Desktop version

Home arrow Education

  • Increase font
  • Decrease font

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Place as agentic

In some case studies, place is agentic in the ways that it is enacted in relation to children and sustainability learning, and in others place is enacted as made. While these share many common elements an examination of the differences helps to reveal aspects of place in sustainability education. The elements of place are clearly agentic in the study where Lulu makes a birthday cake with jacaranda flowers and dirt. The fallen flowers invite the very precise movements of Lulu's hands and fingers opening the throat of the purple flowers. The loose dry dirt is fitting for a cake and the dry leaf stalks for their placement as candles. The combination of these elements produces both child's actions and the imaginary cake. The sensory qualities of the soft purple petals gone flat on the ground and made beautiful on the cake are part of the affective pleasure of this mutual encounter. The same is true of Harry's attraction to the translucent red currants hidden in the bush, 'They're like little planets, sea creatures that you see down in the depths where no light happens.' The currants' sensory appeal produces his desire to draw and he now draws each time he comes to the kitchen garden. Thomas is enthralled by the colour of flowers added to the salad they prepare and by the multiplicity of form in 'carrots, Italian greens, fennel, rhubarb and lots of other stuff'. Colour, variety, taste and communality combine in his becoming - as a child, as an avid cook adding to his Italian family feasts. The material qualities of the places call forth children's responses and move them deeply.

In conceiving of place as Country, both the force of place itself and its representational powers are included in a single concept. Country is imagined as producing its representations, and these representations have an ongoing force in the wellbeing of place. Each time a representation of place is generated from children's deep immersion in the material qualities of a place, creation is produced over and over again. The children's place learning maps in Chapter 4 can be read as being produced from Country. Callum's map is dominated by a beautifully formed black swan reminiscent of the swans that are the ontological basis of Chrissiejoy's attachment to the Country of the Narran Lake in which swan, lake and person are one. In the intense focus on the intimate depiction of swanness, Callum has captured the way that in the act of drawing swan, child and swan become one. In this moment of creation, the place, child and swan are sung into being for the wellness of both children and Country. This can be true of any representation that comes from a self absorbed in experiences of Country.

In all these examples the pedagogical possibilities of place are produced by the forms and forces of the world. Children learn through their direct relation with the elements of place.

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Related topics