NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ953343
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0272
Sustainability and the Learning Virtues
Foster, John
Journal of Curriculum Studies, v43 n3 p383-402 2011
Learning is important to sustainability--but how? On the dominant sustainable development picture, various kinds of learning are seen as instrumental to one's behaving responsibly towards future generations, within a framework of present actions and ecological consequences. This whole picture of future-oriented responsibility is radically flawed, fundamentally misrepresenting our creative engagement in change. It grossly exaggerates our powers to predict and control and licenses an endemic bad faith in the construction of sustainability goals supposedly derived from obligations to the future. This process is not only the opposite of genuine learning, but is very likely to ensure practical failure. In contrast, a model of ecological responsibility that might work will have learning not as a subsidiary and instrumental feature, but right at its core. The only way in which one really comes up against the constraint of the future is by acknowledging the demands of active learning--critical self-awareness, exploratory-creative commitment, and a robust tolerance for uncertainty--as "virtues". The paper develops this account of the learning virtues in detail, and shows how embodying their practice across all our institutions and activities constitutes the only kind of responsibility to the future which we can genuinely exercise. (Contains 5 notes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom