Education as a driver of social change with Douglas Bourn

Education as a driver of social change with Douglas Bourn

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Listen to this episode: Duration: 47 min.

Quick Overview

Dr. Bourn shares some key ideas he addressed in his latest book and discusses education’s role in society and social change, particularly the purpose of higher education. Given that it can be difficult to differentiate between themes like education for sustainable development, global citizenship, and peace education, Bourn advocates for understanding the context and how the people using these terms define them. Dr. Bourn believes that higher education educators and administrators need to take the lead to create a pedagogy of hope to address the anger and anxiety students feel about environmental issues. Rather than viewing key topics like sustainability and decolonization simply as items to check off on a to-do list, Dr. Bourn believes higher education administrators should focus on creating spaces for dialogue about them. While there are no quick fixes or ready-made toolkits to remedy these issues, the Earth Charter can be used as an ethical framework to provide guidance.

Questions and Topics Addressed in this Episode

  1. Can you share some of the key ideas in your latest book, Education for Social Change? What motivated you to write it?
  2. What is the difference between Development Education and Global Education?

  3. What are the connections, synergies, differences and complementarities between Development Education, Education for Sustainable Development, and Global Citizenship? Can these approaches be aligned, particularly at the university level?

  4. What role do you think the Earth Charter can play in these approaches to education? Have you used the EC in your work, and if so, can you share some examples?

  5. What do you think are the most important skills for the 21st century that universities and schools should be teaching?

  6. Considering the current challenges we have, how should academics and administrators in higher education re-think their education approach/pedagogy?

  7. What would be your advice to university leadership in terms of reorienting their work to embrace this education for change such as Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education? How can higher education be an instrument of social change and foster transformative learning?

Douglas Bourn

Education as a driver of social change

Who is Douglas Bourn?

Dr. Douglas Bourn is a professor of Development Education and founder and director of the Development Education Research Centre at the University College London in the UK. His work focuses on global skills, global citizenship, and education for sustainable development. He has authored several books including The Theory and Practice of Development Education (2015), Understanding Global Skills for 21st Century Professions (2018) and his latest book, Education for Social Change (2022). His is also the founder and chair of ANGEL, the Academic Network on Global Education and Learning.

This podcast is developed by Earth Charter International as part of our work as UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter.