Yesterday night we had the second meeting of the Transition Towns Aberystwyth Reading Group of this semester, on the subject of education for sustainability. It was a small but lively session, with a mixture of staff, students, friends from CAT, and others. We began by discussing the reading – a chapter from Paul Chatterton on ‘Autonomous Geographies’ – detailing his radical teaching methods in Leeds. His classes involve taking students on demonstrations, compiling diaries of engagement in autonomous activities, and other projects. A combination of very radical content, and some innovative assessment methods, made us wonder how many university lecturers could adopt similar methods elsewhere. It did raise an interesting debate about the purpose of education – to encourage critical thinking, or to promote a particular perspective on the causes and solutions to environmental issues? Are these incompatible? I don’t think they are – but some students and colleagues may think differently.
The next meeting of the group will discuss the WWF report Common Cause, and is scheduled for 28 January 2011, 6pm, upstairs in the Arts Centre. All are welcome to join us!