Transdisciplinarity: realising its potential to support effective postgraduate sustainability teaching and learning

Peter Lang
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Sustainability at Universities - Opportunities, Challenges and Trends, 2009, 1, pp. 299 - 312
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This chapter provides a review of transdisciplinary teaching and learning approaches in postgraduate university sustainability courses. The authors present desirable graduate attributes associated with sustainability teaching and learning including problem identification and solving, appreciation of multiple perspectives, skills to manage change processes and capacity for critical reflection. Drawn from a review of literature and practice, the authors propose transdisciplinary approaches such as systemic inquiry, futures thinking and problem-based learning as effective for achieving desirable graduate attributes. In these approaches, the role of the teacher typically shifts to that of facilitator, reflecting an emphasis on self-directed learning and engagement with 'real world' complex problems and often resulting in transformative learning experiences. Transdisciplinary teaching and learning approaches remain the exception rather than the norm in the higher education sector, however are increasing in their prevalence in both Australia and elsewhere, presenting a welcome development to address sustainability challenges.
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