30 SES 05 A, Global Citizenship Education and ESE (Part I)
Paper Session Part I, to be continued in 30 SES 12 A
Ethical global issues are framed, explored, experienced, and responded to in classrooms across Europe each day. Issues such as climate change and poverty are deeply tied to embedded systems of injustices. What narratives are available to students to make sense of the differences in life experiences and conditions across global contexts? Research in environmental and sustainability education (ESE) (e.g., Sund, 2015) and critical global citizenship education (GCE) (e.g., Pashby, 2012) has raised concerns about the tendency for global learning in ‘global North’ contexts to unintentionally reinforce paternalistic narratives reifying colonial systems of power by creating an ‘us’ who learns about and helps a ‘them’ who has the problems. An example is the ‘taken-for-granted’ discourse where students are led to learn about ‘lower’ quality of life in so-called ‘developing countries’ so as to appreciate their own ‘higher’ standard of life (Pashby, 2013). The theoretical literature calling for decolonial approaches to bridge ESE and GCE is building (Khoo & Jørgensen, forthcoming). Empirical research about sustainable development content in primary and lower-secondary textbooks in Sweden (Ideland & Malmberg, 2014) and with primary school students and teachers in Norway (Eriksen, 2018) suggest decolonial approaches are particularly required to address ‘Nordic exceptionalism’. We wonder how decolonial resources might intervene, particularly in the continued trend of school trips to ‘global South’ contexts. This paper considers: to what extent does the ‘taken-for-grantedness’ discourse open-up and/or foreclose opportunities for ethical global issues pedagogy? We explore this discourse in relation to ‘decoloniality as praxis’ by analysing excerpts from interviews about a trip to Tanzania with a group of Swedish students and their teacher.
Our main conceptual framework of ‘decoloniality as praxis’ for an ethical global issues pedagogy bridging ESE and GCE is framed by Mignolo’s (2011) shine and shadow of modernity/coloniality and Andreotti’s (2014) modernity’s trick. For Mignolo (2011), the light side of modernity holds much of what is deeply valued in international and national development: on-going progress, individual freedom, and shared human experience organised through nation-states. These depend on the dark side, coloniality: continuous colonialism, imperialism, and over-exploitation of resources and people. Andreotti (2014) identifies “modernity’s trick” when altruistic efforts promote a continual helping of others to access the light side while denying how the light side is complicit in the dark side. Making visible the paradoxes of the relational shine/shadow of modernity opens pedagogical space for insights on distribution/inequalities, power, and epistemology to reorient and generate reflexive and explicit discussions. Thus, ‘decoloniality as praxis’ raises these paradoxes as productive tensions to support ethical global issues pedagogy (Sund & Pashby, 2020).
In this paper, we build on this theoretical framing to closely identify and examine ‘taken-for-grantedness’, identified by Pashby (2013) as a global citizenship discourse that tends to foreclose rather than open critical opportunities for reflexivity in the teaching of ethical global issues in ‘global North’ classrooms. Drawing on a critical notion of ‘framing’ (Fraser, 2005), Pashby found while the discourse can create openings for critical discussions around why there are different experiences of quality of life globally and locally, in lesson plans provided for secondary Social Science teachers in Alberta, she found it tended to pivot back into a ‘soft’, liberal humanist discourse. Yet, when taken-for-grantedness intersects with a discourse of ‘global consciousness’ expressing complexity and complicity, there is a stronger opportunity for pedagogical encounters that open up criticality. In this paper, we build an analytical framework drawing from Pashby’s (2013) discussion of the taken-for-granted discourse, examining it through a framework of ‘decolonliality as praxis’ to analyse findings from interviews with teachers and students in Sweden upon their return from a school visit to Tanzania.
