Australian Association for Environmental Education
AAEE Celebrating Democracy in Victoria
Date Of Forum:29 October 2002
Venue: Melbourne Museum
Guest Speaker: Dr Daniella Tilbury
Visions and values in a democratic society: teaching for responsible citizenship
Note: Boxed sections in blue added by AFSSSE Project Officer.
Summary of Address
Presenter: Dr Daniella Tilbury,Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Development, Graduate School of the Environment, Macquarie University, and IUCN Chair, Commission on Education and Communication
The forum was chaired by Greg Hunt, who introduced Jo Lang, President of AAEE who spoke about the outcomes for the forum and welcomed the guest speaker Dr Daniela Tilbury. Dr Tilbury had attended the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) as an Official Delegate of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). H. Her theme was the interaction of responsible citizenship and the achievement of sustainable development (SD).
The forum commenced with an activity regarding the nature of SD that underscored the following propositions:
The activity served other purposes:
The WSSD, held in Johannesburg in August 2002, was the biggest gathering of significant people in the world. That they gathered showed that these world leaders believe that SD is important. A number of principles were at the basis of the WSSD:
This suggests strongly that there is a pressing need for citizenship education to link more explicitly with SD. Discussion then turned to the nature of the education programs needed. There was positive comment regarding some geography texts from the late 1980s, New Wave Geography, which advocated that students take a critical view to community structures and processes. The Curriculum Frameworks that were in use at that time were also less prescriptive of outcomes compared to current approaches, and so they allowed a more critical view to be developed within classrooms. It would appear currently that much environmental education centres on the aesthetic (litter prevention) or is peripheral (turn off the tap or light switch) rather than taking on a critical pedagogy that examines community and business structures and processes within the contexts of SD. To demonstrate this approach, Dr Tilbury presented a cartoon with a fast food container littering a forest glade, the question to be asked is not who threw it, why, and what can be done about it, but rather what kind of society allows fast food containers that are made to be discarded. What are its basic structures and assumptions? What are, and who is involved in, its decision making processes?
The DD project would appear to be more about the democracy we have and how it operates, rather than providing opportunities for developing a futures perspective for how we can use democracy and its processes to re/envision and create sustainable futures. This approach would allow for the integration of education for SD. The citizenship component of the DD project, however, does provide opportunity to pose culturally-critical questions. It is up to us to take those opportunities.
An outcome from the WSSD is a proposition to go to the UN that 2005 - 2015 be declared the Decade for Education for Sustainable Development. There is strong support for this, and Dr Tilbury expressed her confidence that this will eventuate.
Summary of key points from the forum’s discussion
Focus Question 1: How does Dr Tilbury’s address link with our current teaching for responsible citizenship?
Dr Tilbury’s address:
Focus Question 2: What values of responsible citizenship might we apply from the address?
Responsible citizens display the following:
Focus Question 3: What are the future possibilities for exploring responsible citizenship?
Future programs and projects should allow participants to:
Recommendations for AFSSSE to forward to DEST:
For building teacher capacity for integrating SD with responsible citizenship, teachers need support to develop their conceptions of SD and the learning and teaching of this global perspective, particularly in the area of citizenship. This could include:
Recommendations from AAEE for the AFSSSE Board in considering future work in DD:
DD should be considered to be not merely a national curriculum project in Australia but a national curriculum project for Australia in a global context. The move globally towards SD is of such importance that future national curriculum projects, including involvement in DD, should occur within this global context.
Commonwealth of Australia 
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