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INTERPLAY OF TRADITION AND INNOVATION IN EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT : invitation to joint action research

All BBCC members and Institute’s partners are cordially invitited to take part in action research. Research findings will be shared by the research participants in Poland at the 12th edition of the annual international scientific conference of the Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability (JTEFS) and Baltic and Black Sea Circle Consortium in Educational Research (BBCC), that will take place at State School of Higher Education in Chełm (Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Zawodowa w Chełmie) from May 26 – 28, 2014.

See the quidelines of the action research  below:

Action research guidelines for Baltic and Black Sea Circle Consortium in Educational Research – BBCC

BBCC was founded in 2005 and since then has become a dynamic, voluntary establishment that involves higher education institutions from the Baltic and Black Sea region and/or individuals who are interested in reorienting teacher education to address sustainability.

Establishment and development of BBCC is an example of the teachers and educational researchers’ strength, tenacity and wisdom which testifies that education for sustainable development is a key to modern quality education. BBCC members have discovered this pathway to education for sustainable development both in their individual professional activity and in the open sustainability-oriented BBCC network environment that they joined voluntarily, responding to the call of their personal values and those supported by BBCC.

BBCC as a dynamic and voluntarily founded network has developed as a result of its member organisations and individuals’ cooperation and collaborative action (www.ise-lv.eu). Since its establishment, the BBCC network has been developing as an open participatory action research in which BBCC members, professional teachers and educational researchers seek and discover personally relevant answers to the issues of sustainable education, sustainability and quality of education from the perspective of contemporary educational paradigm. Most of these insights are then implemented in practical activities of daily life and, according to the research outcomes, significantly contribute to betterment of the quality of education.

The history of the network and its growth are reflected in the volumes of the Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability and 11 international BBCC conferences Sustainable Development. Culture. Education that were organised in different participant countries of BBCC (www.ise-lv.eu). Over the years, the annual conference actualised the need for a deeper involvement in the research in order to determine how the tenets of education for sustainable development comply with the educators’ views on and attitude to various cultural and educational phenomena – tradition and innovation and their interplay in education. Thus, the issue of the educational environment where we recognise and maintain traditions and seek, create, introduce, adapt and approbate innovation was proposed. How tradition and innovation, as well as their interplay, affect the quality of education and education for sustainable development? What perspectives and approaches are used in explaining these issues and their practical implementation in different countries and various teacher education institutions, how they determine the understanding of educational aims and selection of approaches to reaching them? How understanding of these issues and their implementation in educational practice affect the sustainability of social and cultural environment? Emergence of these questions precipitated the project application for establishment of the UNESCO Chair, which was supported by the BBCC founding members that are part of the network since 2005. UNESCO Chair on Teacher Education and Continuing Education: Interplay of Tradition and Innovation in Education for Sustainable Development at Daugavpils University was instituted with an aim of continuing to develop an open frame of reference to enable and sustain the participation of students, faculty and researchers from the Baltic and Black Sea Circle Consortium (BBCC) in action research in education, foster networking and the sharing of knowledge and good practices, notably through publications in international journals and the organisation of international conferences as well as student and faculty exchange.

The Chair is co-responsible for the future destiny and flourishing of BBCC. At the 11th JTEFS/BBCC conference in Saint-Petersburg (2013), BBCC members were invited to participate in two further activities:

(1) 12th annual international JTEFS/BBCC conference “Sustainable Development. Culture. Education”, 26–28 May 2014, Chełm, Poland (www.ise.lv-eu) and/or

(2) action research (implemented by BBCC member states) Interplay of Tradition and Innovation in Education for Sustainable Development with an aim of advancing reorientation of teacher education and continuing education to address sustainable development. The research can be implemented both within a narrower scope and a broader social and cultural context.

The research team welcomes individual researchers, groups of researchers and educators or educational institutions, as well as other global networks

The first stage of action research is envisaged for end of September 2013 to April 2014. The course and results of research will be analysed and discussed at a session during the JTEFS/BBCC conference in Chełm in May 2014, to be later prepared for publication in the upcoming third volume of the international peer-reviewed scientific collection of articles Education & Sustainable Development: First Steps Toward Changes (www.ise-lv.eu). This volume will be presented by BBCC at the closure of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (autumn 2014) and it will testify to the commitment to continue researching the issues of education and reorienting of teacher education to address sustainable development.

BBCC members and those who wish to get involved in action research are kindly invited to reflect on the possible ways of their involvement and commit to involve (1) a work group, (2) their institution or (3) themselves individually in the action research proposed by BBCC.

In action research, the basic task of each participating individual or group is to identify acute problems and issues in their lived experience as well as look for some already existing or potential solutions or directions that would permit to evaluate the variety of existing perspectives, approaches, dominant contexts and values which are used in evaluation and interpretation of the interplay of tradition and innovation in the context of sustainable education both in the current theoretical perspective and in the hands-on experience of solving practical problems.

Thus, each action research participant has a chance to use the type and design of action research that is most suitable and relevant to their experience, environment and researcher’s/educator’s identity when seeking answers to the following questions: 

What is sustainable education?

This question allows for a variety of opinions, approaches and perspectives in what concerns the form, content and discourses used in the reply. All is relevant and important – the researcher’s or research group’s personal opinion, the institutional perspective and the national normatively accepted theoretical outlook, as well as the viewpoints of the practitioners in the field and other personally meaningful contexts and experiences.

What is tradition and how is it currently manifested in education?

A wide scope of interpretation is welcome, starting from your community, region and continent, and up to the global outlook. Certainly, in an international project and in the context of sustainability, the local and unique perspective and understanding are of a particular value. To avoid indoctrination and prejudice, the research participants are not offered any definition of the basic concepts such as tradition, the traditional and education. These have to be elaborated and substantiated by the research participants themselves, on the grounds of their lived experience, frames of reference and identification and evaluation of educational approaches and theories.

What is innovation and how is it currently manifested in education?

The scope of possible answers is very wide, starting from your community, region and continent, and up to the global outlook. The research participants are not offered any definition of the concept “innovation” to start with. This has to be elaborated by the research participants themselves, on the grounds of their experience, contexts, frames of reference, etc.

How do you evaluate and interpret the interplay of tradition and innovation in the current educational environment and in the context of sustainable education on the grounds of your own experience as well as the current perspectives and possible solutions?

This is the broadest question, replies to which allow for the use of multiple paradigms, strategies, designs and approaches. The rules of action research permit broad national studies as well as narrow inquiries in the best practices, as well as first-person research models grounded in the researcher’s/practitioner’s individual experience.

For further information, please, contact BBCC prezident, profesor Ilga Salite: ilga.salite@du.lv and see ISE web page