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In the “electronic age” our teaching profession is faced with new challenges. Normally, educators tend to spend a significant amount of time updating the content of what they teach. They spend less time changing their methods of teaching. Today, this no longer works. A lot of content is delivered through Google and similar partners and what is now critical is that we make the necessary changes in our teaching methods to reflect this and to have some impact on our audiences. Based on more than forty years of teaching experience we feel qualified to underline the importance of the form and the method of teaching. Traditional teaching methods require that more time is spent transmitting the target information than would be spent if Google or relevant videos were used instead. Some forms of interaction can be substituted by some e-learning technologies as well. The only benefit of using traditional methods, if any, is the benefit to the students from the personal charisma and creativity of professors. It is certain that the right style of teaching can create a special atmosphere in the classroom. In this paper we would like to highlight our experiences. We take as our example – not to be too general – the concrete courses on Sustainability and CSR (Corporate social responsibility) that we have taught. These topics tend to divide both students and teachers. There are a lot of questions and data about these issues but few clear and definite answers. Science is habitually late in delivering answers to such fuzzy questions, which creates a lot of freedom regarding the taught content and requirements of the methods applied. In the first part of our paper we summarize five basic approaches to teaching. Then, using the example of Sustainability, we introduce step by step why and how complexity should be structured and then simplified. The third section concerns the concrete question of how to structure sustainability. The fourth describes how facts can be substantiated with analysis. The authors believe that parables can sometimes lead to deeper understanding than reliance on conventional methodological approaches. We are use famous parables and strategic grids to put across a simple message to students: you have to develop your own ideas about sustainability. We all are responsible for doing this — there is no given framework! We have tried to learn as much as possible from our colleagues and peers from all over the world. We would now like to offer something back, although we know that the methods described here are very personal to us. We hope that some of you can benefit from our experiences. Please share yours with us!
Kerekes, Sándor and Wetzker, Konrad
"How to Teach a Complex Discipline in a Changing Learning Environment: The Example of Sustainability,"
Journal of Environmental Sustainability: Vol. 3
, Article 2.
Available at: http://scholarworks.rit.edu/jes/vol3/iss3/2