Ecological Identity

I think, this is one of the more important books I’ve picked up this year. It deeply resonates with me, much like Place, Being and Resonance.  But for a different reason. This book has helped me come more to terms with my identity. I feel more comfortable with who I am, and why I am.  Place being and resonance, allowed me to move more into who I want to be, but this book allows me to question about the who and why of my identity. 

I am going to incorporate some of these ideas into my dissertation, specifically the mapping, but I want to see what I can do with the students. What can I ask fo them to understand more about how they relate to the environment. 

I haven’t finished this book yet, I hope to soon, but with end of term, report cards, life happening it’s hard to actually get into the thick of it, and figure out if they can see where they come from. 

I understand, in part, that we are a product of place, community and our actions, I understand, in part, that these things work together.  So far this book has helped me better understand how those three aspects interact to form and reform my identity. 

Place based education as service learning

IMG_4678
One of my favourites (if you can’t tell by how loved it looks).

When we talk about the importance of place, especially when you put educators or teachers in the search terms, we often get information on place based education.  We’ve been really trying to connect to our community lately and I’ve revisited this book in order to look how to make some meaningful connections.

One of my big take aways, especially as a member of an international community, is that community based education helps us to become a member of a community rather than an observer of that community.

As international students and teachers it is easy to get lost in developing a sense of place. It is easy for us to cling to our old identities and stay in our same ways.  However, when we move to get out of the community, when we try to get ties to our new place, we change a little who we are.  We stop being passive observers of a culture and start becoming members and co-creators of a community.

Previously we’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to bring HDB community garden members into our garden.  We start by building community (at least my thought at the time was) by opening our doors, bringing people in, and then working together.  However, we moved from that to go to their garden. How are they doing it, what can we learn, how can we help?

I think it goes back to this idea of listening, and this idea of watching systems. When we really understand something, when we try to be a part of it (rather than trying to insert our views right away, we can make a bigger difference in ourselves and then the community.

So, if we can start building on our service learning, and really try to develop a place based curriculum. I wonder how effective we could be in transforming ourselves into members of the community.

Is anyone in an international school doing this really effectively? Care to share some ideas?

Place or placelessness

FZr6JsuAT8mYiHNusS8lWA
Me and my mom standing by a lake

As I’m exploring this idea of a sense of place and how to develop a sense of place the opposite comes into the research as well.  When we think about globalization and how it fosters this idea of placelessness I wonder about how we can really combat this idea.

Society tells us to rely on this idea of individualism, that we are important that our needs should come first. When we are abroad we see the same stores, we can buy the same food almost everywhere, it seems like everything we want is everywhere we want it. I wonder if this takes us away from the idea of the importance of place. Because everything is interchangeable places might lose their value.

We need to take time in a place, we need to build a relationship with the things in that place (human and more than human). By building these relationships we can start to combat this individualism and globalisation. We need to take time in a place, we need to slow down and we need to pay attention to place.

Need a recharge

184342749_1b28e152e0_b
 Some rights reserved by ! /streetart#__+__www.♥.tk ﴾͡๏̯͡๏﴿

Almost time for our first break. This last week feels especially long, and I’ve been wondering why.

One of the books I’ve been reading lately is the Handbook of Nature Study. There are a bunch of interesting quotations, here’s one:Screen Shot 2018-10-02 at 8.09.10 PM

I’m not really saying I feel like I know everything, but I wonder if I’ve been actually wondering anything lately. One of the ways I can refresh is just by reinstating my wonder, trying to be excited again.  The book goes further to suggest that by spending unstructured time outside, we will be more refreshed.

Often as teachers we think seeing friends, going out, getting things done are important on our weekends, and they are. However, we need to spend some time just outside, looking, observing and getting ready to wonder again.

As our first break comes up, I’m going to take some time to get out and explore.

Writing outside

 

 

One of the exciting initiatives this year at school is the expectation to go outside everyday. We’ve been working together to think about what kinds of things we can do that doesn’t involve a whole lot of planning for teachers who aren’t comfortable to start getting outside.

My contribution was writing.  One of the things we can do anywhere is write, and so I’ve created a quick video about my students writing outside.  As you can see, some write along, some in groups, it’s just a way to get outside and start developing a sense of place (even if it’s not intentional).

Tadpole habitat

We’ve been working on getting a home set up for our tadpoles, last week students researched what tadpoles needed to survive and this week they started putting the habitats together.  This is pretty great for us because when we went back outside, the water is all gone, so no home for our little friends.

As a learning journey the students loved it, they learned a lot about tadpoles (and it’s still on going) and they are totally motivated to make the most out of their habitats, pretty exciting times.

Changes in the Garden

We’ve just returned from a holiday and looking out in the garden we’ve seen a lot of new wood covering the ground.  We’re going to use this to look into how systems change when humans try to make differences in our shared world.  Should be interesting.