Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Envisioning Educating-With - and Supporting the Detox of Dependency in Learners to Nurture Ecofractal Networks of Interconnected Imagination

Grading and evaluation are troubling topics in regenerative education. If we are deeply committed to students moving from intrinsic motivation, interest, and curiosity, yet teach within dominant-culture organizations, what are we to do? 

Students have been enculturated in external locus of control evaluation. I'm teaching a class right now where the students develop their own rubrics for deep self-evaluation. Yet some students continue to not show up as much as they would, not contribute as much as they would than if every discussion and activity had specific points associated with it. The reductionism, hierarchy, and externalization of value intrinsic to dominator culture education structures would tend toward classrooms of dis-integrated nodes of action that can be independently enumerated. 

I imagine co-designing with students a detox regimen where they can reorient around intrinsic motivation and geared toward interconnective co-creative explorations.  

Artwork by Barbara Wildenboer (Link)

In kinds of regenerative education informed by power-with, we might instead envision eddies and flows of integrating discussion across multiple activities and readings, and a connectivist ethos of collaborative inquiry. I fantasize mycelial rubrics of connection and collaboration and mutual making. How can we co-generate networks of fresh connection and co-nurturing extensions of knowledge? ...And what software, rather than the hyperstructure of Canvas or the dungeons of diffraction in Moodle, might support such network making? A mashup of decentered mindmapping and rich media? Perhaps with "scores" for fluidity, flexibility, originality, and elaboration? Via citations, quotes at nodes, plus rich multimedia content, original drawings at nodes? And what about metapatterns of an ecofractal nature rather than simple radiance? A regenerative educator can always dream...

Monday, November 8, 2021

Regenerative Teaching for Oracular Futures - A Recent Proposal on Oracular Poems of Intersectional Climate Justice Futures: Ecotopia v Zombie Apocalypse

 Source: Deep Blutopia, San Diego 2121, Alan Marshall (Link)

I recently drafted this proposal for a 2022 International Poetic Inquiry conference. It relates to inviting people into playing a multi-day collaborative writing game I created called "Ecotopia Versus Zombie Apocalypse" (Game Guidelines here: https://www.earthregenerative.org/ecotopiavzombie/game


Starting with a couple of motivating quotes by Kagawa and Selby (2009) and Haraway (2017):

“Wherever it takes place, climate change education needs to be a social and holistic process… Looming rampant climate change calls for flexible learning and emergent curriculum approaches that embed climate change learning and action within community contexts…. The threat is also too urgent to any longer continue with epistemologically under-dimensioned learning confined to rational, linear, classificatory, and mechanistic ways of knowing and seeking to effect change. Employed exclusively, even predominantly, such ways of knowing are tantamount to applying disease as remedy. There is a need for the complementary and recursive use of artistic, embodied, experiential, symbolic, spiritual, and relational learning, especially in the vital task of reconnecting learners to the earth while enabling them to discover their (connected) identity and realize their full potentials.”  

(2009, pp. 242-243, Fumiyo Kagawa & David Selby, “Climate Change Education: A Critical Agenda for Interesting Times”)

“We relate, know, think, world, and tell stories through and with other stories, worlds, knowledges, thinkings, and yearnings. So do all the critters of Terra, in all our bumptious diversity and category-breaking compositions and decompositions. Words for this might be materialism, evolution, ecology, sympoiesis, history, situated knowledges, animism, and science art activisms, complete with the contaminations and infections conjured by each of these terms. Critters are at stake in each other in every mixing and turning of the terran compost pile. We are compost, not posthuman; we inhabit the humusities, not the humanities. Philosophically and materially, I am a compostist, not a posthumanist. Beings – human and not – become with each other, compose and decompose each other, in every scale and register of time and stuff in sympoietic tangling, in earthly worlding and unworlding. All of us must become more ontologically inventive and sensible within the bumptious holobiome that earth turns out to be, whether called Gaia or a Thousand Other Names.” (Donna Haraway, 2017, p. M45)

