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Does experiential student learning lead to more sustainable lifestyles outside the classroom? Peter Beck St. Edward’s University Austin, Texas.

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Presentation on theme: "Does experiential student learning lead to more sustainable lifestyles outside the classroom? Peter Beck St. Edward’s University Austin, Texas."— Presentation transcript:

1 Does experiential student learning lead to more sustainable lifestyles outside the classroom? Peter Beck St. Edward’s University Austin, Texas

2 Experiential Learning “Reflective learning from experience must be taught if we wish to foster critical thinkers capable of demonstrating appropriate attitudes with a commitment to sustainable practice and a willingness to change behaviour towards sustainability.” (Rowe and Wehrmeyer, 2010) An experiential educator's role is to organize and facilitate direct experiences of phenomenon -Experience, reflection, application (Preiser, 2012)

3 Requirements for Experiential Learning The goal of experience-based learning involves something personally significant or meaningful to the students. Students should be personally engaged. Reflective thought and opportunities for students to write or discuss their experiences should be ongoing throughout the process. Andresen, Boud and Choen, 2000

4 Education for Sustainability Sustainability needs to be taught through experiential learning (Farish, 2011) or immersion in sustainable communties (Sydow, 2012) Sustainability education must be transformative – changing the way of thinking Sterling 2004

5 Does it Work? Success can be measured by whether a student has had a transformational experience (Gadotti, 2010) Students pledged to reduce their ecological footprint after taking the course (Crompton, Roy and Caird, 2002) Evaluation comments, (MacVaugh, 2012)

6 St. Edward’s University Mission “Students are helped to understand themselves, clarify their personal values and recognize their responsibility to the world community”

7

8 Service Learning

9 Lifestyle Project (Kirk and Thomas, 2003) For one month, reduce: –Transportation –Electricity –Food, Waste or Water

10 Reflective Journals “It really forced us to consider exactly what we’re asking from people when we say we want them to live more sustainably” “Overall this project really changed my perspective on what it means to uphold western values. If I truly want to live more sustainably I have to pull away from these values, especially instant satisfaction.” “I learned that I do not have to text constantly, that I can preserve my cell phone battery and save electricity, that I do not need artificial light on beautiful spring days, and that it felt great to ride my bike again.” All in all, I am extremely happy that we were assigned this project. I have found that my whole life I have talked about sustainable living but never went the full mile. Now I can say that I have… and its not that hard! “The bus was easy to navigate and reduced my transportation. However this made a normal minute drive take over an hour and a half.... This is not likely a practice will carry into my every day routine.”

11 Evaluation Comments* Fall Fall Fall Spring Fall Spring “This class was by far more than just intaking material and being tested over it. I have applied sustainability in my life.” ““Literally changed my entire outlook on life.” PositiveNegative *Comments specifically referencing LP

12 Pre and Post Tests Anonymous pre and post-tests to 4 courses between Fall 2011 and Spring 2013 courses about their personal resource use Examples: How long do you shower? At which temperature do you set your thermostat? How often do you recycle?

13 Results Miles Driven* Carpooling** Bus* Computer Hours TV Hours Stereo Hours* Lights Off* Open Windows* Recycling*** Shower Time** Water Source* Eat Meat Ceramic Plates Hours Outside* *Modal Category Increase **Significant at p<.10 ***Significant at p<.05

14 Conclusions Seems to Work Limitations and Suggestions for Future Research Non-representative sample Dorms Short time horizon Reported behaviors Categorical survey questions


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