and undertaking co-engaged inquiries into how problems can be solved, with reporting and suggesting how the practical demonstration can be improved. In this way students learn both theory and practice together, theory and practice – in practice! An example of a productive demonstration site project developed by students can be found on the Amanzi for Food website, and on the Amanzi for Food youtube channel. Another good example can be found in the Namibia ESD Change Projects involving the setting up of ‘repair cafe’s’ in TVET institutions in Namibia. Other examples of practical demonstrations can be found on the Eastern Cape Together YouTube Channel, with the story of the ‘no-touch handwasher’ being a lovely example that was developed during the COVID-19 period by carpenters who were learning to adapt to the problem of no water for hand washing.

Look through this Learning Action 3 Course Materials on Transformative pedagogies for ESD teaching. After you have looked through this section , reflect on how you would plan for an active learning sequence with your students, using the T-learning sequence model presented in our last session or the active learning framework as seen below.

Figure 1 (above) Active Learning Framework consisting of Enquiry Encounters, Information Seeking, Reporting and Action Taking (O’Donoghue, 2005, cited in Rosenberg et al., 2013)

Figure 2 (below) T-learning sequence (adapted from O’Donoghue, 2019 drawn from Edwards, 2014 and adapted for this course)

Think through and comment on the forum:

Drawing on these T-learning models,

  • How would you work with students to mobilise stories and cultural heritage on a specific local SD issue or matter of concern (e.g. water pollution, waste, community health, energy, food security, safety of girl children etc.)?

  • How would you approach the matter of concern with a systems view? And how can this inform a participatory local inquiry into the matter of concern to understand it better? How would you do this with your students?

  • How would you work with your students and the community to work out what can be done together to address the matter of concern?

  • Would it be possible to try out some of the proposed solutions and ways of dealing with the matter of concern? If so how would you and your students approach this?

  • How would you assess progress in relation to the learning and the co-engaged, inquiry centred approach?

  • What would you need to do to implement this teaching activity with your students?

  • How could you support your students to use T-learning sequences as they plan for practice teaching?