Ekoteknik (Ecotechnics / Ecotehcnology) – 30 Years of Experience in Interdiciplinery Education
van den Brink, Paul
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AbstractAn important part of a society’s resilience is how prepared it is to cope with the changing conditions during the alpha and omega phases according to resilience theory. Lars Thofelt, an academic from the mid Sweden region, early recognized this need for students to develop skills needed for a societal change, and devoted his life to pedagogy suitable for this. The main outcome of his achievement was the interdisciplinary university program in Ecotechnics/Ecotechnology (Ekoteknik in Swedish), at Mid Sweden University. Ecology, economy and technology in cooperation for sustainable development were the original approach, and still are.Thofelt’s ideas had a main focus of helping students develop their inherent capabilities of solving problems and overcome obstacles. After Thofelt’s 12 years at the program his ideas were carried on by former colleagues and students, and the teaching further developed with a mix of the Thofelt tradition and other experiences brought in by new employees. This paper describes this interdisciplinary teaching approach with special focus on development of resilience capacity in students.It was concluded that 1) a key element to develop resilience skills in students is to push them to a self-propelled learning behavior rather than traditional teaching, 2) not too easily provide the students with answers will develop their problem solving skills, 3) doing-before-reading teaching is more time consuming but seem to give deeper knowledge, 4) interdisciplinary teaching will in the long run benefit from having the interdisciplinary team within the department, rather than as a conglomerate of several departments.