David was formerly Professor in the School of Education, Bath Spa University, where he helped develop and taught on the undergraduate Education Studies degree. He is now a freelance educator with a particular interest in education for sustainability, climate change and the shift to a post-carbon future. For the last twenty years his research, writing and teaching have focused on ways of helping students and teachers think more critically and creatively about sustainable futures. His latest books are Educating for Hope in Troubled Times: Climate change and the transition to a post-carbon future and A Climate Change Companion.
TEACHING FOR A BETTER WORLD
The situation we face
In the early 21st century we find ourselves facing a number of unprecedented challenges which will lead to a future markedly different from today, both locally and globally. We know this because climate change, energy issues and the limits to growth all point towards the urgent need for a low-carbon society. The long transition to such a society will not be easy. One of the key tasks of education therefore is to help young people meet the challenges that lie ahead with confidence and vision.
The educational task
I believe this task has five interrelated strands which are as follows:
- What role can education play in preparing learners for the transition from a high to a low-carbon society?
- Why is it also vitally important to distinguish between sustainable and unsustainable ways of doing things?
- How do we help young people think more critically and creatively about probable and preferable futures?
- What are the ‘big’ global issues of today and how do they impact on our lives?
- In what ways are education and society influenced by competing ideologies about how the world works best?
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