Artistic Expression as a Means of Creating Holistic Thinkers in the Bachelor of Ecological Agriculture

By Kerry Cochrane.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The tradition in agricultural education is to design education to fulfil the needs to the reductionist end of the reductionist – holistic continuum. The norm world wide is for the curriculum to be 100% dedicated to reductionist type subjects such as plant science, soil science etc., such that graduates are highly skilled in this form of thinking. What is omitted, therefore, is a propensity to think holistically. The paper explores the consequences of this outcome and provides an account of the design of an assignment task in the degree in ecological agriculture at Charles Sturt University, Orange, Australia, which enables students to develop their holistic thinking capacity. The capacity to think holistically is seen as an essential element of sustainability and one that is missing from current approaches to agricultural education. In order to explain the context for the design of the artistic expression of holism an account is given of the curriculum design of the degree which fosters the development of social ecology in addition to applied ecology.

Keywords: Reductionism, Holism, Curriculum Design, Ecological Literacy

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.63-70. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 510.769KB).

Kerry Cochrane

Lecturer, Course Coordinator, Bachelor of Ecological Agriculture, Charles Sturt University, Orange, NSW, Australia

Kerry Cochrane played a leading role in the design of the Bachelor of Ecological Agriculture at Charles Sturt University. The course with its emphasis on social ecology (eco-philosophy & eco-psychology) represents an innovative approach to agricultural education in Australia. As the author of the subject Human Ecology he has introduced art as an element component of the curriculum as a device for teaching the concept of holism. He was also instrumental in creating the Spirituality Leadership and Management Network Ltd in Australia which for the past decade has played a leadering role in introducing the notion of spirituality to organisationas and communities.

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