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Whole systems thinking: education for sustainability at a Montessori school

Lewis, E. and Baudains, C.ORCID: 0000-0001-8340-864X (2007) Whole systems thinking: education for sustainability at a Montessori school. EINGANA, 301 (1). pp. 9-11.

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Whole systems thinking is a framework for seeing the whole picture, for establishing interrelationships and understanding phenomena as an integrated whole (Capra, 1996; Clayton, Clayton et al., 1996; Sterling, 2003b; Tilbury, Coleman et al., 2005). Systems thinking may be contrasted with fragmentary thinking, which is viewing phenomena in their separate parts and focusing only on narrow specializations. In an education for sustainability (EfS) context this means emphasizing relationships, relationships between all the systems on our planet, and at different systems levels, as they relate to the environment, economics, government, health, and so on. Values and goals are also important aspects of these relationships. Sterling (2003a, p. 2) argues that" ... we are educated by and large to 'compete and consume' rather than to 'care and conserve.... Furthermore, the same author maintains that because of the imposition of managerial and economic values on education we have lost touch with the social values and real life contexts of authentic education (Sterling, 2003a, p. 2). With these ideas in mind this paper briefly examines the application of whole systems thinking on an EfS program at a small Montessori primary school in the metropolitan area of Perth, Western Australia.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Victorian Association for Environmental Education
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