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Imaginative Ecological Education: Evolution of a Theory and Practice  

Gillian Judson

Imaginative Ecological Education (IEE) is an emerging cross-curricular and cross-grade pedagogical approach that seeks to address the neglect of emotional and imaginative engagement in Place-based learning. Its dual aims are to engage learners emotionally with the natural world and, ultimately, to transform how learners understand their relationship within the natural world. Understanding ecologically or the development of ecological understanding is the ultimate main goal; this represents a deep understanding of human connectedness within the living world. To achieve this goal, Imaginative Ecological Education acknowledges the central role of emotion in all learning and considers the value of emotional engagement not just for learning, but for supporting connections to nature that inspire environmental values and action. This pedagogical approach brings imagination from the sidelines to the centre of theory and practice, acknowledging that imagination is essential for engaging in learning and transforming human-nature relationships. Envisioning the possible, the not-yet, requires imagination. The central focus on emotional and imaginative engagement of learners within Place-focused teaching is what sets Imaginative Ecological Education apart from other approaches to outdoor learning. Imaginative Ecological Education theory and practice is evolving based on practitioner feedback and research.A Walking Curriculum: Evoking Wonder and Developing Sense of Place (K-12) is the most practical and accessible book on Imaginative Ecological Education. It contains a series of walking-focused activities that engage the principles of Imaginative Ecological Education in order to support emotional connections in learning. To date this approach has been most employed in the elementary school context. Research suggests that Imaginative Ecological Education practices support learners in forming emotional connections with and in the natural world.

Article

Study Circles  

Staffan Larsson

The study circle is a “free and voluntary” pedagogy that has become a mass phenomenon in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. It was initiated within the popular movements in the first years of the 1900s as a tool for education among their members. Around 10 adults typically meet a few hours a week to develop their interests, for example, in art, political topics, music, or foreign language. The “study circle grammar” includes voluntary participation, an extremely wide span of topics to be studied, no requirements of a teacher, and no entrance qualifications, grades, or exams. Tradition stresses deliberations among participants, but practical topics often have a workshop pedagogy. They have received subsidies from the state and from municipalities through various organizational structures depending on country since the early 1900s. They grew and spread fast, reaching a peak in participation in the late 1900s, but have since stagnated; however, a substantial share of adults in Nordic countries continue to engage in them.

Article

Indigenous Language Revitalization  

Anne Marie Guerrettaz and Mel M. Engman

Countless Indigenous languages around the world are the focus of innovative community regeneration efforts, as the legacies of colonialism have created conditions of extreme sociopolitical, educational, and economic adversity for the speakers of these languages—and their descendants. In response to these conditions that Indigenous people face globally, the burgeoning field of Indigenous language revitalization and maintenance has emerged since the 1990s with the goal of supporting speakers of these languages and future generations. Indigenous language revitalization involves different but often interlocking domains of research, practice, and activism. Given the uniqueness of each community and their desires, history, values, and culture, the significance of the local is critical to the global phenomenon that is language revitalization. For instance, cases on five different continents offer valuable insights into this field, including the Hawaiian language in Oceania; Myaamia in the United States (North America); Básáa in the Cameroon (Africa); Sámi in Finland (Europe); and, Cristang and Malay in Malaysia (Asia). These offer examples of both local resources and common challenges that characterize revitalization efforts. The field of Indigenous language revitalization is interdisciplinary in nature, exemplified through five lines of inquiry that significantly contribute to this area of research: (a) theoretical linguistics and anthropology, (b) applied linguistics, (c) education, (d) policy studies, and (e) critical studies, including postcolonial studies, Indigenous studies, and raciolinguistics. Questions of research ethics are central to the field of Indigenous language revitalization since reciprocity and collaboration between researchers and Indigenous communities matter as the lifeblood of Indigenous language revitalization work. Finally, we believe that the notion of Indigenous language revitalization pedagogies along with underexplored Indigenous concepts (e.g., from Yucatecan and Māori scholars) offer compelling directions for future research.

