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Critical Thinking and Normative Competencies for Sustainability Science Education

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Title: Critical Thinking and Normative Competencies for Sustainability Science Education
Other Titles: サステイナビリティ学教育に対するクリティカル・シンキング的と規範的コンピテンシー
Authors: Andrew, KOMASINSKI1 Browse this author
Gakushi, Ishimura2 Browse this author
Authors(alt): Andrew, KOMASINSKI1
石村, 学志2
Issue Date: Mar-2017
Publisher: 北海道大学高等教育推進機構
Journal Title: 高等教育ジャーナル : 高等教育と生涯学習
Journal Title(alt): Journal of Higher Education and Lifelong Learning
Volume: 24
Start Page: 21
End Page: 37
Abstract: In this paper, we extend the competencies framework of education for sustainability development (ESD) to argue that critical thinking should be taught as a core competency and that normative dialogue functions as a key competency. We then develop a pedagogy for teaching these competencies, reviewing the results of our teaching implementation, and drawing conclusions about the effectiveness of both the framework and the pedagogy. We establish the need for education in critical thinking and normative dialogue by rehearsing and building on the history of ESD. We begin by looking at how ESD has focused on competencies to solve wickedly complex problems. In light of this, we propose critical thinking as a core competency necessary for tackling these difficult issues outside of the expertise of specific fields. Building on the Delphi report of the American Philosophical Association, we suggest that this can be accomplished when critical thinking is understood as purposeful, self-reflective judgment that also evaluates the considerations used in making such judgments. We also show that normative dialogue is necessary to bridge disagreements in complex human problems, and should thus function as a key competency. We then turn to our pedagogical approach, which involves teaching critical thinking through introductory sentential logic and fostering normative dialogue skills by familiarizing students with frameworks from both philosophical ethics and contemporary frameworks for human rights. We then describe our implementation at the Center for Sustainability Science of Hokkaido University as four sessions in an Environmental Ethics course. Using pre- and post-test surveys, we then evaluate the effectiveness of our curriculum and hold that our pedagogy needs revision to require more student work as it failed to produce the competencies we sought to foster. Finally, we conclude that further work can be done to refine the theoretical framework as well, clarifying the sort of critical thinking that is necessary for ESD, and considering additional tools to help students better engage in normative dialogue.
Type: bulletin (article)
Appears in Collections:高等教育ジャーナル = Journal of Higher Education and Lifelong Learning > 第24号

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