SCC Webinar

ESD and Indigenous Knowledge: Towards inclusive, cultural-historical deliberation for collective transitioning to future sustainability

Monday, May 14
1:00 pm (Eastern US)
10:00 am (Pacific)
7:00 am (Hawaii)
7:00 pm (South Africa)

Rob-O'Donoghue

Rob O’Donoghue
Professor Emeritus, Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC),

Faculty of Education, Rhodes University, South Africa

***This webinar continues the SCC series on “International Perspectives” with host Kim Smith of

Portland Community College and the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network (GPSEN).

International leaders in sustainability in higher education present to the SCC audience each month.

Through nature conservation, environmental education, and participatory curriculum development, Rob O’Donoghue has unpacked the power of active learning in South Africa and beyond. Expanding his work with indigenous knowledge and post-colonial curriculum, Rob invites participants in this webinar to explore sustainability education through an ethics-led and evaluative critical process, within community contexts. Utilizing reviews of critical theory in education and co-engaged environmental learning, learn how you can increase your “Handprints for Change work in ESD” and “look after others to best care for ourselves and our surroundings.”

Professor Emeritus Rob O’Donoghue, B.Ed., M.Ed., PhD, was born in Ireland, moved to Africa at a young age, and completed schooling in Harare, Zimbabwe. He and his wife qualified as teachers through Bulawayo Teachers College and the University of Zimbabwe, teaching in primary schools in Gweru and at St Charles College, in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. This was followed by a post as the environmental education coordinator at KZN Wildlife, a job that he enjoyed for 19 years. His years in nature conservation allowed him to complete a Masters in Education on “participatory curriculum development in the sciences” in 1990 through the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and a PhD at Rhodes University on “the emergence of environmental education in eastern southern Africa,” in 1997.

He became involved with Rhodes University through the Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa. His early work on active learning expanded into citizen science, open access publishing initiatives, and the development of materials for environmental education fieldwork. Further programs include Green Schools with Kevin Burge, the School Environmental Policy Pack with Kim Ward, the Eco-Schools project, with Dr. Jim Taylor of WESSA, and the Environmental Learning Research Centre in Rhodes University’s education department, with Professor Heila Lotz Sisitka, where he served as Director for close to 15 years. Additional work on Outcomes-Based Education and the current Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) have provided key orientating perspectives for environmental and sustainability education in southern Africa today and are informing teacher professional development through the Fundisa for Change initiative.

His close attention to environmental education and education for sustainable development (ESD) led to a 2014 workshop at the UNESCO World Congress on ESD in Nagoya, Japan, to conclude the UN Decade on ESD and map out the current Global Action Programme (GAP) for ESD, plus extensive field guides and resource packs available through WESSA and Share-Net, and an evaluation tool-kit with Makana RCE and United Nations University Institute for Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS). His current work on indigenous knowledge in education has been expanded by past students and developing international exchanges from Australia and Japan to India and Mexico. Much of this work has now extended into a review of critical theory in education and co-engaged environmental learning in post-colonial curriculum and community contexts. The emerging Handprints for Change work in ESD is centered on “Learning to look after others to best care for ourselves and our surroundings.”

Video Available at: <https://youtu.be/GLM-gxAxX84>

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