Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

International education and transformational learning: Being there
by Ripple, Darien, Ph.D., Prescott College, 2010, 132; 3403002
Abstract (Summary)

The dissertation explores the relationship between international education to transformational learning and environmental sustainability. Part one of the dissertation addresses a need for wisdom in higher education, while exploring the relationship of globalization. A theoretical foundation is established by reviewing current theorists in sustainability education and transformational learning to present and analyze general themes associated with student learning. In doing so, the dissertation addresses a term I call "environmental nihilism," which is an alienation associated with those living in an urbanized consumer-driven society. A central concept of educational sustainability is to overcome environmental nihilism by providing students with an existential awareness of nature. This can be achieved by introducing active learning into course curriculum. One particular way of achieving this is by providing international study abroad programs, which directly immerse students into nature and less environmentally nihilistic cultures by means of experiential learning.

Part two of the dissertation introduces A Bridge to Belize, which is an educational design intended to transform student learning in sustainability. The dissertation references a case study titled “Small is Beautiful in Belize” involving sixteen students who participated in a study abroad learning process that included self-reflective writing, article analysis and world café discussions. While in Belize, students directly engaged nature, exploring caves, reefs, rivers and rainforests. As a result, Belize became an outdoor classroom for the students. The pedagogy suggests that students who explore nature develop a deeper awareness of sustainability, providing a connection to academic concepts.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sneed, Paul
Commitee: Chavez, Manuel, Harper-Marinick, Maria, Oelschlaeger, Max
School: Prescott College
Department: Education / Sustainability Education
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 71/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Community college education, Sustainability, Higher education
Keywords: International education, Sustainability, Transformational learning
Publication Number: 3403002
ISBN: 9781109758528
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