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As young people pledge ongoing climate action following a week of global mobilization, it's clear that the world faces a collective existential climate crisis signalling that we must shift to a planetary perspective. But why it is that massive bodies of evidence are being ignored?
As a professor of child and youth studies who is dedicated to fostering critical citizenship, and who examines how differerent disciplines, knowledge systems and international charters protect young people's rights, I believe one problem is that learning and research approaches have become so forensically specialized. This is the case in both school systems and universities.
Reform - Movement - Institutions - Ways - Students
There is a 50 year-old reform movement that advocates transforming western educational institutions to be more transdisciplinary: that means teaching in ways that help students learn not only small packets of information, but what really matters for the sake of our collective life on Earth.
Advocacy to reform education to be more holistic and cross-pollinating emerged in the early 1970s, simultaneously through Swiss developmental psychologist Jean Piaget and Austrian astrophysicist Erich Jantsch. Each began discussing the notion after attending a conference in France that peered into planning for 21st century education.
School - Setting - Education - Finnish - Schools
In a public school setting, more holistic education might look like what Finnish schools do: As Finnish educator and researcher Pasi Sahlberg shares, Finland's curriculum emphasizes teaching children so they are able to "combine the knowledge and skills learned in different disciplines to form meaningful wholes."
In schools, transdisciplinary approaches also means teaching the reality that there are different ways of knowing. This is particularly relevant in colonial settler societies like Canada where Indigenous people have resisted ongoing histories of enforced assimilation, domination and trauma—and where Traditional Knowledge is finally being more widely recognized as holding sophisticated insights and approaches.
Canada - Truth - Reconciliation - Commission - People
Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission called people to hear with new ears, in order to...
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