Creating, becoming, changing and ending: Unfolding embodied and emplaced practice in environmental education

Year: 2012

Author: Miles, Rebecca

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


This paper focuses on the integrative practice of environmental education, exploring the actions in which doings and sayings hang together. Practice theories, through understanding the social as in-the-moment being formed, re-formed and transformed through the (re)interpretations of the carriers of practice, shows acceptance of the agential nature and dispersed interrelations of people (and the agential more-than-human) lives 'hang together' through practices (Reckwitz, 2002; Schatzki, 2002). This understanding also carries with it the awareness that practices, and specifically here practices of and in education, curriculum, and knowledge, are always creating, always in a state of becoming, changing and ending. As such, the actuality of a specific teaching program, constructed as an answer to a determined social/political issue, such as the green movement, also becomes problematic as the carriers of curriculum practices (teachers and learners) will, through their very involvement, cause changes that re-form and transform the knowledges taught and learnt through the enactment of that curriculum, in unexpected ways. Drawing on Schatzki (2010) I map the practices that form environmental education in two case schools, and I consider the ways that this informs the different ways that environmental and place consciousness can be practiced. For both schools the implementation of the program, initial processes and support made available was the same. The subsequent unfolding and ongoing 'carrying out' of Learnscapes in each of the case sites has become unique to the place, the curriculum and the individual and collective practices of those participating in it. Reflected in these accounts are the re-formations and transformations of environmental education and teaching practices over time, across places, and through different people and communities. Personal, professional, place and community contexts are evident in each of the distinct ways that the Learnscapes becomes a part of the environmental education practice at these schools, and is re-formed and transformed in the case sites and in individual performances. The examples here show the varied practices to do with Learnscapes, unfolded through performances of and within place that were independent to, and at different times contrary, resistant, or complementary to, the original 'intention' of the program.