Eco justice and critical pedagogy

Year: 2016

Author: Paige, Kathryn, Lloyd, David, Smith, Richard

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Beyond economic rationalism places environment within our eco systems and towards developing a sense of belonging and a sense of place. How do you develop empathy and understanding for other species, understanding fairness within generations and fairness between generations? Having empathy for the eco systems which we are members is an integral part and is essential for our personal, social and environmental well being (Louv, 2011). We are seeing eco justice as an essential part of our worldview and a prerequisite for keeping a healthy environment, including community and personal physical and mental health. Ecojustice seeks to preserve and, where appropriate, enhance ecological well-being and the integrity of the ecological commons - the ‘properties’ of the Earth that sustain all life, including human life, properties called ‘ecosystem services’ (Costanza, 2012). Hodson (2003) says that “there is increasing recognition of the need for science education to look at the wider social, political, economic and ethical issues that surround the practice of science”, and an informed eco-justice education which of its nature requires an understanding of the natural world, can identify wider issues. It is about connecting to life worlds, and using socially just and critical pedagogies such as thoughtful activity that is creative, emotional or practical, and is intellectually demanding, connected and working with difference (Lingard & Keddie, 2013). The notion of ‘slow pedagogy’ raised by Payne and Wattchow (2009:14) ‘allows us to pause or dwell in spaces for more than fleeting moments and therefore encourages us to attach to and receive meaning from that place’. It supports connections to place through experiential learning. Using literature and personal and professional autobiographies of three science teacher educator elders a set of sustainability educational practices and principles that have been the basis of primary/middle science courses have emerged over the last two decades. The emergent principles include firstly identifying and challenging the worldview assumptions including challenging consumerism, individualism and growth. And secondly, encouraging the development of a community of learners with a common disposition to valuing with compassion natural systems and human systems. The paper expands on these principles in a socially critical science educational context.References.Costanza, R. (2012), “Ecosystem health and ecological engineering”, Ecological Engineering, 45, 24- 29.Hodson, D. (2003). Time for action: Science education for an alternative future. International Journal of Science Education, 25(6), 645-670. Lingard, B & Keddie, A. (2013). Redistribution, recognition and representation: working against pedagogies of indifference. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 2013, 21(3), 427-447Louv, R. (2011). The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder, Algonquin BooksPayne, P. & Wattchow, B. (2009). Phenomenological deconstruction, slow pedagogy and the corporeal turn in wild environmental/outdoor education. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 14, 15–32.