Ethical praxis in education and the essential role of actual school communities: how an ecological consciousness, equity principles and anti-racism are transforming teaching and learning

Year: 2021

Author: Lucas, Rebecca

Type of paper: Individual Paper

In response to escalating and intersecting ecological and social global crises, progressive pedagogical frameworks are changing what is taught in schools, how it is taught, and empowering new identities for researcher, teacher, and learner.This paper identifies ethical principles and values that are commonalities across different research-based education models that all proactively seek to better our collective global future for people and all living things. Influential education models reviewed include Inquiry based learning, Reggio Emilia, Deep Learning, positive psychology in education, as well as ‘21st Century Skills’ and ‘Cs of Education’ such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, character and citizenship. Examples from the grassroots learning ecosystem I participate in as a primary teacher are analysed in relation to the school’s educational vision for transformative learning.Developing solutions to global crises through school as a place of learning is embedded in formal, local (national) education frameworks. The position of the Australian Curriculum in relation to an ethical transformation of education is examined, particularly through the General capabilities and the Cross-curriculum priorities. Other official contexts examined include The National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools and The New Alice Springs (Mpartnwe) Education Declaration. Recognising that aligned ethical principles and educational values across these models and government guidelines originate from an ecological consciousness, equity principles and anti-racism, this paper considers how effectively education frameworks are actually addressing real issues. Attention is called to actions education research must undertake more strenuously to truly move from educational ideals to realising ground-breaking change through teaching and learning in living school communities.Two connected actions are: further disruption of the persistent distinction between educational research (situated with academics, universities, models) and educational practice (situated with teachers, children, classrooms, schools) into a nonhierarchic action-research partnership. Prioritising schools as productive sites of necessary and original ethical praxis leads to a reimagining of epistemological and ontological values in education research. This reimagining will be delineated through discussion on how school communities might engage empirically with deep ecological consciousness, equity principles and anti-racism. In particular, this paper will share the evolving realities, challenges and successes within my school community as we endeavour to co-create an ethical praxis for our collective global future.