Critical Pedagogy for Environmental and Social Change: What Helps? What Obstructs? Theory and Practice in Dialogue
Transformative Research and Higher Education
ISBN: 978-1-80117-695-8, eISBN: 978-1-80117-694-1
Publication date: 8 March 2022
Contemporary societies face serious environmental and social challenges that require decisive action. In the 1970s, Environmental Education (EE) was conceived as an important method for raising awareness and bringing about the needed changes in social practices that can lead to environmental protection and more recently sustainable development (transforming EE to Education for Sustainability (EfS)). Since then, many EE/EfS programmes have been implemented and some change has been observed despite the persisting problems. EE/EfS – especially when aiming to change behaviours – has been akin to critical pedagogy which aims to prepare independent and critical thinkers and empowered citizens that can effectively address social problems. What pedagogical approaches and educational methods are more effective in bringing about changes in attitudes and social practices? What instructional design and practices facilitate this transformation? What are the challenges? These are questions that have troubled environmental educators and are worth reflecting on in the present context of knowledge societies and Higher Education that is significantly impacted by a neoliberal ideology.
This chapter aims to contribute to the ongoing discussions around these questions, via a dialogue between theory and practice. A discussion of critical theory and pedagogy and of EE/EfS is counterposed with theoretical reflections and insights from the author's more than three decades of teaching experience (primarily in Greece). A discussion of the instructor's key pedagogical influences and the evolution of her (my) instructional practices follows, with the aim to identify instructional practices that have a transformative potential, within the context of the challenges and the facilitating parameters of contemporary societies and educational contexts. The instructor's self-reflections and students' qualitative comments are used in a variety of research methods: a self-study research approach drawing on the author's self-reflections as instructor and an analysis of students' qualitative comments in course evaluations and other informal evaluative situations.
Marouli, C. (2022), "Critical Pedagogy for Environmental and Social Change: What Helps? What Obstructs? Theory and Practice in Dialogue", Roij, A.B. (Ed.) Transformative Research and Higher Education, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 45-72. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-694-120221003
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Copyright © 2022 Christina Marouli. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited