Business as Usual or Willing to Change? – Emerging Trends – Where We Are Now
If we continue on our current path, by 2030 Totnes and District will have probably made more educational progress than other areas around the UK as it has the benefit of some very progressive educational institutions in the area, however few of the adult population of the area are taking full advantage of this to be adequately prepared and skilled for a resilient response to the coming challenges. Teaching about sustainability and transition subjects will continue to be a bolt-on at all levels of the state education provision, rather than the underlying ethos. Most young people and older students will still be leaving education programmes without a sense of holistic development, without a clear understanding of their role and responsibility in local and global sustainable development, and without the practical skills required by the emerging, more localised, economy.
The alternative is making a determined effort to bring awareness and education about transition to local society. We can take full advantage of and build on the inspirational and educational opportunities already here in Totnes and District, and the huge amount of experience among those within education. Our future depends on all of us, young people and adults being excited and inspired by the challenges of transition, and acquiring skills such as the ability to think long-term and critically about situations, recognise the value and limits of natural systems, apply systems thinking to their work, and have a creative vision of what a brighter, more sustainable future might be so that we develop good leaders and strong citizenship. We might identify the following principles as those that must underpin education in coming years:
- A broader provision of many educational and personal development opportunities for all sectors of local society, promoting awareness and understanding about the challenges of peak oil and climate change and the role of transition
- An ethos of sustainability has to be central to all our educational institutions in terms of what they teach as well as what they do as institutions
- Our local schools could work more closely together and with the local community: in order to: share ideas, programmes and projects: develop new ones
- More agricultural and horticultural training and research
- More apprenticeships and practical training opportunities for the diverse range of power-down skills
- More time for reflection, at all ages.
What kinds of things might we do to support the current system to move towards resilience?
Steps to change:
- Continue to develop Transition Tales as a project for KS3;
- Children become the main teachers and leaders of the education project;
- As part of ongoing research into how people best learn ask those who attend TTT events over 6-12 months to fill in a very small slip of paper which asks them to reflect on what helps them to learn best: e.g. I learn best through reading/listening/talking/group work/individually (on the shelf ones do exist);
- Establish the concept of “Transition Schools”;
- Make use of the current opportunities such as the “new” work with parents: spot all such opportunities for making the most of the available resources;
- Actively link school and community projects to the story of Transition e.g. intergeneration work.
What follows is one version of how education, awareness and skills development might become more localised and sustainable over the next 21 years.
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