Article

Systemic Supports for Antiracist Practice in International Baccalaureate Classrooms  

Whitney M. Hegseth

When considering how to (re)build educational systems for equity, one might explore the potential of a system’s supports to facilitate changes in perceptions and pedagogy in classrooms, so that both become increasingly antiracist. A disciplinary incident in an International Baccalaureate (IB) elementary classroom in Washington, D.C., helps illustrate how the IB system’s educational infrastructure can support teachers in (re)framing and responding to problems in their classrooms. The infrastructure that may support such (re)framing includes system-level guidance around (a) outcomes, (b) instructional methods, and (c) the use of local resources. Although the IB system is not yet an antiracist system, its educational infrastructure can support a transformation in perception and pedagogy for IB teachers. This existing infrastructure, then, has the potential to help IB teachers and schools move toward increasingly antiracist practice. Exploring such a synergy between infrastructure and antiracist practice may help the IB system, and other educational systems, in their efforts to (re)design system supports to redress long-standing inequities in schools and society.

Article

Chinese Heritage Language Schools in the United States  

Shizhan Yuan

Chinese heritage language (CHL) schools in the United States serve the children of Chinese immigrants whose parents wish them to retain and develop their heritage Chinese language and culture in the United States. Traditionally, the U.S. K–12 school system and education policies adopt a classic assimilation (assimilation without accommodation) education model that maintains a dominant American English (DAE) at school. K–12 schools in the United States are usually reluctant to preserve the heritage languages and cultures of immigrants from other countries. CHL schools in the United States are usually founded by communities of Chinese immigrants to support their children’s learning of Chinese heritage language and culture (also known as CHL children or CHL learners). CHL schools come in different forms: some are Chinese after-school programs that normally operate on weekday afternoons, when CHL students finish their classes in the K–12 schools; others are operated on weekends (weekend CHL schools). Depending on the origins of their founders (such as mainland China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan) as well as the needs of the Chinese community, CHL schools may teach Mandarin or Cantonese as the oral language, and simplified Chinese characters or traditional Chinese characters as the written language. CHL schools also use different course materials, and the curriculum depends on the needs and origins of the CHL learners’ families and communities as well as the origin of their founders.

Article

Systemic Supports for Antiracist Practice in Montessori Classrooms  

Whitney M. Hegseth

When considering how to (re)build educational systems for equity, one might explore the potential of a system’s supports to facilitate changes in perceptions and pedagogy in classrooms, so that both become increasingly antiracist. A disciplinary incident in a Montessori elementary classroom in Washington, DC helps illustrate how the Montessori system’s educational infrastructure supports teachers in (re)framing problems and solutions in their classrooms. The infrastructure that supports such (re)framing includes (a) teacher training; (b) system standards around class size and composition; and (c) system guidance around community relations, paired with standards around the structure of the school day. Though the Montessori system is not yet an antiracist system, its highly elaborate infrastructure already supports a transformation in perception and pedagogy for Montessori teachers. This existing infrastructure, then, has potential to help Montessori teachers and schools move toward increasingly antiracist practice. Exploring such synergy between infrastructure and antiracist practice may help the Montessori system, and other educational systems, in their efforts to (re)design system supports to redress long-standing inequities in schools and society.

Article

Animal Personhood in Sustainability Education  

Helen Kopnina

Animal personhood research comes from different theoretical directions: animal rights, animal welfare, compassionate conservation, animal rights law, and many related disciplines. The term “personhood” is taken to lie in three main characteristics, including the capacity to act intentionally, the capacity to experience feelings, and the possession of moral worth. This division is complementary to three approaches: the perfectionist approach, the humanistic approach, and the interactive approach, with the third approach being the strongest. The basic idea is that personhood can be linked to legal rights based on recognition of intrinsic rights based on sentience or other characteristics of a living being, including personality. The move toward recognizing animal personhood in education promises to signify a return to a nonanthropocentric ethic that characterizes both the most transformative forms of education for environmental sustainability and the type of education that stresses responsibility and compassion toward all living beings. This type of education, at both the school and university levels, supports both ecocentrism and animal ethics and supports the rights to life of all living beings on Earth—including, to state the obvious, humans. Many initiatives supporting developing education for animal personhood have emerged within the literature on (sustainability) education and practice. This literature emphasizes multiple forms of education, ranging from education for sustainability, education related to ethics (anything that fits under the broad banner of sustainability, from human rights to social justice and indeed animal welfare), for example, including posthumanist education, action research, education for sustainable development, curriculum development, pedagogical studies that specifically engage with animal rights, and animal welfare education. More specifically, Animal Protection Education provides students and teachers with the information they need to understand and discuss the concept of granting legal personhood to animals.

