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A key capacity for engagement in the emerging field of ecohealth is the ability to work collaboratively. Between 2008 and 2010, the Canadian Community of Practice in Ecosystem Approaches to Health collectively designed and delivered three foundational, intensive, field courses. This paper presents findings derived from both quantitative and qualitative student course evaluation survey data. New insights arise around: the diverse opportunities for learning collaboratively in order to tackle complex socio-ecological issues, the social dynamics of collaborative relationships and learning, and the learning challenges that arise during intensive field courses. The lessons learned from these foundational years have enhanced understanding of the interrelated contributions to collaborative learning and relationship building and their relevance to addressing issues spanning ecosystems, health and society.

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... First, we recognize that integrative approaches to health that address both social and ecological determinants of health are not new. There are a range of ongoing efforts to connect equity, ecosystems, and public health that can be and have been applied in practical, clinical, and policy contexts (see, for example, Buse et al. 2018;O'Connell 2017;Parkes et al. 2017;Poland and Dooris 2010;Walpole et al. 2019;Webb et al. 2010;Yassi et al. 2017). ...
... While these efforts remain essential, they do not respond to the imperative for transformational change, in the ways that an eco-social approach can: drawing from a more relational world-view, complexity science, and an understanding that human and non-human well-being are inextricably interwoven (Greenwood et al. 2015;Horwitz and Parkes 2019;Poland and Dooris 2010;Ratima et al. 2019;Webb et al. 2010). Resilience in the face of mounting uncertainty and accelerating change involves more than the capacity to bounce back, instead valuing the capacity to embrace change and bounce forward into new ways of seeing and doing (what some call transformative resilience, or transilience), drawing on change processes that are deeply collaborative and emergent, rather than command and control (see O'Connell 2017; Parkes et al. 2017;Poland et al. 2011Poland et al. , 2019. ...
... Fifth, we recognize that educational reform, while necessary for proactive change, is not sufficient in and of itself. The systemic drivers of ecosystem degradation and social inequity are deeply entrenched and not easily amenable to change through the application of 'enlightened' information alone: the deficit model of educational reform and change-making has underperformed relative to current demands (Parkes et al. 2017;Walpole et al. 2019;Yassi et al. 2017). While EDGE and this commentary have focused on the education implications of embracing eco-social approaches to the EDoH, these need to be seen as synergistic with the urgent need for a fulsome whole-of-society retooling of the systems and power structures that continue to perpetuate both ecological and social degradation (Poland et al. 2011;Ratima et al. 2019;Whitmee et al. 2015). ...
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As a collective organized to address the education implications of calls for public health engagement on the ecological determinants of health, we, the Ecological Determinants Group on Education (cpha.ca/EDGE), urge the health community to properly understand and address the importance of the ecological determinants of the public’s health, consistent with long-standing calls from many quarters—including Indigenous communities—and as part of an eco-social approach to public health education, research and practice. Educational approaches will determine how well we will be equipped to understand and respond to the rapid changes occurring for the living systems on which all life—including human life—depends. We revisit findings from the Canadian Public Health Association’s discussion paper on ‘Global Change and Public Health: Addressing the Ecological Determinants of Health’, and argue that an intentionally eco-social approach to education is needed to better support the health sector’s role in protecting and promoting health, preventing disease and injury, and reducing health inequities. We call for a proactive approach, ensuring that the ecological determinants of health become integral to public health education, practice, policy, and research, as a key part of wider societal shifts required to foster a healthy, just, and ecologically sustainable future.
... First, the ECHO team benefits from extensive team experience in participatory, multi-sector, and community-based approaches to knowledge generation and exchange [72,82,84,95,97,[104][105][106][107][108], along with a clear recognition of the cautions and limitations associated with naïve approaches to such work [109,110]. The orientation to regional cases with specific research partners in each region is also consistent with transdisciplinary approaches to engaging with community concerns and practice-based knowledge [62,85,111]. ...
