When Education, Democracy, and Ecology Meet

By Sandi Ferdiansyah, Indonesia


There were four different interesting sessions that SUSI scholars and I learned today. The first session was about Curriculum Development Workshop delivered by Dr. Andrea Lawrence. She discussed the historical thinking approach for teaching history. This approach engaged us actively to learn a particular material of history. Through visual images as primary sources and collaborative learning, we were encouraged to activate navigating and viewing skill to find secondary sources of the case. In addition, she asked us to examine the case in pair which fosters effective group discussion.


After lunch break Mr. Daniel Kemmis talked about Community and the Politics of Place. He had ample experience as politician and public service which made him competent to explore the idea of a meaningful democracy. He argued that the implementation of democracy of a country depends on two critical things, namely education and awareness. Education plays an important role to create good citizenship which makes people become problem solver rather than trouble maker. Furthermore, people will be able to develop their awareness of democracy if they are willing to pay attention and become good listeners.


The third session of the day was about Wilderness and American Land Ethic. In this session, Dr. Alan Watson explored the nature of wilderness conceptualized by Aldo Leopold’s theory. The concept of wilderness has put a great emphasis on land conservation and preservation. Wilderness in the United States was established through a long process from 1929 to 1964 which came up with the wilderness act. Compared to the idea of national park, wilderness upholds more ethical values than economic values. Meanwhile, the American Land Ethic proposes the idea on how to love and respect land resources that play important role in sustaining the life of the whole living creatures in earth.

At the end of the day, Ms. Lisa Macki presented the Ecology Project International and Place Based Education. She explained that Ecology Project International was a non-profit organization which is aimed to build student’s knowledge, competency, and attitude toward ecology. She also showcased the implementation of placed based education which incorporates the perspective of constructivism. From this perspective, the participants were invited to build background knowledge of the field, experience the study, and conduct learning reflection.


From today’s session, I learned three important lessons. First, I believe that historical thinking as a learning approach is effective to foster students’ critical thinking and learning autonomy. Secondly, I learn that education and good citizenship become two fundamental components in creating meaningful democracy. And Finally, I am convinced that wilderness, land ethic, and education on ecology are beneficial for future generations to sustain the environment.


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