Productive sustainability discourse through insisting on diverse perspectivesHitesh Soneji, Engineering and Technology, City College of San Francisco
Progress on the front of sustainability requires students and instructors alike to look deeper into our problems in an attempt to tease out their roots. Well entrenched disciplinary silos guide us to address views on sustainability through the lens of our expertise. It's no different with students. Encouraging peer to peer interaction via group work or online forums has been an effective way for differing perspectives (disciplinarity) to be brought to bear on the subject matter.
Supposing a work group consists of a geoscientists, an engineer, a business major, an economists, and political scientists. We can hope such a pairing will provide the fodder necessary for interdisciplinary discourse and perspectives to be involved in the group work and learning process.
Interdisciplinarity does extend beyond the diversity of the students in a class. The instructor also needs to present multiple perspectives on issues of concern. Often the differing perspectives provide conflicting results and these have to be explored head on. Brushing conflicting or difficult ideas under the rug only serves to disenfranchise students spirited and motivated to make change.