Pedagogiska utmaningar till följd av klimatramverket för universitet och högskolor?

Linköpings universitet är ett av 36 svenska universitet och högskolor som har skrivit under ett gemensamt klimatramverk. Genom att skriva under förbinder sig LiU att ta fram en klimatstrategi för sin verksamhet som ligger i linje med vad som krävs för att jordens uppvärmning ska hålla sig under 1,5 grader. Detta är ett mycket ambitiöst mål – ett mål som för de allra flesta individer, organisationer och samhällen som vill bidra till dess uppfyllande, innebär mycket stora förändringar av vardagen och verksamheten. ”Nästan ingen har en aning om vad det [ett mål om halverade utsläpp till 2030] innebär i vardagen” skrev fyra representanter för Klimatpsykologerna i Sydsvenskan i helgen.

För att lyckas behöver LiU och övriga 35 lärosäten, inte bara se till att informera sig om vad 1,5-graders-målet innebär utan också omsätta klimatramverket i tillräckligt ambitiösa och konkreta mål för verksamheten och dess klimatpåverkan. De mål vi sätter upp måste också följas upp och vi måste vidta åtgärder om verksamheten inte ligger i linje med vad de innebär. Det är exempelvis enkelt att säga att personalen ska minska sitt flygresande – en åtgärd som snabbt skulle kunna ge tydliga och mätbara resultat för de flesta svenska lärosäten. Men det handlar om att minska detta flygresande tillräckligt för att det ska ligga i linje med målet och att också kunna och våga vidta åtgärder om detta inte sker. Och det gäller förstås inte bara flygresande utan alla de åtgärder som behöver vidtas för att målet ska kunna nås. Och det gäller även när kraven uppfattas bli allt högre, för det är så att vi behöver halvera våra utsläpp av växthusgaser var tionde år för att ligga i linje med 1,5-graders-målet. Med detta sagt är vi positiva till att svenska lärosäten, inklusive LiU, tar konsekvenserna av sin egen miljö- och klimatforskning.

Som pedagogiska utvecklare på Didacticum vill vi gärna vara med och bidra. Ett sätt på vilket vi kan göra det är genom att förbättra möjligheterna för LiU:s undervisande personal att integrera lärande för hållbar utveckling i sina kurser och program på ett sätt som säkerställer en meningsfull progression. Detta är också något som efterfrågas när lärosätena nu ska ta ett helhetsgrepp om sitt klimatarbete. Vi har under ett par terminer erbjudit sådan utbildning, bland annat genom seminarier med fokus på lärande för hållbar utveckling och genom möjligheterna att ta hjälp av en pedagog. I höst kommer vi även att erbjuda en kurs (pedagogisk utveckling i högre utbildning) med särskilt fokus på lärande för hållbar utveckling. Denna lämpar sig särskilt väl för lärarlag med ambitionen att integrera lärande för hållbar utveckling på hela program. Så det finns ingen anledning att vänta utan ge LiU en rivstart i arbetet för att nå 1,5-graders-målet.

 

Cecilia Enberg & Ola Leifler,

Universitetslektorer IBL resp. IDA, pedagogiska utvecklare på Didacticum

 

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Poddtips: Målmedvetenskap

Snubblade på den intressanta podden Målmedvetenskap när jag skulle undersöka hur olika universitet använder bild, ljud och video för att kommunicera ut högskolepedagogik, IKT och det vi också arbetar med vid Didacticum: Lärande för hållbar utveckling. Podden är en slags samtalsstafett där forskare från Göteborgs universitet och Chalmers väljer att diskutera de olika globala målen ur ett vetenskapligt perspektiv. Ur ett IKT-perspektiv är det också intressant att se att det är alltfler universitet som rör sig alltmer mot podden som format för förmedling av innehåll, inte den filmade föreläsningen.

Podden Målmedvetenskap, klicka på bilden

Den här podden länkar vi även till på den resurssida som finns med samlat material inom området Lärande för hållbar utveckling.

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Dialogues on learning for sustainable development: We cannot teach values to our students

This is part two in a series of entries on some attitudes towards transforming higher education in the face of societal challenges.

 

“We cannot teach values to our students”

Some claim that any learning goals related to values and norms would be akin to brain-washing students, something that in itself would be at odds with fundamental academic … values. It seems that we hold to some values, but are very afraid to make them explicit in our education.

In learning for a sustainable development, the oft-forgotten affective domain in the taxonomy of learning goals by Krathwohl, Bloom et al. (1956) becomes important again. The affective domain describes abilities that concern our own norms and values, as well as those of others. However, it does not in itself require learners to hold to particular values to attain specific learning goals. They may have competing values, be aware of them and attain high goals related to the affective domain. Rather, the affective domain concerns your awareness of values, and the degree to which you are able to act in accordance with the values that you hold to. A normative competence means understanding values and the relationship between values and actions. Although some say that we as academics are, or should be, agnostic as to the values we and our students exhibit, we nevertheless expect that all of us respect equal values of all people, irrespective of gender, ethnicity or religion. We expect all academics to value scientific methods higher than other ways of making sense of the world such as religious epiphanies. We expect academic results to be avaluated on the merits of arguments, not the gender or ethnicity of the author.