Article

Dino Pacio Lindín and “The School in Apartments,” and a Learning-Service Program in Loisaida, New York  

Xosé Manuel Malheiro-Gutiérrez

In the early 1970s, a University of Rochester sociology professor of Galician origin carried out an interesting experiment in the Lower East Side of Manhattan with a group of university students. This experiment consisted of a solidary exchange through which the students taught English to the members of a marginalized community of Hispanic immigrants with few economic opportunities and who did not speak the English language. In exchange, the immigrants lodged the students in their houses. “The school in apartments,” a community learning-service program, was the basis for subsequent projects.

Article

Youth Movements and Climate Change Education for Justice  

Carrie Karsgaard and Lynette Shultz

In 2019, youth throughout the world held global student strikes for climate, also known as Fridays for Future, during which they articulated their collective concern and frustration at political inaction on climate change, demanding climate justice. During the same period, through concrete activities on specific lands, drawing attention to the colonial nature of climate change, Indigenous land-based and climate movements have resisted extraction and development projects that fuel climate change. Youth responses to the increasing intensification and unevenness of climate heating present a crucial moment for rethinking education. To adequately respond to the global youth climate strikes and Indigenous movements, climate change education is recognizing the need to engage issues of justice, including for children and youth in different positions globally. Education research has long recognized the need to layer climate science education with learning about the intersecting sociocultural, political, and economic components of climate issues, along with the need to support youth as they face uncertain futures. At the same time, much historic climate change education was critiqued for its instrumentalism because it endorsed predetermined outcomes, limiting critical thought and stripping youth of their agency. By contrast, the recent youth climate strikes have spurred increased legitimation of youth voice and agency in climate issues, in addition to increasing attention to the marginalized and excluded. With the citizenship participation of youth thus legitimized, new efforts in climate change education more deeply address climate justice through a critical focus on the culpability of the Global North, supporting pedagogical interventions that support more critical learning. At the same time, many scholars question the extent to which climate change education fully addresses the deep colonial–capitalist roots of the climate crisis, particularly because education relies on these same colonial–capitalist foundations. Furthermore, despite increased interest in climate change education, many youth remain marginal to the conversation because research is still largely situated in the Global North, to the exclusion of many young people’s realities and reflecting the ongoing coloniality of knowledge production within education. Considering these issues, decolonial climate change education offers more direct confrontation with the failures of Western modes of thought and engages with alternative knowledges. In doing so, it opens space for climate change education grounded in relationality and kinship founded in Indigenous relational ontologies, whereby humans are not the center of climate learning and decision-making but are inherent within webs of relations among all things.

Article

TACKLE: Supporting Learning and Identity Formation in a Native American Community  

Lorraine Orosco, Olga Vásquez, and Charles Underwood

Identity development involves complex processes through which individuals enhance their senses and come to understand themselves. This follows in the contextual state of the various cultural demands and the norms of the society. The development of identity could be viewed as a process that is crucial to adolescents and that enables individuals in transiting from childhood dependency into adults responsible of their needs, aspirations, interests, and desires. The process of transition includes a cognitive reorganization in the way the youth think and their relation to other individuals as they mature. Identity development is often associated with adolescence, but it is a continuous process throughout adulthood. It creates a sense of belonging in a bigger and contextual cultural transition. In Native America, universities and indigenous communities have had collaborative work to support learning and identity development among the communities. It has, however, had its share of challenges for a long time as the collaborative processes are complex in nature. One of the collaborative processes in the Native American community was the Technology And Culture Kumeyaay Literacy Education (TACKLE). The historical development of TACKLE as a university–community partnership is described in terms of the emergence of two key strategies—participatory collaborative activity and context embedded change—which came to guide the partners’ interactions as they worked together to bridge their cultural differences in developing the TACKLE program.