Being-with Woodlands: heartfelt wisdom for ESD

Sharon Witt (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Inspired by Anderson 2012, Malone 2016, Pacini-Ketchabaw and Clark, 2014, we seek to pay new attention to environment-human co-being and co-construction that suggests a Common Worlds approach (Taylor, 2017) to Education for Sustainable Development. Our case study of practice illustrates researching and thinking differently with posthumanist and new materialist perspectives. We value the importance of paying attention to more than human elements within educational spaces. We propose learning and learning approaches that educate the emotions and foster responsive relationships within an inclusive community (Fielding 2012:6). Adopting a logic of mutual inclusion, we travel within communities of difference that respect rights, equality and diversity.
We draw on our work with undergraduate Initial Teacher Education (ITE) students and primary aged children in a woodland location. The woodland had much to teach us as we attuned and attended as responders, collectors, curators, followers, assemblers, storytellers, imagineers and map makers. We experienced the environment as a place for practical wisdom, where pedagogy emerged from the landscape itself, within assemblages of mutual entanglements. ITE students paid attention to children’s ‘intra-actions’ (Barad 2007: 141), as alternative thinking for ESD requires ‘practical wisdom of the most thoughtful and sophisticated kind’ (Havlick and Hourdequin, 2005: 386).
Our findings suggest that wisdom can emerge through affective more-than-human/human relationships. These multispecies encounters can make SDG4.7 come alive by encouraging student teachers and children to pay attention to human-nature relations through ‘learning from what is already happening in the world’ (Taylor, 2017:2). Collective woodland experiences that nurture entangled relationships with more-than-human others offer possibilities for engagement, action and heartfelt wisdom for ESD.
Period11 Sep 2018