Embedding action research in energy teaching to foster inclusive knowledge societies in Oaxaca

Large group of academics from Oaxaca and mentors from the University of Birmingham

This project seeks to bring about mechanisms for embedding action research within energy teaching to facilitate inclusive knowledge societies for the alleviation of energy poverty, a pressing issue in Oaxaca and Mexico.

Energy poverty is a multidimensional problem whereby a home is unable to attain necessitated levels of energy services, such as heating, cooling, and powering appliances. Its impacts are wide ranging, from negative health and wellbeing, to limited social and economic development. To alleviate the condition we need higher education institutions to train students to engage in multidisciplinary practices and bring about change in a way that enables what UNESCO calls inclusive knowledge societies, in which everyone not only has the means to acquire information in a manner that is responsive to their learning style, but the capabilities to create, use and share knowledge to enable their individual and communal socio-economic development. Action research is a tool for achieving this, as it requires empowering learners, researchers and participants to address real-life issues around them.

Via funding from the British Council’s Higher Education Alliances scheme (July 2019), we bring together mentors from the University of Birmingham, with academics from the Technological University of the Central Valley of Oaxaca, a young university recognised as a Strategic Ally for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Mexico. Through this collaboration, we will co-generate knowledge on the gaps in energy teaching, map out opportunities for embedding alternative teaching strategies, and produce a bespoke proposal for new energy courses tailored to regional needs, but adaptable to other contexts. In combination, we will contribute to transnational education development, capacity-building, internationalisation of curricula, and increased understanding of energy poverty among regional stakeholders, a key first step for its alleviation. 

Principal investigator

Dr Harriet Thomson