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Social, transformative and sustainable learning: a study of a Jamaican school and community

De Angelis, Romina; (2020) Social, transformative and sustainable learning: a study of a Jamaican school and community. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Jamaica faces several environmental threats, related to socio-economic inequalities, as a result of its sustainable development path. The latter stems from the island’s relationships with broader international policies as a Global South country. Within this context, the role of sustainable learning can be crucial to address environmental and societal challenges. At the same time, current literature on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) emphasizes the need to (i) explore the contributions of local sustainable learning models to the global ESD policy framework, and (ii) link local contributions to national and international contexts. Critical scholarship on ESD advises to consider diverse sustainable learning practices from developing countries, in order to shape ESD theories and practices in inclusive and participatory terms. Akin to the international discourse, studies on ESD in Jamaica highlight the need to bridge disconnects that exist between sustainable learning in schools and in communities. Hence, this study contributes to addressing existing gaps within ESD globally and in Jamaica, through the exploration of social, transformative and sustainable learning in a Jamaican rural school and community. I employed two main theoretical approaches in this research. Namely, transformative learning theories that draw on Mezirow, Sterling, Bateson and Freire guided the investigation of sustainable learning practices in the studied school and community. Secondly, I combined social learning with transformative learning theories to analyse the relationships among learners, teachers, community members, stakeholders and sustainable learning. Based on an ethnographic exploration of research participants’ meanings and practices, as well as content analysis of policy documents, findings show the predominance of issues around learning, values and leadership within sustainable learning. Additionally, local attitudes of resistance towards transformation among learners coexist with the role of local civil society organisations (CSOs), leadership and counter-culture values, which contribute to more transformative approaches to sustainable learning. The exploration of the relationships between local issues and broader policies and structural arrangements at the national and international levels uncovered a variety of disconnects. Therefore, understanding local sustainable learning experiences, combined with their interrelations with the broader ESD context, reveals insights to envision more effective sustainable learning approaches within ESD in Jamaica and abroad.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Social, transformative and sustainable learning: a study of a Jamaican school and community
Event: UCL Institute of Education
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10101580
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