Places establish narratives

These pups were hiding from the rain in Jeju.

I”m struggling through this idea of a conceptual framework right now. What is driving my study, what are my theoretical understandings? Sommerville (2010) talked about the different underpinnings that have defined her work, and the authors who helped her clarify her understanding.

Both of us have been moved by Gruenewald (2003) who challenges us to take part in a place responsive pedagogy. We need to deconstruct and decolonise our relationship with place, we need to know more about how things have developed, where the power lies and try to sort out what that means for us.

This is a challenge to most modern thinking that doesn’t believe or value the idea of a specific or special place. Schooling, Sommerville (2010) argues is the perfect placeless area. Schools want us to be standard, to be normal, to not have outside aspects influence our learning or our thinking. We should be able to apply anything to a global level, without thinking about place specifics. This deeply challenges ecosystems and most systems thinking (from an environmental perspective at least).

For me, so far, this always goes back to love, and how to love. We need to spend time in our places and really get to know them. We need to love them, see how they work and value the places for what they are (not what we want them to be). I’m wondering I guess, how do we get out of that way of thinking, how can we really deconstruct ourselves, is this even possible for international teachers?

Sommerville, M. (2010) A Place Pedagogy for “Global Contemporaneity”. Educational Philosophy and Theory 42(3)

Sense of Place in Australian Environmental Education Research: Distinctive, Missing or Displaced?

I’m trying to re-read articles and come up with some points so I have a better understanding of what I’m researching. I have more comprehensive notes, I just want to see how my thinking changes.

Some of the ideas from this article have jumped out at me differently than previous readings. “emplacement is not something people choose – it is, ontologically speaking, a condition of human being” (Trigger, 2008, p.301, in Stevenson, 2011).

As an expat. I’m not sure this is entirely true. While my birthplace was not chosen, I’ve been lucky enough to have the experience (at times) to choose my place. Stevenson (I think) argues more on my side, that we have a choice but mostly that choice is how we build our identity around our sense of place. Since a sense of place can be somewhat (depending on who we read) socially constructed, I wonder how this fits together.

I do agree, so far anyway, that we can’t really exist without place, we need to form some sort of relationship, regardless of how fleeting it might be, with the space we occupy. Regardless of where we are, this article suggests that place has some role to play on self identity.

As an expat, I also wonder about Gruenewald’s idea of globalisation as placelessness. This is a line I think I want to get more into as I wonder about the idea of displacement as being disempowering, which leads us do almost lack an identity?

These are my thoughts from relooking over this paper, hopefully I can be a little more disciplined and write more in the coming months.

Stevenson, R. B. (2011). Sense of Place in Australian Environmental Education Research: Distinctive, Missing or Displaced? Australian Journal Of Environmental Education,, 27(1), 46-55.