We also expect physicians and nurses who are educated in how the human body and the interventions of modern medicine work, to use their abilities in the best interests of patients, and to care for their general well-being. We expect them to abstain from interventions that would cause more harm than good, and and we expect them to learn about and prescribe new health-promoting schemes such as dietary restrictions or cardiac exercise as different disciplines obtain results about their effectiveness. You may have been trained as a physician to administer drugs or suggest surgery as the primary means of intervention, and thus prefer to use the tools you have been trained in. Still, you are expected to assess the outcome of all possible interventions, including not intervening at all, in the best interest of the system you are manipulating (the patient or population of patients).

Engineers are expected to be trained in devising new (socio-)technical systems, reconfiguring how people work, socialize and understand the world. They design transport systems, energy systems, food production systems and everything in between, for the purpose of improving the quality of life for all members of society. Economists are expected to understand the concept of value, and optimize how we distribute means in society to provide value. The purpose of this activity is, again, to improve the overall quality of life in society. However, for engineers and economists alike these expectations are rarely if ever made explicit, but we rather hope that their cognitive capabilities will allow them to devise solutions that automatically promote a prosperous society. We know of course that engineers may be quite willing to employ their skills in the service of fossil energy companies that extract ever more oil and coal, or to create weapons of mass destruction. They may work to create social media platforms with targeted content that cause citizens to obtain a skewed perception of reality. Despite this, engineers and economists are trained to think about all change caused by new systems as ”development”, and all development is considered net-positive by default. Also, development is mainly thought of in technical terms. Note that there does not have to be an explicitly stated goal to improve the quality of life in society as long as we think of development as inherently positive regardless of the effects on people or surrounding ecosystems.

Just as engineers may ignore the ultimate purposes of technology they are part of creating, so too may economists ignore the value of everything that is not currently monetized, and believe that value is or should always be monetized. Economic development is only thought of in terms of the sum total of monetized goods and services and not the values of everything people value and do free of charge in families and communities alike. A nuclear disaster is likely to increase economic activity in a region that has to relocate thousands of people, sanitize soils and dismount and isolate reactors. Maybe we would like to capture the value of a living planet, and a thriving human community on that planet, in better terms than we currently have.

Maybe we should hold our economists, engineers and other specialists that we train through higher education to the same ethical standards as medical professionals, in that it is imperative

* to only implement that which is likely to improve the overall system, whether a patient or a community,

* to understand the whole system that you are trying to implement some changes to, and

* to assess the whole-system outcome of the interventions that you create.

When educators abdicate the responsibility to train people to this end, they cannot say that the expected result of higher education and specialized training will be that society will be better through higher education. It may just as well become worse, if our students are not expected and trained to care about the difference.

 

Ola Leifler

IDA/Didacticum

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Dialogues on learning for sustainable development: This is outside my domain

This is the first post in a series that provides some reflections on common types of exchanges I have had over the years when discussing learning for a sustainable development. Each post begins with a quote on arguments made against calls for changes to promote learning for a sustainable development in higher education, along with my thoughts on those arguments.

 

”This is outside my domain”

Some academics say they have no background knowledge about concepts such as the planetary boundaries, or the sustainable development goals. They may not be particularly proud of this, but they do not think that the issues of the global world necessarily concern them in their own subject. They mostly wish to continue with their practice and ignore the wider implications of climate change or ecological collapses on their work as teachers and researchers. For the most part it is rational to isolate some concerns of the wider world so that you may focus on making progress in an isolated area. However, the global issues of today are different from distractions of the 24 hour news cycle. In a global highly connected world, with ecological, social and economic links between all parts of the world, the effects of global issues may be felt by everyone, including academics and universities. The impacts of a globally changing climate and conditions for human life will need to shift the core societal project from accelerating economic growth to forming a sustainable and prosperous global society. Either we embrace this project as academics from all disciplines willingly, or we will be forced to face the impending changes unprepared. To have a solid understanding of the core mechanisms that cause climate change will be necessary to properly put your discipline and work in context, and focus on how to contribute to necessary change.

As an analogy, consider how something that may have been peripheral to your academic expertise may have had an important contribution to your work earlier. At some point in time you as an academic may have been unaware about effective learning methods and thought that lecturing and written exams provided the best or only way in which you could support students’ learning. Later you may have learned about the science of how brains and learning work, the importance of feedback and trying your understanding repeatedly to improve your performance. You may also have been blissfully unaware of gender biases in academia, but may have been convinced that there are in fact structures and attitude problems that make women feel much less welcome than men in certain disciplines. In both cases, you will have gained important insights from other domains, insights that are essential to promote a safe, inclusive and supportive learning environment. Gaining those insights are necessary to become a better scholar.

 

Ola Leifler

IDA/Didacticum

 

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