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Title: The benefits and downsides of multidisciplinary education relating to climate change
Other Titles: Climate change and the role of education
Authors: Briguglio, Lino
Moncada, Stefano
Keywords: Education -- Malta
Climatic changes -- Malta
University of Malta. Islands and Small States Institute
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: SpringerLink
Citation: Briguglio, L., & Moncada, S. (2019). The benefits and downsides of multidisciplinary education relating to climate change. In W. Leal Filho & S. L. Hemstock (Eds.), Climate change and the role of education (pp. 169-187). SpringerLink.
Abstract: In this paper we present a literature review about the need for education to promote an understanding of climate change and its impacts, and the merits of teaching climate change in amultidisciplinary approach. We also refer to the external and internal multiplier effect of multidisciplinary education. We report on the results of a survey carried out by the Climate Change Platform (The Islands and Small States Institute of the University of Malta hosts the Climate Change Platform (CCP), with the objective of facilitating collaboration between University entities and individual academics in order to foster teaching and research initiatives relating to climate change, as well as strengthening cooperation with climate research centres outside Malta. During its three years of existence, the CCP, fully cognizant that the analysis of climate change involves various disciplines, has taken measures to encourage multidisciplinary teaching and research at the University of Malta, with a focus on small island states, which according the IPCC fifth assessment report (WGII, Chap. 29) are highly vulnerable to the harmful impacts of climate change. The paper will describe the approach adopted by the CCP in its endeavour to involve various Faculties, Institutes and Centres at the University of Malta to collaborate in teaching and research on climate change issues.) of the University of Malta, among lectures who teach subjects directly associated with climate change. It transpires from the literature and from the University of Malta survey that multidisciplinary climate change education is very important, given the complexity and the interlinkages of this field of study, but it also has a number of downsides, mostly related to the coordination work that will be needed when various disciplines are involved and the fear that the students could find it difficult to cope with many satellite subjects. The main message that emerges from the literature, as well as from the results of our survey, is that although a multidisciplinary approach to the teaching of climate change education is highly desirable, its success depends on the extent to which it is well organised and suitably coordinated.
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