CB 6: Inquiry

Creative visual #6 & Commonplace Blog Post #6

Prompt: What does inquiry-based, interdisciplinary learning offer to environmental education intentions? How have you engaged in meaningful inquiry cycles?

“Inquiry-based learning that offers promise in supporting students to become thoughtful, motivated, collaborative and innovative learners capable of engaging in their own inquiries and thriving in a world of constant change” (Ontario, 2013, p.1).

My understanding of inquiry has changed a lot throughout this class. I first just thought of inquiry as a teaching technique that is more students ran and the teacher just facilitating and directing the students. I know have a prodder understanding of inquiry from the conversations we have had in ESCI 302 and the presentation given by Dean Elliott. In Dean’s presentation, he stated that inquiry is not always about just finding the answer to a question, but rather it is about the skills you have acquired to find the answer that is important. Related to this Kuklthau, Maniotes & Caspari (2007) states that The essence of “inquiry requires more than simply answering questions or getting a right answer. It espouses investigation, exploration, search, quest, research, pursuit, and study. It is enhanced by involvement with a community of learners, each learning from the other in social interaction.” (p. 2). Aside from inquiry being about students forming their own questions and answers, I also have a deeper understanding of how inquiry is related to assessment, activities, and pedagogy.

Inquiry-based interdisciplinary learning offers to environmental education intentions a lot of some ideas about education. For example, often in environmental education, we ask our students to make meaning of something or connect to a topic in a meaningful personal way. For my blog post visual this week I decided to play off the idea of asking big questions. These big questions can be a way to introduce an idea or a way to get students thinking about the content you want to focus on related to the curriculum. For my visual, I decided to focus on big questions that I could start a lesson on. For the purpose of this class, I focused on big questions I could ask before starting a science lesson. However, I would use other questions for different areas of learning or different content I want to teach. I decided to write the questions I came up with on cue cards. In a classroom, I would ideally write the questions on the board at the beginning of class then either have a conversation about the question or use it as a way to get students thinking to form there own questions. Overall, I would want my classroom to be a safe place where students could ask questions and form there own questions. I have always believed that teaching is not about telling someone what to believe, but rather it is encouraging them to ask the kinds of questions to encourage people to come up with their own conclusions.

 

Additional Thoughts:

  • Inquiry: Students interests, process, “conversation”, expansion, ideas, teacher as a facilitator, student-guided, promote curiosity, open-ended, big questions, cyclical.
  • Let them show what they have learned in as many ways as possible.
  • Get to know your kids.
  • Assessment first. Then plan activities around the assessment.
  • Not about finding the answer but the skills you have acquired from finding the answer.
  • Inquiry is just a disposition about how your classroom is run.
  • Inquiry is more of a pedagogy or strategy.
  • Imagine schools in different ways.
  • The idea of possing a big question and connecting it to the curriculum and subjects.

CB 5: Wilderness

Due: Commonplace Blog Post #5

Prompt: Use the Canoe Pedagogy reading (Newbery), to discuss nature walks (or other outdoor ed or EE trips you have experienced) towards ways of giving thanks or recognizing historical stories of the land. ie. Disrupt the common sense idea of the Canadian wilderness.

There are many ways to give thanks and recognize historical stories of the land, such as nature walks, outdoor education or other environmental education trips or experiences. In my own experience, I have been on outdoor education trips such as going skiing at mission ridge. However, I have never had an outdoor education or environmental education trip or experience that really put an emphasis on the land like Newbery discusses in Canoe Pedagogy and Colonial History; Exploring contested spaces of outdoor environmental education (2012, p.30). In the outdoor education experiences, I have had, I still do find my own appreciation for the land. For example, every time I have been to mission ridge to go skiing I always appreciate the amazing view up on the ski lift of Fort Qu’Appelle. I have decided for my visual aspect of this weeks to draw up a representation of the school field trips I have had skiing.

 

Newbery (2012), discusses that “both wilderness and canoe are coded as symbols of the nation, symbols suggesting a just, good nation, with a history brimming with adventure and intercultural cooperation” (p.31). However, this idea of wilderness is highly influenced and restructured through colonial experience (Newbery, 2012, p.31). Newbery (2012) states that wilderness is “not something that simply is, but rather is a particular and changing story we tell of geographical space” (p.34). I think when I often think of experiences in the wilderness I have had I think of leaving Regina and my home and going out to somewhere else. I think this is the common sense idea of wilderness. Although in reality, wilderness is everywhere in our lives and we experience it every day in our lives.

Newbery, L. (2012). Canoe Pedagogy and Colonial History: Exploring contested spaces of outdoor environmental education. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education. 17,

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CB 4: Educate Myself…

Due: Creative visual #4. Prompt: Your choice – make meaning from a course experience from last week. Use at least one reading as a provocation.

At the beginning of the year, I made a pledge. My pledge stated that I want to “stop relying on other and to educate myself so I can be the one to take action”. Since beginning the class I have experienced a lot of new learning experiences that have encouraged me to take action.

