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Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount...

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Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada http:// www.consultmcgregor.com Paper presented at the 2012 Partnership for Education and Research for Responsible Living (PERL) conference, Berlin, Germany
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Page 1: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula

Sue L. T. McGregor PhD ProfessorMount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canadahttp://www.consultmcgregor.comPaper presented at the 2012 Partnership for Education and Research for Responsible Living (PERL) conference, Berlin, Germany

Page 2: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

Track 3 - What orientations to learning and knowing can teachers hold when designing responsible living curricula?

•A consumer culture cannot change unless consumer pedagogies change.

•Switching to a responsible living curriculum is one such change.

•Switching to a transdisciplinary orientation is another change.

Page 3: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

Features of responsible living curricula (Thuente, 1993)• Helps students integrate what they learn into their

daily lives• Develops their consciousness and self-control• Fosters prosocial behaviour (voluntary behaviour

intended to benefit others)• Sensitizes them to interconnectedness and to

interdependence• Creates spaces so attitudes and dispositions towards

responsible choices can be nurtured• Teaches them to be able to see opportunities and to

deal confidently with uncertainty and change• Integrates concepts from a variety of subject areas

around themes focused on contemporary issues facing students (wicked problems facing humanity)

Page 4: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

Four large ideas for how to bring a transdisciplinary orientation to responsible living curricula:

Transdisciplina

ry Knowle

dge Creation

(wicked proble

ms)

Transdisciplinary Habits of Mind

Transdisciplinary Learning Approach (learning cycle and

four pillars of learning)

Transdisciplina

ry Learnin

g

Transdisciplinary Orientation to

Responsible Living Curricula

Page 5: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

Elements of a TD orientation

•This paper focuses on how educators’ appreciation for what counts as learning and knowing might change if they embrace a transdisciplinary orientation in their pedagogy and course content

Transdisciplinary Knowledge (wicked problems)

Transdisciplinary Habits of Mind

Transdisciplinary Learning Approach (learning cycle and

four pillars of learning)

Transdisciplinary Learning

Transdisciplinary Orientation to

Responsible Living Curricula

Page 6: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

Transdisciplinary KNOWLEDGE• Transdisciplinary knowledge is created by

moving beyond the integration of knowledge from many disciplines towards linking that integrated knowledge with local and traditional knowledge systems.

• In a transintellectual space, a gradual cross-fertilization of different ideas, perspectives and value systems occurs while solving complex, emergent problems of humanity (far beyond the traditional curriculum content for individual subject areas, which are disciplinary-based)

Page 7: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

TD knowledge con’t• The creation of TD knowledge

inherently entails self-transformation leading to new knowledge of oneself and of the art of living responsibly with others.

• This knowledge is co-created with others who are living the problems and becomes embodied (belongs to everyone).

• It is alive (does not stand still) because the problems being solved are alive and changing.

This is very different from static knowledge created by different disciplines

Page 8: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

TD knowledge is integrated:• This means people creating the

knowledge open up to all those involved so something new can be created via synthesis and the harmonization of ideas and perspectives. Synthesis means creating a new whole by combining separate things in ways that had not been done before. People self-(re)organize during perspective sharing and solution development.

• This type of knowledge is especially needed when solving wicked problems

Page 9: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

Shift curricula foci to wicked problems

• E.g., climate change, poverty, over-population, unsustainability

• Knowledge about the problem is uncertain• The nature of the problem is disputed by multiple actors;

depends on who is asked• Great deal is at stake • All have human relationships and social interactions at

their core• Different notions of what constitutes an acceptable

solution (no evident solution)• Fixing one wicked problem often creates another one• Aspects of a wicked problem may be symptoms of other

wicked problems

Page 10: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

Transdisciplinary 7 Habits of Minds (Mishra, Koehler & Henriksen, 2011)•People need to learn seven TD habits of

mind in order to solve complex, wicked problems:

1. Perceiving2. Patterning3. Abstracting4. Embodied thinking5. Modelling6. Play7. synthesizing

Page 11: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

7 TD habits of mind

1. Use all five senses and then call to mind what they have observed without external aids (perceiving and imaging)

2. Learn to see repeating forms in seemingly arbitrary arrangements (recognize patterns)

3. Focus on one feature of something and then explain the abstraction using analogies (abstracting)

4. Learn to know the world around them by thinking with their body and then learn empathy (embodied thinking)

5. Build replicas or use theories or models to represent and then study something (modelling, includes abstraction)

6. Open doors to new ways of thinking and seeing by intellectually playing with ideas, concepts, boundaries and processes (deep playing)

7. Synthesizing

Page 12: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

Transdisciplinary Learning• All about merging different

perspectives to problem solve.• TD learning cannot happen unless

boundaries are broken down or transcended and people have room to cross back and forth, in and out, over and under, through each other’s perspectives and positions.

• This iterative border work helps people appreciate that their ideas can contribute to solving the problem.

• TD learning happens in spaces created to allow perspectives to change or to be viewed from different angles than originally presented.

Page 13: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

Transdisciplinary Learning APPROACH leading to convergence of mindsets•Three stage learning cycle, with the cycle

having no set beginning or end:▫Each person comes to the TD learning table with

their own contributions to the solution of the complex problem (normative interpretations)

▫They each pose actions ,which will have a series of (un)expected effects (creative)

▫Each person at the TD learning table grapples with all contributions, with the possibility that perspectives can shift, merge or lead to the creation of new TD knowledge (observation)

Page 14: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

Muller, Tjallingi and Canters 2005

Page 15: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

Intent of transdisciplinary learning approach•People can “effectively communicate across disciplines and sectors, value other’s expertise and knowledge, establish necessary relationships, ask important questions, integrate shared learning, and grow in self-confidence while successfully working [and learning] with others” (Schmitt, 2007, p.1)

Page 16: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

Final note – four pillars of education

• TD learning experiences that help consumers to look beyond consumption must reorient learners to what it means to learn, moving beyond learning facts and information to learning how to know, to do, to be with, and to be (the four pillars of education) (Delros 1999; Nicolescu 1997).

• Marinova and McGrath (2004) envision these four pillars as fundamental to a transdisciplinary pedagogy for responsible living.

Page 17: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

Delros, 1999

Page 18: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

Four pillars of learning• Learning to KNOW –

train students to permanently question assumptions and to build bridges leading to continually connected beings

• Learning to DO – authentically weave together competencies to create a flexible, inner personal core (always an apprentice to creativity and one’s potential)

• Learning to BE WITH OTHERS – foster a predisposition to create spaces for both open unity and complex plurality, for defending one’s own convictions while respecting others

• Learning to BE – discover how previous learnings have conditioned them and then continually test the foundations of their convictions – always ask questions

Page 19: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

T-Shaped learner – TD literate• Students need to taught in such a way that

they gain TD habits of mind if they ever hope to move beyond consumption and learn from responsible living curricula

• Teachers and educators can gain much from the synergy evident from the large ideas shared in this paper:▫TD knowledge (includes wicked

problems)▫TD seven habits of mind ▫TD learning (at the borders)▫TD learning cycle ▫TD four pillars of learning

Page 20: Transdisciplinary Orientation to Responsible Living Curricula Sue L. T. McGregor PhD Professor Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Canada .

Transdisciplinary

Knowledge (wicked

problems)

Transdisciplinary Habits of Mind

Transdisciplinary Learning Approach (learning cycle and

four pillars of learning)

Transdisciplinary

Learning

Transdisciplinary Orientation to

Responsible Living Curricula


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