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First of all, we want to thank all persons that have been involved in our TCSs (practitioners, students, tutors, experts, scientists, etc.). Without their active cooperation and commitment we would have not been able to develop and establish the approach presented in this paper. Second the authors want to thank the two anonymous reviewers of this paper for their encouraging and supportive comments. Finally we want to thank the editor of the International Journal for Sustainability in Higher Education to give us the opportunity to present our approach in this special issue to the readership of this journal.
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The Review of Higher Education 23.3 (2000) 347-363 A central issue in preparing professionals is creating a link between education and practice. A number of instructional strategies have been recommended for facilitating this link including cognitive apprenticeships (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989), the reflective practicum (Schon, 1987), and problem-based learning (Barrows, 1986). Of all these innovative instructional approaches, problem-based learning (PBL) has perhaps attracted the most attention from educators in such professional fields as nursing, education, and medicine. McMaster University adopted PBL for medical education in the 1960s, the first school to do so. As PBL has gained recognition and credibility in medical education, allied health fields (e.g., Branda, 1990; Gist, 1992; Glen, 1995; Royeen, 1995), have begun to use PBL in their educational programs as an entire curriculum or as an instructional strategy within a conventional curriculum. In education, Bridges and Hallinger (1995) have applied a modified PBL approach to the preparation of school administrators and Casey and Howson (1993) have investigated the use of a PBL approach in the education of preservice teachers. A central, organizing premise of PBL is linking theoretical knowledge to practical application through the use of collaborative groups in which students are responsible for deciding what is to be learned. Collaborative learning is premised on Vygotskian concepts that define learning as the social construction of knowledge. Acquiring new knowledge and restructuring existing knowledge emerge as individuals with differing viewpoints, experiences, and levels of knowledge about a particular topic engage in testing, reconciling, and ultimately forging a new, shared understanding of that topic through interaction with one another. A fundamental rationale for instructional strategies that promote the cooperation between learners is that such strategies more closely approximate the "real world" than traditional didactic approaches. That is, activities requiring cooperation among individuals reflect how tasks are usually accomplished in practice (Vygotsky, 1978). The purpose of this research was to examine students' perspectives of their learning in the collaborative group context of PBL. Much research and evaluation has been conducted on PBL as a curricular and instructional innovation. For the most part, this research has investigated outcomes (e.g., comparisons of achievement outcome measures of students in PBL versus conventional curricula), the organizational and administrative tasks involved in implementing an innovative curriculum, and students' information-gathering and study patterns. However, little research has been conducted on the underlying learning processes of PBL, specifically on students' perspectives of the process in relation to their learning. Some studies, primarily in medicine, have focused on the thought processes that PBL promotes, but these results have been mixed. In their comprehensive review of the research on PBL, Albanese and Mitchell (1993) reported the results of a study by Moore, Block, and Mitchell which found no difference in the diagnostic reasoning skills between students enrolled in PBL and in conventional curricula; however, Patel, Groen, and Norman (1991) found more backward reasoning links, errors, and lack of decisiveness among PBL students. On the other hand, Claesson and Boshuizen (1985) found that PBL students had greater recall of basic science information than those in a conventional curriculum; however, they also found greater inclusion of irrelevant material in case analyses. Recently, research has addressed students' perspectives and attitudes about PBL. Bernstein, Tipping, Bercovitz, and Skinner (1995) investigated shifts in students' attitudes after a five-week PBL component. In response to a survey given before and after a PBL experience, students indicated that PBL helped develop essential communication skills, increased knowledge retention due to opportunities for discussions, and facilitated thinking about the material rather than simply memorizing it. Another study examined students' perspectives of their learning process within a PBL curriculum and found that students were able to reflect on and examine their learning strategies when there was a clear association between the PBL goals and specific instructional strategies employed to accomplish those goals (Caplow, Donaldson, Kardash, & Hosokawa, 1997). However, despite this line of research into the processes in PBL, little research to date has examined the relationship between one major instructional element of PBL -- the use of collaborative groups-- and students' perspectives of their learning. Although the research on collaborative groups as an instructional strategy has focused...
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