Sue L. T. McGregor article Transdisciplinary Pedagogy in Higher Education: Transdisciplinary Learning, Learning Cycles and Habits of Minds discusses key themes within transdisciplinary (TD) in higher education pedagogy. This chapter is clear, concise and has a number of frameworks which outline TD pedagogical methods, which will be helpful when looking at cirriculum within and outside of art pedagogy.
McGregor points out that “in most instances, higher education pedagogy tends to focus on transmitting disciplinary knowledge and learning.” She tells us that “-substantive knowledge comprises both (a) complex concepts that are essential to understanding a subject, and (b) second order concepts that underlie the practice of making sense of the substance of the discipline. “
McGregor posits that if students are lucky they will experience multidisciplinary learning (more than one discipline, with no integration), and interdisciplinary learning (between disciplines, with integration), but that transdisciplinarity pushes the boundaries of these approaches to include both higher education (mono, multi and inter-discipline) and larger society (government, industry, citizens and civil society). “ In many higher education institutions we can see this larger society aim in strategies, no less in LITs most recent strategy plan here.
As in much of the literature on TD it is pointed out that education HAS to be more than a training programme to benefit the global economy or attain employment, it must include the teaching of complex congnitive skills, problem solving and a wider awareness by the student of the world and their relationship to it. It also must involve a sense of community, belonging, and promote thinking that allows the student to ‘be’ in the world, with the ability to seek and produced new knowledge.
McGregor states that “-Students attending higher education institutions should also become motivated to challenge the status quo of the world. They should be socialised to see themselves as a new generation of global citizens who care about the world (i.e. people, other species and the environment).” McGregor is clear in the challenges higher education instiutions face moving forward into a complex post normal future. She tells us that “ Higher education now faces a profound challenge in contemporary times, characterised by an integrated, boundary-less, ever-evolving (some would say degenerating) world.’
Quoting Darren Davis from the online article Cirriculum is a Construct:
“As we enter the third millennium educational systems are increasingly challenging the ‘five windows’ model based on sound educational research. This research points to the fact that in our information age we need to increasingly work even more creatively with information. We need to draw upon a range of disciplines in order to face modern complexities. The artificial separation of subject areas within schools may be doing us a disservice rather than a service.”
Davis also references Nicolescus document The Transdicsipliary Evolution of Learning with Basarab Nicolescu outlining the origins of TD:
“Transdisciplinary education has its origins in the inexhaustible richness of the scientific spirit, which is based on questioning, as well as on the rejection of all a priori answers and certitude contradictory to the facts. At the same time, it revalues the role of deeply rooted intuition, of imagination, of sensitivity, and of the body in the transmission of knowledge. Only in this way can society of the twenty-first century reconcile effectiveness and affectivity.”
This 'deepness' is further discussed by McGregor and her outline of deep learning and deep education. Quoting Tochon in Deep education. Journal for Educators, Teachers and Trainers: “ Deep learning and understandings lead to deep knowledge. Deep education ‘promotes a philosophy of curriculum that explains and addresses the current stakes and that requires a deep transformation of humans and human society in the direction of greater harmony’ . Like transdisciplinarity, deep learning is never fully achieved, with the ‘depth in deep learning refering to “complexity and profundity of thought (penetrating deeply), to incredible intensity and to comprehensiveness of study. The mental acuity and tenacity inherent in deep education means that it is ‘never fully achieved.” This feds into the notion that Transdiisciplinarity is looped, circular and has no end point, that the habits of moind and thinking must be open and always flexible to new information and knowledges.
McGregor quotes Lompar that “transdisciplinary learning is the exploration of a relevant issue or problem that integrates perspectives of multiple disciplines [and sectors] in order to connect new knowledge and deeper understanding to real life experiences’ “ Kompar, F. (2009). Transdisciplinary learning approach .
Pohl is quoted within Mcgregors article, perhaps the most usefiul succinct outline of what exactly td learning is:
Transdisciplinary learning is characterised by four features: (a) it relates to socially relevant issues, (b) it transcends and integrates disciplinary paradigms, (c) it involves participatory research with those affected by and living with the complex social problems, and (d) it entails a deep search for a unity of knowledge (Pohl, 2011). Within this deep search “students learn that what they know can remain the same, but be viewed differently, as different people’s perspectives are brought to bear”.
The article then begins to really give us a feel of how this type of learning and knowledge production can work in th ereal world;
“Because the traditional boundaries between disciplines and between sectors are intentionally broken down, it is necessary to socialise learners to expect to create new, integrated intellectual frameworks, not just to draw disci- plinary concepts together. “ McGregors article goes on to outline the Transdisciplinary Learning cycle.