Last week in ESCI 217 we took a field trip to the Regina water waste treatment plant. I learned a lot about where my water and waste goes. From this experience, I learned that in order to continue my pledge I made at the beginning of the year, I need to question and get educated about how I impact the environment and how the environment impacts me every day. I decided for my visual component for this week to recreate my original pledge artwork from the beginning of the year. In my new piece, I added visuals around the hand that represents different learning experiences and what I think of when I hear the word “educate”.

David Sobel in Beyond Ecophobia talks about how sometimes the problem with environmental education is that it is often taught to abstractly. I have also found that one thing I often do is think about the broad idea of environmental education. For example, I will think about the melting icebergs rather than how my everyday actions impact the environment. This experience to the Regina water waste treatment plant has reminded me to keep some of my learning more local and focused on my own embodiment experiences.

Beyond Ecophobia, David Sobel

CB 3: Embodying Climate Change

Creative visual #3 What does embodiment mean in the context of climate change and environmental education? Use course readings to support your thoughts & the visual.

Curthoys & Cuthburtson (2002), explain that in order to be eco-literate we have to have the “ability to actively explore the significance and meaning of one’s environment to self and others, and to develop an understanding of how to contribute to environmental change through action”. 
This definition also very closely relates to what I think embodiment means. When I first think of embodiment in the context of climate change, I think about how my body makes an impact on climate change.

For my creative visual component of this blog post, I decided to use my hands and body to illustrate the effects that my body has on climate change. I used paint to lay a white base coat on my forearm and hand. From there I thought of ways that I personally impact climate change and wanted to illustrate it on my hand and arm. For starters, I thought about how I breathe in and out the oxygen given by trees so decided to paint a tree. I also decided to paint a black house with smoke coming out of it to represent the resources I use at my house such as water, gas, and power that are bad for the environment. I also wanted to include a mountain with no snow on it to demonstrate how the climate change is affecting polar ice caps and snowfall.

When talking about environmental education, I think embodiment has a big impact on our understanding of environmental education. To incorporate the idea of environmental education into my piece I added a few elements into my painting that represent a little bit of environmental education. First, I added the waves because I remember a lot of my environmental education learning about the water and also learning in science class about how waves are created and for example the negative impact the water can have when the ice caps melt from a result of climate change. I also included a fire because my family and I often have bonfires in the summer, which can release harmful emissions into the environment. I want to do some research in the future on how I can learn about what we should and shouldn’t be burning in our bonfires or for our wood to cause the least amount of pollution possible.

 

Curthoys, L. & Cuthburtson, B. (2002). Listening to the Landscape: Interpretive planning for ecological literacy. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 7(2), 224   241.

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B. Ecoliteracy Braiding

The Ecoliteracy love-letter/poems that myself and my classmates wrote all have similarities, differences and things that we left out about what it means to be eco-literate. In developing and realizing my own understanding of eco-literacy, I compared my love letter/ poem to my classmates, Taylor and Kayla.

Many of the themes discussed in our letters were similar. One similarity that stood out to me was how we all viewed eco-literacy as having respect and caring for the environment. Kayla states in her letter that to her eco-literacy means to care for the earth by only taking the food she needs and to try to stop those from harming nature. O’Riley (2009) also supports the idea of respect in relation to eco-literacy by stating that “if we have a foundation of caring and respect the rest will look after itself” (p.127). Another similarity I noticed was that we all described how we had felt an appreciation for nature being passed down to us from the person that was eco-literate. In Taylor’s letter, she states “Your favorite season became my favorite season”. This is extremely similar to my letter when I stated, “Flowers were always your favorite and they soon became mine too”. Both of these statements show that we understand a part of eco-literacy as being able to pass down a love and passion for nature.

One thing I did notice that was different between the understanding of eco-literacy based on our letters was the idea of animals being apart of our definition. In Kayla’s letter she mentioned, “To take care of the animals like family members”. For myself, the only mention I made of animals was when I said, “As much as I hated the bugs, the precious time spent with you is something I will always treasure.” Although I never mentioned it in my letter, I do agree that apart of being eco-literate is respecting animals and taking care of them, like Kayla mentioned.

I also do think that one aspect of eco-literacy we all missed in our letters was taking responsibility. Curtthoys (2012) states “that learning from and taking responsibility for the bad stuff is also necessary to processes of reconciliation”. Similar to have taken responsibility is necessary for reconciliation, I also think taking responsibility is necessary for being eco-literate.

Overall, my understanding of eco-literacy has evolved to ideas such as respecting the world, knowledge, and many more. As the course goes on and my environmental journey continues I hope my own definition of eco-literacy evolves with me.

References

Curthoys, L., Cuthburtson, B., & Clark, J. (2012). Community Story Circles: An opportunity to rethink the epistemological approach to heritage interpretive planning. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 17, 173-187.

Forseth-Hala, Taylor. (2018). Love Letter. https://education48604.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/love      letter/

Friesen, Kayla. (2018). Embodying the Environment.        https://friesenkblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/embodying-the-environment/

Morin, Kacie. (2018). Ecoliteracy Love-Letter/ Poem.        https://kaciemorin.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/ecoliteracy-love-letter-poem/

O’Riley, P. & Cole, P. (2009). Coyote & Raven talk about the Land/scapes. In M. McKenzie, P. Hart, H. Bai & B. Jickling (Eds.), Fields of Green: restoring culture, environment, and education. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, Inc. (GC)