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Frontiers in the Environment
April 20, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - 12:45 pmFree
Environmental education in a post-fact world
The world is increasingly filled with information; some true, some false, some misleading, some helpful. But above all, abundant. The flood of information overloads our capacity to make sense of it, and too often the result is a retreat to social media as a source of news and the creation of “echo chambers” that reinforce our biases — with serious implications for the integrity and conduct of participatory governance. Environmental challenges are highly complex and addressing them requires the ability to discriminate among and integrate across many streams of information. Facts are not enough; in addition to providing subject-matter expertise, the classes we teach must support the development of personal agency and critical habits of mind. This may require a revision in our identity as professors to focus on our ability to empathize and connect. By meeting students where they are and challenging them appropriately, we can help them develop the cognitive capacity necessary to escape the echo chamber.
Teri Balser, Dean of Teaching and Learning for the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Curtin University; Jess Gutknecht, Assistant Professor, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; others TBD
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