Research Output
A transdisciplinary model for teaching and learning for sustainability science in a rapidly warming world
  Transdisciplinary sustainability science integrates multiple perspectives, promotes internal reflexivity and situated learning, and engages with multiple stakeholders to solve real-world sustainability challenges. Therefore, transdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning for sustainability science have traditionally focused on promoting core skills such as systems thinking and science communication. However, as the socio-ecological crises grow in intensity and complexity, so too must our conceptualisation of the core tenants of transdisciplinary sustainability science. To this end, we propose a model for teaching and learning that considers the contemporary pressures of sustainability science praxis. We highlight how social science perspectives can be used to situate considerations of power, justice, and historical responsibility at the centre of sustainability discussions while helping students understand the drivers of transformative change at the individual and societal levels. We outline the benefits of using arts-based approaches in the classroom to facilitate participation and opportunities for creative expression and peer and co-learning. We also discuss the importance of and provide strategies for supporting students in dealing with anxiety and ecological grief. We provide suggestions for assessment strategies that can be used to develop a range of competencies in students, including systems thinking, empowerment and collaboration. In a novel way, we model transdisciplinarity by drawing on insights from the disciplines in which we have expertise, including education, psychology, health, sociology, communications, social work, and science. We also provide an actionable, adaptable model for teaching and learning sustainability science in a rapidly warming world.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    16 October 2023

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  • Publisher

    Springer Science and Business Media LLC

  • DOI:


  • ISSN:


  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded; New Funder


Kelly, O., White, P., Butera, F., Illingworth, S., Martens, P., Huynen, M., …Cowman, S. (2023). A transdisciplinary model for teaching and learning for sustainability science in a rapidly warming world. Sustainability Science, 18(6), 2707-2722.



Transdisciplinarity, Higher education, Teaching and learning, Sustainability science, Science education

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