Chapter 22: Fostering empathy towards effective sustainability teaching: from the Food Sustainability Index educational toolkit to a new pedagogical model
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Teaching sustainability in higher education is far from being an easy task. The idea of sustainability itself risks remaining an abstract and out-of-reach concept unless it is taught to develop practical solutions. Lecturers approaching sustainability in higher education, often do not have the overall knowledge and resources to effectively present the topic to their students. This chapter presents the principles needed to develop a new pedagogy for sustainability accounting for the role of empathy. The teaching approach is developed starting from the use of the Food Sustainability Index (FSI) as an educational tool – named FSI Edu – for teaching food sustainability in higher education settings. FSI assesses food sustainability adopting a systematic approach and showing the complexity of food sustainability issues. After a theoretical introduction, the chapter describes two experiments based on the FSI Edu at the Bachelor and Master Degree level. These experiments built the starting point for an educational model – named EOE – to foster the empathic process: its three steps are key for sustainability teaching in higher education.

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