Global Imaginaries of the Eco-Schools Teacher: A postcolonial discourse analysis

Ryan, Lisa ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0688-0945 (2022) Global Imaginaries of the Eco-Schools Teacher: A postcolonial discourse analysis. In: 11th World Environmental Education Congress, 14 March - 18 March 2022, Prague, Czech Republic.


Abstract

Introduction: Environmental educators can be thought of as being shaped by a complex interplay of discourses working across global to local scales. This is particularly evident for environmental educators participating in global environmental education programs such as the Foundation for Environmental Education’s (FEE) Green Flag Eco-Schools Program. The influence of Eco-Schools extends into 56 000 schools across 70 participating countries. Global programs and initiatives can be viewed as being especially powerful in their tendencies to imagine, define and shape subjects in particular ways. Research Question: The key research question this paper therefore explored through this presentation is 'How does the FEE Ecoschools Program ‘imagine’ (and discursively shape) Ecoschool teachers as particular types of environmental educators?' Methodology: Drawing on the South African Ecoschool program as a case study of a global EE program, our research applies a novel postcolonial discourse analysis methodology, which is particularly suited to analyses of power and agency, to unpack how environmental educators are discursively constructed. We do this through analysing a range of significant policy documents, promotion initiatives, information packages and curriculum resources guiding the practice of environmental educators participating in this program. We also interviewed Ecoschools teachers working in South Africa as a specific localised case study to understand the impact of these global discursive imaginings at a local scale. Findings: Our findings reveal three key discourses that together work to ‘imagine’ Ecoschools teachers: active citizenship; ecological modernisation and commodification. Through these discourses ecoschools teachers are imagined variously as democratic educators, environmental managers and brand advocates. We argue that these imaginaries are powerful shapers of eco-schooling identity and practice and set the standard for emulation inviting others to adopt and ‘mimic’ ideas about what it means to be the ‘ideal’ Eco-school teacher. Conclusion and recommendations: Our findings raise questions for FEE about the kinds of Eco-schooling identities it promotes globally, the extent to which these discourses reflect limited educational and ecological identities and the possible effects this may have on their teachers who inhabit vastly different contexts.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 23 May 2022 02:06
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2022 01:50
Uncontrolled Keywords: environmental educators; Foundation for Environmental Education’s (FEE) Green Flag Eco-Schools Program; Eco-Schools
Fields of Research (2020): 39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390105 Environmental education curriculum and pedagogy
39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390307 Teacher education and professional development of educators
39 EDUCATION > 3902 Education policy, sociology and philosophy > 390203 Sociology of education
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1603 Teaching and curriculum > 160302 Pedagogy
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/48515

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