McConnell Moroye, Christy
College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; School of Teacher Education, Educational Studies
Type of Resources
Place of Publication
University of Northern Colorado
Ecological place-based education is defined by the inextricable overlap of the places where society, politics, culture, and the environment meet in intricate and interdependent ways. It encompasses the development of the skills, knowledge, understanding, and characteristics that we need to live well on this earth and with one another. This research observed and evaluated the experiences, expectations, and practices of three traditionally minded teachers and the participant-researcher as they encountered and implemented ecological place-based education for the first time, in a new school. I used the methodology of educational criticism and connoisseurship, and I applied an ecological aesthetic framework to the analysis and interpretation. This study explored the experience of creating an ecological school and focused on the art and craft of the educators through an ecological aesthetic lens and Eisner’s school ecology. Of particular interest were the participants’ intentions and expectations in their roles, as well as how they were or were not realized within their teaching practice. Participants’ intentions illuminated themes of hopeful vision, holistic learning, and responsive action; imaginative diligence, open-hearted connection, and deliberate spontaneity emerged as expressions of teaching artistry in action. The import of using magical realism within educational criticism was also examined with a focus on improving education. The implication could influence teacher preparation and professional development programs. In particular, the findings suggest a need to meet teachers where they are with regards to developing educators’ knowledge of place, ecological mindedness and understanding, and celebrating their personal professional growth, no matter how small. Additionally, recommendations are offered with regards to institutional and educational design to support ecological place-based education across the curriculum.
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