Teaching is one of the most crucial levers we have as academics to disseminate our research as well as engage with and enlighten emerging researchers, scholars and citizens. In the context of addressing key social and environmental challenges, the importance of developing innovative teaching approaches that enable and facilitate students to apply their learning to real world issues has never been greater.
Given the importance of pedagogy to my academic career, I am very excited to be participating as NUI Galway’s co-coordinator and pedagogic expert on the ERASMUS PLUS Decoding the Disciplines project. Running from 2016 to 2019 the aim of this project is to progress pedagogical innovations, international and transdisciplinary learning at higher education. The cross-European project seeks to foster interdisciplinary learning and collaboration in developing and sharing pedagogic experiences and innovations in teaching complex social problems at university level. Interdisciplinary learning is occurring between participating partners in Vilnius University (Lithuania)(PI), NUI Galway, College VIVES (Belgium), Roma Tre University (Italy), and Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania). My role on the project focuses on coordinating and leading in the application of the Decoding the Disciplines Methodology to develop a set of innovative teaching tools that will help academics to foster student-centred, field-based and problem-centred pedagogical approaches to teaching critical environmental social science. The Decoding methodology involves applying a number of decoding steps to identify and address bottlenecks or troublesome areas in students’ learning. It involves devising student-centred pedagogical strategies to enable students to overcome conceptual and practical blocks to enhance and deepen students’ pedagogical experience and grasping of material. More information on the Decoding pedagogical methodology can be found here.
In early December this year, the transnational team met at Roma Tre University for an interdisciplinary learning and sharing workshop. During this meeting, participating partners presented on their application of the Decoding methodology to their area of pedagogic expertise. A wide variety of applications were evident across disciplines ranging from Human Geography to Art and Drama and Physics.
Decoding the Disciplines Transnational Erasmus+ team meeting at Rome Tre University, December 2018
Over the coming year, the transnational team will continue to work together to continue to share their pedagogical learning and innovations. This will culminate in a report that will collate case studies and experiences of implementing Decoding in diverse disciplines. This will be published publicly to facilitate learning and sharing across disciplines. A final conference will be held in Belgium in June and some key peer reviewed publications will be produced in collaboration.