What is Education for Sustainability?

What is Education for Sustainability?

Education  for Sustainability (EfS) is defined as a transformative learning process that equips students, teachers, and school systems with the new knowledge and ways of thinking we need to achieve economic prosperity and responsible citizenship while restoring the health of the living  systems upon which our lives depend – Jaimie Cloud.

Center for Getting Things Started works with students, teachers, and organizations to incorporate and live an ethic of sustainability in practice.

How to we Educate for Sustainability?

Self-Understanding and Commitment: Developing an understanding of self by: developing and articulating sustainability values and ethics; developing a personal education for sustainability philosophy; reflecting critically on learning and practices; and establishing a commitment to sustainability education.

Systemic View of the World: Developing an understanding of sustainability issues as interconnected and holistic by:  experiencing Nature’s Design; developing systems thinking; developing a historic and current understanding of the sustainability movement and sustainability education; and understanding and valuing the importance of multiple perspectives.

Bio-Eco-Cultural Relationships: Developing relationships and strategies for working collaboratively with diverse groups to affect change by:  understanding how power, privilege, and injustice impact relationships; developing sustainability networks and partnerships with diverse others; creating learning communities; and  developing a strong sense of place and ecoliteracy.

Koh Ming Wei aka “intellectual farmer” has insatiable curiosity, and is a researcher, educational consultant, curriculum developer, māmaki farmer, and distiller. Passionate about Education for Sustainability (EfS), she integrates education for sustainability benchmarks, standards, and ecological principles into State and National Education standards in the Pacific Region. Ming Wei, who co-founded Center for Getting Things Started and leads the EfS programming there, is also an independent researcher and was the Principal Investigator on two National Science Foundation funded projects, Geo-Literacy Education Micronesia (GEM), and Water Network Team STEM (WaNTS). Those projects are conducted in the Freely Associated States, including small low-lying atolls and isolated high-island communities, where developing a strong sense of place and banking on local ecological knowledge forms the basis for research, developing intellectual merit, and measuring community impact. Ming Wei whole-heartedly supports the development of climate change education projects, place-and project-based teacher practicums, and curriculum for use in the Pacific Region to build community resilience.

Ming Wei’s dissertation, Discovering learning, discovering self: The effects of an interdisciplinary, standards-based school garden curriculum on elementary students in Hawai‘i, is a useful reference for those interested in developing school learning gardens. Her research includes how the school learning garden experience is a context conducive to teaching core subjects, STEM, and foundational life skills, and has created the Pedagogy of Food to frame the kind of education she believes in and shares. Widely traveled, Ming Wei is interested in how different cultures and indigenous communities work with nature to resolve ecological and social challenges through community partnerships, agriculture, food, music and art, and place-based education.

Ming Wei believes she has to walk the talk and is an active farmer as well. Being engaged in the farm production industry along with education, grounds her design and research. She can then share perspectives from a practical and tested experience.