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Педагогическая и возрастная психология
The Concept of Sustainable Development: Mindset, Culture, Competence
Концепция устойчивого развития: мировоззрение, культура, компетентность
Author: Alexander V. Gagarin, Doctor of Pedagogical Sciences, Professor, The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration
Автор: Гагарин Александр Валерьевич, доктор педагогических наук, Академия при Президенте РФ (РАНХиГС)
This problem have been discussed by philosophers, psychologists, teachers and social scientists for over 30 years but today, with the "space” of sustainable development actively forming in Russia, it will inevitably include many fundamentally new aspects.
All that has been said raises at least four questions, as well as the necessity to understand and answer them in terms of the concept of sustainable development.
1."What should be the typical traits of an individual capable and ready to solve local and global problems of sustainable development?”
Undoubtedly, it is an individual whose personality was formed on the basis of an environmentally-oriented mindset which is important to be viewed as an acmeological phenomenon:
- as an ideal ("acme”) personal trait which determines one’s role as a subject in a developing environment (natural and social);
- as the central mindset component of environmental consciousness and individual behavior, as a stable system of judgements and beliefs concerning nature, its relations with the society and the planet as a habitat;
- as a multi-dimensional system and multi-component dynamically complex structure including fundamental environmentally-oriented achievements of a developing individual which, in turn, determine the personality functions of an environmentally-oriented mindset.
2."What personal quality should reflect the psychological, theoretical and practical readiness of an individual to take the environment responsibly, the capability to use one’s environmental knowledge, ideas and skills in practice, and which also characterizes the particularities of an environmentally-oriented mindset, behavior and activity in interacting with nature?”
Here coming to the forefront are the environmental culture of an individual and the opposing types of environmental consciousness backing it (anthropocentric and eco-centric). The anthropocentric consciousness is distinguished by prioritizing pragmatic interests of an individual in interacting with nature over its own development patterns, while the priority of the eco-centric consciousness lies with environmentally-oriented values and meanings. The current environmental consciousness includes both cases, with "accentuating one or the other often depending on a particular environmental risk situation which requires a certain decision” (V.I. Panov, 2010). This raises the need to focus on the environmentally-oriented managerial decision-taking culture at different management levels; which, in turn, creates two more questions:
- what should a manager’s consciousness and behavior be like to both conform to the strategic and tactical goals set forth in the concept of sustainable development and provide for effective decision implementation?
- what are the psychological and acmeological techniques used in taking such decisions and in psychological and acmeological training of managers?
3."What should the skills and, accordingly, the consciousness of an employee (from a worker to a politician) be like to make one’s actions and decisions in situations of environmental risk both work in terms of the concept of sustainable development and promote effective meeting of environmental requirements for a certain profession?”
In this case, manifestation of an employee’s environmental competence becomes most important being the fundamental (system-constitutive) formation of one’s personality and the central criteria indicating a fully-formed environmentally-oriented mindset and environmental culture. In substance, environmental competence is an individual manifestation of environmental competence which, in turn, is constituted by the essence of professional occupation and its environmental requirements; an immanent component of a high professional level disregarding professional orientation which includes the knowledge allowing an individual to analyze environmental issues within one’s profession, and also personal traits which enable an employee to exercise professional activities in the context of their environmental feasibility.
4.What should be the techniques of shaping the mentioned personality formations in order to assure that an individual (employee, manager) is ready from the point of view of the mindset, cultural views and skills to successfully implement the concept of sustainable development?
Environmental education in all its forms and at all levels has long been one of the traditional, and at the same time the most powerful means of forming an environmentally-oriented personality. It is therefore natural that following the adoption of the concept of sustainable development the concept of education for sustainable development was adopted, it being a general and necessary model for evolutionizing education in developed countries. The pedagogical implication of this concept lies in stronger environmental orientation of the education process at all levels which would facilitate shaping an environmentally-oriented individual at all personal and professional development stages. However, as V.I. Panov rightly noted at a conference on environment in 2010, "ecology, even in the broadest sense of the word, does not equal the concept of sustainable development”. Indeed, ecology and adjacent humanities (psychology, acmeology, education and social science) are sciences while the concept of sustainable development is a socioeconomic evolutionary model being a part of the general globalization process.
In this context it is necessary to define the role of the analyzed personality phenomena – an environmentally-oriented mindset, environmental culture and environmental competence.
Understanding the role of the concept of sustainable development in evolutionizing environmental education in this case can be achieved by answering the question: "Does the term "environmental education for sustainable development” itself formalize to a certain extent the essence of the contained process of shaping a nature-friendly individual (an environmentally-oriented personality); or does it even imply a clear opposition of man and nature?”
It is possible that a linking transitional element is missing in the system which is strategically important for the future of the human civilization: "environmental education (of a individual or the society) => ??? => sustainable development (of the humanity and nature)”.
Such an element may and should be represented by man himself, or rather his sustainable development as of an offspring of nature (importantly, not as a "part of the whole” but as a "part inside the whole”), an eco-social and acmeological (developing) being.
And in this case one should not refer to environmental education aimed at promoting sustainable development of a joint "man-nature” system but rather to education which is meant to form an environmentally-oriented mindset as the central motivational and meaning-constitutive component of environmental consciousness and behavior. Therefore it is destined to form the environmental culture of every individual and the society as a whole, environmental culture as a measure and way of exercising individual essential abilities in the eco-social reality. Applied to professional occupation, this translates into shaping actual implementation of the mentioned qualities in the form of environmental competence of an employee.
This means that the "sustainability” of development must evidently go in line with an individual taking himself or herself as a subject of the planet’s sustainable development. At that, along with other traits – ways of learning natural surroundings; environmentally reasonable (environmentally-oriented) behavior and personal (subjective) attitude to these surroundings; motives and needs; ultimately, the singularity of a person as a mindset subject, – an environmentally-oriented individual should be principally distinguished by such life values and beliefs that are based on the inherent significance of nature and the planet as a whole, as well as on confidence that, being a homo sapiens, one is responsible for their conservation and sustainable development.
Bibliography:1. Glazachev S.N. The ecological culture. Eco-humanitarian research and development paradigm. – Moscow, 1998.
2. A.V. Ivaschenko, V.I. Panov, A.V. Gagarin. Environmentally-oriented mindset: monography. Moscow, RUDN Publishing, 2008.
3. A.A. Derkatch, I.O. Soloviev. The acmeology of professional development: monography. Voronezh, 2006.
4. V.I. Panov. The concept of sustainable development: thinking, consciousness, education // Proceedings of the international conference ‘Ecology, technology, culture in the modern world: problems vs. solutions’. Moscow, October 26-27, 2010, M.A. Sholokhov MGGU. P.62-65.
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