Transformation through transition: Transition Tours as fieldwork partners delivering Sustainable Education in GEES

Transformation through transition: Transition Tours as fieldwork partners delivering Sustainable Education in GEES

“Graduates are entering a volatile world and higher education needs to respond to challenging, rapidly changing socio-economic and environmental conditions.” (HEFCE, 2009: 7)

“I think one of the reasons [the Transition Tour] has impacted me is because I found that it was a very positive, successful example of shifting mindsets and lifestyles – which was inspirational as many times in Environmental Science there can be more hardship and difficulties than successes.”  (ES 334 student)  
Transformation through transition: Transition Tours as fieldwork partners delivering Sustainable Education in GEES

“Sustainability is a key issue in Higher Education (HE). HE’s approach to the overlapping challenges of sustainability will determine its future success. Sustainability research and policy at all levels recognise the need for deep changes to HE and student learning, yet these changes are largely missing from campus and classroom practice. This paper reports on collaborative, in-depth research with Transition Tours, a social enterprise emerging from the Transition Town Movement and considers its potential to foster transformational learning for sustainable education within Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES) fieldwork.”
So reads the Abstract of this research article looking into the effectiveness of our style of education in Sustainability education for HE, by Dr Larch Maxey of Plymouth University and Hal Gillmore, founder of Transition Tours.
Its introduction continues …
“This paper reports on qualitative research into the contribution a social enterprise can make towards transitional learning for Sustainable Education within GEES fieldwork. It begins by setting the context of HE’s engagement with Sustainable Education and transitional learning before introducing Transition Tours as the case study and discussing the initial research findings.”
Students were interviewed as part of the research. Here are some of the things they said…

“The Transition Tour has really stayed with me as one of the most significant experiences during my four months abroad. It was by far the most interesting study tour that I participated in and I have integrated my experience in Totnes into my educational studies back home.” (ES 334 student)  

“I find experiential learning to be the best way to truly understand a new concept or idea – so actually witnessing some of the projects and hearing from people who were involved first hand was a major benefit.” (ES 334 student) 

“I think one of the reasons it has impacted me is because I found that it was a very positive, successful example of shifting mindsets and lifestyles – which was inspirational as many times in Environmental Science there can be more hardship and difficulties than successes.”  (ES 334 student)  

“We often talk about ways to inspire a paradigm shift or societal shift in the way we live and to me, Transition Towns have been the most successful attempt at initiating this change.”  (ES 334 student)  

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