Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Coastal Management Education Assessment Tool

  1. Address your coastal management education needs and challenges if you are designing a new program.
  2. Improve the effectiveness of your existing coastal management education program.

The tool uses an Education for Sustainability framework and provides links to a number of web-based resources including:

The tool was developed through a collaborative effort between the Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability (ARIES) and the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA).

The idea for this tool came about from the publication in 2006 of the National Cooperative Approach to Integrated Coastal Management Framework and Implementation Plan (the Framework) which identified the need for capacity building in coastal management as one of its five key coastal issues for national collaboration.

As part of the development of this tool a research program was carried out by ARIES that identified:

  1. Significant needs and gaps in coastal management education across Australia
  2. Opportunities for increasing the effectiveness of existing education programs.

You can read further information on these findings in the research report.

Many thanks go to our Key Informant Group, consisting of coastal educators and practitioners from across Australia, who helped develop this tool and to the Steering Committee who provided valuable guidance and support.

This tool has been developed for:

  1. Coastal educators and practitioners involved in designing and delivering coastal management education programs including local government staff, non-government organisations, industry associations, the formal education sector, natural resource managers in short, anyone involved in coastal management education.
  2. State and federal agencies which provide support and funding to education programs, in order to identify current provision in coastal management education, the needs, gaps and priorities and to inform the national Framework.

This tool can be used to assess and/or develop the framework for a full range of coastal management education programs including:

  • coastal management lecture series
  • media campaigns
  • water quality monitoring programs
  • school-based programs
  • professional training programs.

The tool takes you through a series of steps:

1. It helps you identify the type of education program you are seeking to improve or develop

2. It asks you a series of questions to help you decide how effective your program is, based on an Education for Sustainability framework. If you are designing a new program it helps you identify the key approaches that you need to use in the development of your program.

3. Based on your responses to the questions, the assessment will indicate how aligned your program is with an Education for Sustainability framework, and:

  • help you identify opportunities to improve your program's effectiveness
  • assist you in developing an action plan to improve/develop your program.

This tool uses an Education for Sustainability approach which offers exciting and effective new opportunities for coastal management educators and practitioners to:

  • actively engage participants in the learning process
  • encourage motivation and deeper thinking about coastal management challenges
  • motivate people to get involved in actions and solutions to improve the coast.

At a strategic level, an Education for Sustainability framework can:

  • assist people with the decision-making processes surrounding coastal management
  • give people confidence and motivation to discover new ways of working together and developing solutions and actions to jointly manage our coasts more effectively
  • motivate, equip and involve individuals and groups in reflecting on how they currently live and work and how their lifestyles affect our coasts.

It is now generally agreed that sustainable management of our coasts will require a process of ongoing learning or adaptive management. This process requires skills such as systems (or holistic) thinking and critical reflection as well as active participation by all stakeholders. Education for Sustainability works with people to develop their skills in these areas as well as involving them in a learner centred approach to coastal management issues.

For more information see the ARIES Education for Sustainability Portal.