In 2016, Dr. Grian A. Cutanda, from the University of Granada, Spain, presented his doctoral thesis on the use of traditional stories as educational tools to convey a complex-systems worldview on the basis of systems thinking and the values and principles of the Earth Charter.
Dr. Cutanda analyzed and collected 336 myths, legends, fables and folktales from all around the world to illustrate the different principles of the Charter. His thesis advisors, Dr. Alfonso Fernández Herrería and Dr. Francisco Miguel Martínez Rodríguez, from the Faculty of Education of the University of Granada, have been involved for many years in the Earth Charter and in education research related to the role of emotions in education processes. Dr. Jane Brown, from Moray House School of Education of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, was the methodology director of the research work.
The author believes that the Education Sciences are called to play a decisive role in the necessary change of mentality that lead us to overcome the state of true planetary emergency in which systems scientists forecasts point to a breakdown, as the different “educations for change” have proven ineffective in achieving this social transformation.
The thesis attempts to offer two different contributions: a theoretical proposal, which aims to overcome the shortcomings of educations for change; and a practical proposal, based on the previous one, which seeks to provide a vast repository of educational resources aimed at social change in worldview.
The theoretical proposal, set up on the works of Stephen Sterling, Gregory Bateson and Donella H. Meadows, among others, includes the development of a worldview education as a confluence node for the different educations for change, as well as the introduction of transpersonal education in teacher training.
The practical proposal is based on Ecopedagogy, Ethics of Care, Deep Ecology and the Earth Charter, and offers some initial tools for education in a complex-systems, integrative, holistic and ecological worldview.
Dr. Cutanda´s research was awarded the ¨sobresaliente cum laude¨ distinction and it was included among the candidates to the special prize of doctorate at the University of Granada, which means that if it results winner of the prize, the doctoral thesis will be published by the university. This excellent piece of work is available in Spanish, with an English summary.
Click here to read the English summary of the thesis.