- I will meet with important place-based/indigenous education people from the grad school (Greg Smith, Liza Finkel, Se-ah-dom Edmo) to discuss potential readings and/or questions to add to my concentration
- I will revisit my concentration questions and modify them as needed, taking into account some questions I’ve encountered while in New Zealand and in my science education class at LC
- I will explore methodologies of related literature and come up with potential research methodologies for my concentration
- I will continue to read more literature (3-5 articles) on place-based education to try to find a more focused area to explore
I recently took another look at the goals I made back in February, and I’m actually making good progress despite being worried about finding ways to move forward with my concentration. In terms of meetings, the focus of my concentration has changed so I met with Jim, Jessica, Liz, and Greg instead of the people who I proposed (although I work with Se-ah-dom in the CELS program and am in Liza’s Science Education class so I suppose I’ve been meeting with them anyway). Those meetings were incredibly helpful, and a very interesting experience. I met with everyone within a very short period of time, and it really helped to get a variety of viewpoints and opinions. Greg was helpful because he knew the community I had worked with in New Zealand so he could make observations and suggestions for potential projects, and I could talk to him about more overarching place-based education concerns. Jessica helped a lot with potential methodologies and types of questions to ask, as well as scope. She was really helpful to bounce different ideas off of after talking to Greg. Jim has been helpful all semester in connecting me with overarching themes that frame my ideas — he helped me think through the ideas of utopianism, dystopianism, and resilience, three theories directly tied to my new project. I’m excited to involve Liz in these early stages since she will be my thesis advisor, and talking with her made me realize broader implications for my research in the natural disaster preparedness realm. I was initially just thinking of it as a way to inform place-based education, but connecting it with natural disasters seems like an obvious and important outlet for my work with building resilient communities.
I’d say my concentration is evolving — I don’t feel comfortable changing the base questions, but I have new questions that will inform my research this summer, and I think this research is a bridge from my concentration to a thesis, so I feel like I’m moving forward. These questions have definitely been informed by my Environmental Theory class as well as my experiences in New Zealand, so I think I’ve successfully integrated various experiences and ideas from multiple concentration classes I’ve taken. This new project also involves a lot of ideas about multicultural education that I encountered in ED 205 and ED 446.
The methodologies that I proposed for my research this summer are semistructured interviews, a paper and electronic survey, and mental mapping. I’m especially excited about mental mapping, which is a technique used many times by behavioral geographers. In mental mapping, the interviewee is asked to draw a picture of their community. From what they include and exclude, the researcher can then deduce the important parts of a community that may not have come up in conversation. Mental mapping is also a way to access viewpoints of different people, especially children and people who aren’t as comfortable speaking English or being interviewed.
I’m feeling good about the direction of my concentration. It feels re-infused with fresh new ideas of resilience and utopian and dystopian senses of place, which I’m excited to learn more about. In my next post, I’ll describe some of the readings I’ve been doing related to my research.