This past week has been a whirlwind of work on my concentration. Through numerous meetings, dozens of explanations, and hours of reading, I am finally beginning to feel more comfortable with my concentration. I now have a few contacts at the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Teaching who have connections to New Zealand as well as a few connections back where I interned in California. It was very validating to hear that other people are interested in environmental education and ethnic studies. Specifically, I hope to study how indigenous cultures that have a connection to the earth affect values and perceptions as children grow up. From there, I hope to connect it to the importance of environmental/place-based learning on developing attitudes geared towards environmental stewardship. Many of these ideas are not very tangible, and understandably raise some questions. In this post, I will attempt to raise some of the most important questions related to the merging of these topics.
These questions are meant to describe what is going on. In terms of a lab report, this is the background. These questions aim to set the reader up for success. What is the relationship between indigenous peoples and a deeper connection to the land? What effect does exposure to place-based education from a young age have on children as they grow up and become global citizens? Does a connection to the land dictate a devotion to environmental issues? What is the relationship between place-based education and environmental stewardship?
The explanatory questions aim to ask “why is this happening?”. This is, in some ways, the procedure of the lab report, if we are sticking to that model. Why aren’t people spending very much time outside anymore? How do the education systems in place today promote individualism, and what effect does that have on environmental stewardship? How does environmental education vary by location?
Evaluative questions are there to determine the extent to which the topic is a problem. What effect does exposure to place-based education from a young age have on children’s perceptions of the environment? Could place-based education in places with strong indigenous cultures promote a more environmentally conscious population?
Instrumental questions speculate about solutions. Can a deep connection to the land from a young age foster more environmentally conscious adults? Does community-based learning promote long-term environmental stewardship? How can we motivate people on a deeper level to take care of the world we live in? How can we integrate the respect that indigenous peoples have for the land into the post-industrialized world?