Saturday, September 10, 2011

activity 8 Reflections on Sustainibility

After attending Nicola's Bould work shop, talking to others about sustainable practices and watching some of Sir Ken Robinsons videos about education (which was mighty inspirational), I started to think about what sustainability ment in the context of teaching drawing in the level 4 course that I teach. Sustainability is massive thing and difficult to define and discuss. It seemed to me that philosophys of both Sustainability and Flexiblity were very similar.

Sustainability is about looking forward, having awareness of the impact our choices have have on each other, ourselves, our environment both local and global, looking at the bigger picture and looking beyond what we have in front of us, etc.

"Most students graduate without any broad integrated sense of the unity of things", (David Orr 1991)

It seemed to me that Sustainablity is a lense to look and operate under, one that we must adopt and instill so that it is a part of our thinking and practice, rather than something we think about later or something that is a seperate entity to our practice; A way of thinking that is integrated in teaching, learning and living. that sustainable thinking is a part of our culture.

"The plain fact is that the planet does not need more 'successful' people but it does desperately need more peace makers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who live well in their places." (David Orr)

"Educate their whole being so they can face their future" (Sir Ken Robinson)

How can you become a more sustainable practitioner?

  • Not being ignorant
  • having awareness about the impact my actions have on the future, the students, the people and places around me, the environment, the institiution etc, I can choose what I do and how I do it in my practice, and embedding this awareness into my practice.
  • Talking about it in relation to our practices
  • developing a culture in our studios that is aware and practices sustainably.

What sort of learning and teaching strategies meet your philosophy of sustainability?

  • A teaching approach that facilitates Deep (intrinsic) learning rather Surface (extrinsic) learning (Ramsden (1992), Biggs (1987, 1993) and Entwistle (1981)), deep learning appers to me to be aligned with sustainablitly philosophies. This the framework for deep learning is that content and course material is delivered via projects, learning happens in practice.
  • Teaching the content at the right level to so that the knowlegde and ability gained by graduation is able to sustain the individual is capable and read to be learning at the next level (year one Bachelor art/design). Knowledge and skill needs to be seen through a lens of sustainability.
  • Being a practitioner as well as a teacher - the Artist as teacher. having a professional practice I am actively participating in research in to my teaching area. not only does this feed into the knowledge that i pass onto my students but it helps to maintain personal balance, thus sustainability on a personal and professional level.

Atherton J S (2011) Learning and Teaching; Deep and Surface learning [On-line: UK] retrieved 4 October 2011 from

Orr D. What is Education For? The Learning Revolution (IC#27), Winter 1991, Pg 52.