The Solutions Journal

by ariadnesthread101

The Solutions Journal contains freely accessible, peer-reviewed articles on ” seriously creative ideas to solve society’s most pressing problems in an integrated way.”  

In the words of someone I recently met, it goes beyond “putting your finger on the places that hurt” and focuses on making things better.

If this floats your boat and makes you feel fired up and fabulous, register, and you can share your ideas on their forum.  

This month’s issue has a beautiful little article on education for sustainable development. I’m summarising wildly, and adding my own analysis, but in my reading of the article, the authors point to three gaps, and corresponding needs, in education: 

1. ‘There is a single correct answer.’ “This narrow view dictates that knowledge is to be learned, not created, by students.” Instead, the authors write, we should face up to the fact that we live in uncertain times, in a complex world, where there is no one single absolute that is right for everyone at all times. (This is a key idea in my forthcoming lecture on sustainable watershed management in BS702 (for those of you reading this who’re doing that course at Essex).  Related to this, the authors write about how its important to not just consume knowledge, but to also create it: “students—should be given the opportunity to propose, develop, and implement prospective solutions for sustainable development.” 

2. Knowledge v. skills: The authors implicitly point out the difference between knowing a bunch of facts and having deep and broad skills “which will enable them (students) to cope with uncertainty, poorly defined situations and conflicting or at least diverging norms, values, interests and reality constructions.”  (The point about constructions leads me to another key idea that might be of interest, especially to those of you with an interest in the ‘social’ side of things: the theory of the social construction of reality. I don’t think this is explicitly covered in the course, but its’ an important idea that deserves attention.)  

3. Speaking of skills, the authors point out the difference between learning for your CV and learning for life. Jobs and careers are an important consideration, but there’s much more to it than that.  To learn for sustainable development is to learn about ways of living, and that includes being open to examining one’s own life. 

Stay inspired! 

– Zareen

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