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Venue tours, green teams, and living labs: Transformative experiences (2020)

Research in the field of environmental education has shown that Transformative Sustainability Learning (TSL) is a useful framework for designing learning experiences that inspire students to change their perspectives on the natural environment. TSL is an elevated form of experiential learning wherein hands-on experiences drive social or environmental change. Instructors design TSL interventions to specifically engage the student's head, hands, and heart. The learning experience must be designed to include all three components: students must participate in coursework (readings, lecture, discussion) that facilitates and encourages critical thinking about sustainability, then have an opportunity to enact these ideas (through a hands-on or kinetic experience of some sort). Following the kinetic experience, students should reflect and identify psychological connections or attitudinal changes that may have been triggered by the kinetic experience.

In this article, the authors introduce three TSL interventions with various degrees of instructor involvement, and aimed at different levels of learners (from university freshmen to seniors and graduate students). The three interventions are sustainability-oriented guided venue tours (low-involvement, lower level students), green teams (moderate involvement, lower to mid-level students), and living labs (more invested learning, long-term projects, best suited to higher level students). The authors describe the process of setting up and running these activities, and discuss the benefits for students, community partners, and the broader sports industry.

CITE: Orr, M., McCullough, B.P., & Pelcher, J. (2020). Leveraging sport as a venue and vehicle for transformative sustainability learning. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, ahead of print.


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