SustainabilityDay @ WU Vienna, June 10th 2009

SustainabilityDay 2009The workshop held in course of the SustainabilityDay, which emerged as a result of the cooperation between INEX and AIESEC, highlighted the necessity and reasonableness of interweaving education and sustainability. Education is one of the main tools of implementing sustainability.

Report of workshop 2: Designing Education for Change

The particpants were introduced to some major facts about INEX, our programmes and social, economical and environmental trends. The organisations credo is ”Learning for Change”, thus the aim of the workshop culminates in raising awareness, empowering and illustrating sustainable educational methods. The workshop closed with a creative interaction between the speakers and the workshop participants, giving them the oppurtunity to express their ideas, raise questions and apply knowledge attained immediately.

Education for Change as integrative development

During the course of the creative session insights were generated that melted into a joint draft of education as a meaningful and inspired journey for sustainability. Experiences gained by the workshops’ paticipants in their hitherto existing career were connected to ideas of how future learning experiences could be framed and created in a sustainable way. The discussions main current revealed two major criteria based on the necessity of connecting various and maybe also differing poles on the knowledge field and thus responding to interdisciplinarity as well as to global knowledge exchange processes. The aim is to “make it your own” and turn the learning experience into something abstract and tangible as well.

SustainabilityDay 2009/2On an abstract level visions and dreams represent lodestars of inspiration. In accordance to the three pillars of sustainability they aim to peacefulness and being linked to a holistic concept of society and life they also give sense and thus set the sails for heading towards a positively envisioned future. In this spirit the participants agreed in envisioning together, thus naming the basis of an enriching, multifaceted and flexible mindset.

As to completing the learning cycle learning experiences shall be tangible as well. Concrete interactions that give the opportunity to use all senses point to creating learning situations that enfold guidance, consequences and trust. Dualistic modes of thinking shall be split and reshaped and understood as a constant flow of poles enriching each other and creating synergies, that deepen understanding and interweaving.

Approaching the learning experience – Towards a new mindset

As another operational consequence of the workshop the participants commitment pointed to the necessity of briefing students in adopting a special mindset. Orientation towards output calls for deeply engaged agents. Taking risks and challenging limits allows for exploration of horizons hitherto unknown. Clearly the journey was put under the patronage of respect and responsibility which allows for a balaced interplay between fascination and reflection, as knowledge obtained always reflects its own origin and context. Keeping the perspectives dynamic and flexible facilitates chances to tread off the beaten track and overcome embeddedness. Nevertheless the drafted mindset is embraced by a focused approach, since all threads of the interweaving perspectives have to be consolidated by cognitive interest.

The learning strategy elaborates as an adventurous and curious “looking at it from outside” guided by the aim to achieve bonding and bestow roots to the experience of connecting with new environments and different people and thus turn learning into sustainable learning.