Conceiving of One's Practice: Engaging with Constellations of Influence and Arguments of Authority in Environmental Education
McGee, Lynn Nancy
MetadataShow full item record
This study brought to light the narratives of four ordinary environmental educators with the purpose of better understanding the constellation of influences that delivered them to and caused them to remain within the field of environmental education (EE). Multiple theories and concepts were used to better understand the processes and applications involved in meaning making as well as illuminate the foundations of thinking that spoke directly to tensions I and other participants hold within the field of EE. Collectively, strong themes of influence included sense of professional identity, sense of place and the argument of authority (authenticity). Distinctive influences were also drawn including political willfulness, activism, and awe. In discussions about the argument of authority, authenticity, the collective thinking of participants included the fact that EE is complex and difficult to define but it is ultimately about relationships, and that schools and boards of education need to establish and/or maintain values compatible with environmentalism versus consumerism or corporatism. With respect to the argument of authority, accounting of learning, participants determined that environmental educators should not measure their value by the large-scale factor of planetary health but rather in smaller increments of success, and that such an enormous goal, while commendable, is one of all people living on this planet. Warrantable measures for environmental learning for which educators must advocate are the individually determined moments and experiences that create awe and wonder. Finally, in consideration of the argument of authority, determining primacy, baseline shift was described as freeing us of the guilt in which past generations actions created circumstances unbecoming humanity and anaesthetizes us from the real and present danger of further loss.