Thursday, October 19, 2006

Can Schools Save the Planet?

If politicians are talking about global warming it must be VERY serious according to Robert Cailliau, a co-inventor of the world-wide-web, who spoke at the Global Summit 2006 yesterday.
Cailliau suggests that educators need to consider the role of education in addressing some of the most challenging issues that face the planet today. But how? What knowledge, skills, understanding, apptitudes... will help learners to help the planet?

Einstein reminded us that you can't solve problems with the same kind of thinking that created them. What kind of thinking do we need in educational institutions and how will it be different?

We can talk about engaging and empowering students to be active learners and global citizens in a technology connected world but what about different ways of thinking?

Is it about looking at principles of sustainability and social justice such as those expressed in The Earth Charter ?

Is it about the knowledge and skills and understanding of futures thinking and social foresight?

Is it about challenging our assumptions and worldviews and using more holistic or integral ways knowing and being?

If we don't "think differently" how as James Boscoe asked delegated do we know we won't be sitting at conferences in 20 years time asking ourselves the same questions? Or perhaps we won't have the luxury of being able to sit in conference buildings... at least where they are built now anyway...

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At 1:12 PM, Blogger Wendy Zammit said...

Hi Roger, enjoyed your post- I've been asking the same questions but also aksing what kind of energy and expectations do we need to generate to make people willing to make the changes they need. I would have really liked it if the Al Gore film has focused more on the end part- on the solutions. He did say that we have the technology to solve the problems but that message seems to be lost on a lot of people I know who are being caught up in despair.

At 10:00 PM, Blogger Roger said...

Good question Wendy. Seymour Papert at a session the following day talked about "today's problem of complacency". He believes that the last real transformation in schooling only occurred in western countries after the fear that was generated when the USSR launched Sputnik in 1957. He thinks that many people today believe that our education system "sort of works" and that therefore significant change is not needed.

As far as global warming is concerned many feel powerless to do anything... can we focus on a role for education in empowering students as local and global citizens?

At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is possible to arest global warming if we educate and empower people through achievable, practical solutions that are economically palatable. A starting with young people could be Al Gore's ten steps for action following "An Inconvenient Truth". Perhaps within an educational institution a management group involving stakeholders impement changes from a business perspective. This work could be publicised and therefore schools could bring about further dialogue within communities to bring about change.

At 11:12 AM, Anonymous Briony said...

Seems as if all these issues are important to consider. But maybe bringing about change also needs some emotional involvement - some reason for personal concern.

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