The Sustainability Mindset Indicator: A Personal Development Tool
This paper addresses the problem of assessing, measuring, and further developing a Sustainability Mindset. This mindset is a way of thinking and being that predisposes individuals to act for the good of planet and people. It is a complex construct, developed via the path of an ecological worldview, a systems perspective, and aspects pertaining to emotional and spiritual intelligence. It is aimed at guiding individuals toward living and promoting a more sustainable life, which is crucial for humanity in the 21st century. As educators have been intentionally developing the Sustainability Mindset, it became important to find ways to assess and measure it.
The Sustainability Mindset Indicator (SMI) was designed to address this problem. This paper describes the method followed to develop the SMI: a) anchored in theories of psychology and pedagogy, objectives of the instrument and constructs of measurement were defined; b) a questionnaire was designed; and c) 320 personalized feedback reports were created. The questionnaire uses Johnson’s (1992) framework of polarities and stages of human development (Kegan, 1994), whereas the reports follow the directions of Positive Psychology (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2014) and Appreciative Inquiry (Cooperrider, Whitney, & Stavros, 2008). Three validation phases were employed to confirm phrasing, improve comprehension and accurateness, and prepare for pilot studies.
The SMI represents an important addition to other scales available in the literature. It focuses on personal development and transformative learning to facilitate mindset change in individuals as well as in educational or coaching settings, and can be used to tailor interventions and assess the impacts thereof.