30 ONLINE 22 A, Risk and controversy in ESE
MeetingID: 847 9921 0224 Code: mx3N04
This submission explores the development of professional knowledge regarding teaching controversial sustainability issues. Professional knowledge is generated in the midst of practice, and through reflection on practice. A controversial issue is an issue that arouses strong feelings and divides opinion in communities and society. The point of departure is that the starting point of environmental and sustainability education (ESE) is a controversial issue, i. e. is charged with conflicts of interests. These conflicts constitute the political dimension that scholars argue to be crucial in ESE. Still there are very few empirical studies of how teachers’ deal with the political dimension, especially when the political evolve suddenly and unexpectedly in ESE-practice. This unexpected situation becomes an educative moment, i. e. the situation occurs suddenly and unexpectedly for the teacher when a student or several students’ emotionally charged expression that is in opposition or contest something. However, there are crucial educative potentialities as there are risks in an educative moment. There is both a potentiality and a risk because an educative moment emerges from a student’s personal-existential engagement in a situation. This kind of educative moment is rare and therefore crucial to be educative concerning using the conflict to be creative and to develop a democratic approach regarding “how to engage in dialogue with people whose values are different from one’s own and to respect them” (Kerr & Huddlestone 2015, p 11).
What kind of manners of teaching evolve in dealing with an educative political moment, consisting of a situation where ‘facts are uncertain, values in dispute, something at stake: passions, commitments, values, interests, ideals, concerns, etcetera and the conflicts of interests is based on mutually exclusive yet emotionally invested attachments?
This submission focuses on teachers’ manner in educative moment (Garrison et al 2015). Such moments evolve suddenly and unexpectedly when one or several students’ initiate an emotionally charged conflict regarding sustainability. By asking teachers to describe their judgements and experiences in such educative moments, the teachers’ making, what Schön (1995) calls, ‘reflection on knowing- and- reflection-in-action’. Schön claims that we need to develop a broader conception of professional knowledge, one that recognizes the limits and potential dangers of a sole focus on technical rationality and calls for a more complex vision of knowledge for practice.
By analysing teachers’ reflections, on their acting in an educative moments it is not only possible to identify the manners of teaching controversial sustainability, but also what learning the students’ acquire concerning the political dimension, i. .e what tendency the teacher’s manner privileged. The manners are also discussed as a teacher’s ‘professional frames’ (Munby & Russell 1992. The professional frames have both an individual history and are related to the history of teaching as a profession, as indicated here: ‘‘Neither the commitments nor the experience can exist separately and the two together create the frames that shape a teacher’s strategies’’ (p. 14). As Munby and Russell (1992, p. 18) put it, frames are created ‘from the inside outwards’ as much as ‘from the outside inwards’. Frames or manners are not stable in the sense that it is always possible to predict a situation, teachers also need to be able to reframe a situation (Munby, Cunningham, & Lock 2000). As Donald Schön noted, reframing is the process by which professional knowledge develops and involves reflection-in-action (1987). Schön (1983) argues for “an epistemology of practice implicit in the artistic, intuitive processes which some practitioners do bring to situations of uncertainty, instability, uniqueness, and value conflict” (p. 49).
The method of collecting data is semi-structured interviews with 32 teachers working in Swedish lower secondary school. The teachers have been selected through a survey in which they have answered that they teach controversial sustainability issues and are interested to attend in follow-up interviews. The qualitative analysis of teachers’ self-reported teaching practises provide understanding of teachers’ manners of teaching controversial sustainability issues. The analysis utilised in this submission consists of a qualitative data analysis utilising Nvivo as analysis software. The qualitative data analysis consisted of first and second cycle coding. In first cycle coding the analysis utilised a study specific form of protocol coding, that is a coding that utilises pre-established codes as a form of deductive analysis (Miles et al., 2020, p. 66). The teachers’ description is analysed by a combination of political moves (Van Poeck & Östman 2019) and Political tendency (Håkansson et al 2018). Teachers’ political moves are distinguished in two broader categories with subcategories; the two broader categories distinguish moves that open for learning through politicising and moves that open for learning through depoliticizing. The political tendency consists of four categories. These different categories are: ‘democratic participation’, ‘political reflection’, ‘political deliberation’ (sub-divided into ‘normative deliberation’, ‘consensus-oriented deliberation’ and ‘conflict-oriented deliberation’) and ‘political moment’. Democratic participation focuses exclusively on the form and process of participation in democracy. It is a particular way of addressing the overall, shared question of how to organise social life, namely through a focus on how to distribute voices and power within the classroom and the school as an institution. Political reflections manifest the teachers’ aim of making students rationally reflect on controversial sustainability issues as social and shared issues. Political deliberation focuses on argumentation: to defend, for example, an opinion in light of a real or potential decision regarding how to organise a sustainable society. Political deliberation can be executed in three distinct ways in an educational context: normative deliberation, consensus-oriented deliberation and conflict-oriented deliberation. The fourth and last category, political moment, is a situation where students, unpredictable and unexpected, are hit by a strong emotional experience with the consequence that antagonistic relations of potential positions for socialisation are discovered.
This submission explores the development of professional knowledge regarding teaching controversial sustainability issues. Professional knowledge develops from analyzing teachers’ reflections on their judgements in and experiences of an educative political moment, under conditions of complexity and uncertainty, to identify manners of teaching controversial sustainability issues. In analysing teachers’ experiences of judging and acting in an educative moment it is not only possible to identify manners of teaching, but also identify new political moves and broaden and deepen the didactical model of political tendency as a co-construction based on teachers refection on their experiences of acting in a educative political moment. The submission contributes with different patterns of manners of teaching controversial sustainability issues including teaching traditions, political tendency and emotions. In that way, teachers’ reflections on their reflection in practice also contributes with professional knowledge how to use educative political moment to be creative and develop a democratic approach regarding “how to engage in dialogue with people whose values are different from one’s own and to respect them” (Kerr & Huddlestone 2015, p 11).
Håkansson, M., Van Poeck, K. & Östman, L.. (2018). The political tendency in Environmental and Sustainability Education. European Educational Research Journal. Vol 17(1), 91-111. DOI: 10.1177/1474904117695278 Kerr, D., & Huddlestone, T. (2015).. Living with Controversy: Teaching Controversial Issues Through Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights (EDC/HRE). Miles, M. B., Huberman, M. A., & Saldana, J. (2020). Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook (4th Edition). Sage. Munby, H., Cunningham, M., & Lock, C. (2000). School science culture: A case study of barriers to developing professional knowledge. Science Education, 84, 193–211. Munby, H., & Russell, T. (1992). Frames of reflection: An introduction. In T. Russel & H. Munby (Eds.), Teachers and teaching: From classroom to reflection. London: The Falmer Press. Schön, D.A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books. Schön, D.A. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Schön, D. A. (1992) The Theory of Inquiry: Dewey's Legacy to Education, Curriculum Inquiry, 22:2, 119-139, DOI: 10.1080/03626784.1992.11076093 Van Poeck, K. & Östman, L. (2017): Creating space for ‘the political’ in environmental and sustainability education practice: a Political Move Analysis of educators’ actions, Environmental Education Research, DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2017.1306835
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