In this paper, we analyse empirical examples collected from a recent research project called “Teaching global equity and justice issues through a critical lens” (Swedish Research Council 2018-2021). Our project examined how Swedish upper secondary teachers take up the most pressing sustainability problems facing the world today in their classrooms. The broader data set includes transcripts of the interactions between teachers and their student groups that were audio-recorded (23 hours) and video-recorded (19 hours) in a total of 19 lessons as well as transcripts of interviews with four teachers (10 hours) and five student groups (6 hours) in two upper secondary schools in two middle-sized towns in Sweden. In one of the schools, seven grade 11 students participated in a school visit exchange between Sweden and Tanzania. Swedish students ran workshops in Tanzania, offering students there training aimed at evolving their creativity and skills of entrepreneurship. In this paper, we draw mainly on three sets of interviews: one with a group of four students before their trip to Tanzania, one with three of the same students after their return, and one with the teacher of the students. The empirical examples gathered from the interviews allow us to explore the discourses available to the students and teachers when describing the complex learnings arising from their experiences with ethical global issues. Building from Pashby’s (2013) findings and Sund and Pashby’s (2020) framework of ethical global issues pedagogy, the analysis of the transcripts will identify and map the taken-for-grantedness discourse as it emerges in the data alongside other key discourses, and then will analyse the extent to which it opens up or forecloses pedagogical opportunities for decoloniality as praxis. Overall, the analysis aims to identify the possibilities and limits of the taken-for-grantedness discourses. The purpose is not to judge whether students and teachers are using the ‘right’ discourses; rather, it is an opportunity to engage with the discourses at work in their descriptions of encounters with ‘Global Others’ and to consider what participants’ discussions indicate about starting points for ethical global issues praxis in situ. The analysis also raises implications regarding the extent to which researchers are building theory from practical examples and to consider what engaging decolonial options in classrooms might look like and what resources would be helpful to support ’decoloniality as praxis’ (Sund & Pashby, 2020).
Initial analyses of the interviews before and after the Tanzania trip indicate that students express a paradox of being extremely impressed with the Tanzanian community they encountered while feeling that they had taken for granted their quality of life in Sweden. They also indicate a desire to unpack these complexities and seem to push to the edge of their discursive vocabulary to explain how moved they were by their experience. However, the main discourse they have available in terms of a response is ‘awareness raising’. The teacher focuses on the individual moments of epiphany around taking for granted the quality of life in Sweden as evidence of a change in the students, pointing out that the students acquired a more nuanced vision of life in a ‘developing country’ than what they see on television. The teacher also expresses a paradox in concluding that the students now understand humans are all the same. These early findings confirm a key theme emerging from the wider study around a lack of recognising historical and current power imbalances and equity more generally when engaging with ethical global issues in the classroom. While students acquired new knowledge, from a decolonial praxis position, educators must think more radically about the shape that pedagogical responses to the world’s most pressing problem should take (Sund & Pashby, 2019, 2020). The taken-for-grantedness discourse appears to work to stand in for deeper ethical engagement, indicating while there is an openness to exploring multiple perspectives, there is a gap in a particular type of knowledge and practice around decentring paternalistic Eurocentrism. Further resourcing is required to support teachers to work towards delinking as decolonial praxis in order to make dominant knowledge systems and existing power relations visible in teachers’ framing of and pedagogical treatment of global issues and encounters with difference.
Andreotti, V. (2014). Actionable Curriculum Theory: AAACS 2013 Closing Keynote. Journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies, 10, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.14288/jaaacs.v10i1.187728 Eriksen, K.G. (2018). Education for sustainable development and narratives of Nordic exceptionalism: the constirbutions of decolonialism. NORDIDACTICA – Journal of Humanities and Social Science Education, 4, 21–42. https://openarchive.usn.no/usn-xmlui/bitstream/handle/11250/2583721/FULLTEXT01.pdf?sequence=2 Fraser, N. (2005). Reframing justice in a globalizing world. New Left Review, 36, 69–88. Khoo, S. & Jørgensen, N. J. (forthcoming). Intersections and collaborative potentials between Global Citizenship Education and Education for Sustainable Development. Accepted for publication to Globalisation, Societies and Education. Ideland, M. and Malmberg, C. (2014). ’Our common world’ belongs to ‘Us’: constructions of otherness in education for sustainable development. Critical Studies in Education, 55(3), 369–386. https://doi.org/10.1080/17508487.2014.936890 Mignolo, W. (2011). The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options. Durham & London: Duke University Press. Pashby, K. (2012). Questions for global citizenship education in the context of the ‘new imperialism’: For whom, by whom?: In V Andreotti and L M De Souza (eds.) Postcolonial perspectives on global citizenship education, pp. 9–26. New York: Routledge. Pashby, K. (2013). Related and conflated: A theoretical and discursive framing of multiculturalism and global citizenship education in the Canadian context. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Toronto, Canada. Available online: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/35921 Sund, L. (2015). Facing global sustainability issues: teachers’ experiences of their own practices in environmental and sustainability education. Environmental Education Research, 22(6), 788–805. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2015.1110744 Sund, L. and Pashby, K. (2020). Delinking global issues in northern Europe classrooms. The Journal of Environmental Education, 51(20), 156–170. https://doi.org/10.1080/00958964.2020.1726264
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