Polychordal exuberance and post-apocalyptic incantation presage the way AnzaldĂșan queer-magical nepantlera poets (Anzaldua) cross the borderlands of transtemporal and transpatial climate justice to forge fresh futures. Macy (2020) asks, what might the future beings 200 years from now know about our contemporary acts of courage and bravery that help bring about their survivance? In the vicinity of Tsing’s monsters of the Anthropocene (2017) and Harawayian compostist future fictioning in the Cthulucene (2016), I explore the accounts incubated in graduate classrooms beyond the “zombie” wars, with intersectional ecofeminist, ecopsychological, climate justice, and queer ecological lenses. Using poetic inquiry methods, I share poems and intercepts from the struggles of the emergent future. Layering texts co-created with mythic beings, earth dwellers, and zombies, crafted by graduate students in intersectional ecofeminisms and sustainability innovation: fresh possibilities arise. How can we bust beyond binaries and imagine our way into the emergent unknown, leveraging patterns from biocultural and nature-based regeneration as templates for fresh possibilities? And how can the fruits of these fresh disjunctures and ethical rearrangements invite us into futures worth inhabiting? Listen, listen - a la Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ “Evidence” (2015) and M Archive: After the End of the World (2018) -  to the voices of the future beings, breathing their blessings, offering their encouragements and clarifications. Can poetry and creative writing direct a kind of distributive justice? At the quickening sensefield matrix, the intersectional juncture, the ecotonal deltaflux, tuned to sensitive sensing through poetic entrainment, we time travel and inmerge to greater wholeness. 


Partial References

Ambrose, Don. “Utopian Visions: Promise and Pitfalls in the Global Awareness of the Gifted.” Roeper Review, 30:52-60, 2008. doi: 10.1080/02783190701836460

Bigelow, Bill, and Tim Swinehart, Editors. A People’s Curriculum for the Earth: Teaching Climate Change and the Environmental Crisis. Milwaukee: Rethinking Schools, 2014. 

Canty, Jeanine. “Seeing Clearly Through Cracked Lenses.” In Ecological and Social Healing: Multicultural Women’s Voices. Edited by Author, 23-44. New York: Routledge, 2017. 

Davies, Kate. Intrinsic Hope: Living Courageously in Troubled Times. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers, 2018.

Gardiner, Stephen Mark. A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Gumbs, Alexis Pauline. “Evidence.” In Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. Edited by Walidah Marisha and adrienne maree brown, 34-41. Oakland: AK Press, 2015. 

Gumbs, Alexis Pauline. M Archive: After the End of the World. Durham: Duke University Press, 2018.

Haraway, Donna. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.

Haraway, Donna. “Symbiogenesis, Sympoiesis, and Art Science Activisms for Staying with the Trouble.” In Arts of living on a damaged planet: Monsters of the Anthropocene. Edited by Anna Tsing, Heather Swanson, Elaine Gan, and Nils Bubandt (Eds.), pp. M25-M50. University of Minnesota Press, 2017.

Hauk, Marna. “Ecotopia Versus Zombie Apocalypse: A Collaborative Writing Game: Game Guidelines.” Portland: Institute for Earth Regenerative Studies, 2018. Retrieved from earthregenerative.org/ecotopiavzombie/game

Hauk, Marna. “‘Resilient Patterns Within a Vaster Web of Knowing’ – Hope, Agentic Sustainabilities, and Regenerative Integration in Educational Encounters.” (Manuscript in revision). Portland: Institute for Earth Regenerative Studies, 2020. 

Hauk, Marna. “Ecotopia versus Zombie Apocalypse: Existential and Emotional Regeneration Through Collaborative Writing and Imagination.” Climate Justice Existential Toolkit. Edited by Jennifer Atkinson & Sarah J. Ray. In revision. 

Holmes, Christina. “Theorizing Ecofeminist Intersectionalities and Their Implications for Feminist Teachers.” In Mapping Gendered Ecologies: Engaging with and Beyond Ecowomanism and Ecofeminism. Edited by K. Melchor Quick Hall & Gwyn Kirk, 61-76. Lanham Maryland: Lexington Books, 2021.

Judson, G. “Re-imagining sustainability education: Emotional and imaginative engagement in learning.” Sustainability Frontiers, 205-220. Opladen: Barbara Budrich, 2015.

Kagawa, Fumiyo, and David Selby. “Climate Change Education: A Critical Agenda for Interesting Times.” In Education and Climate Change: Living and Learning in Interesting Times. Edited by David Selby and Fumiyo Kagawa, 241-243. Florence, Kentucky: Routledge, 2009.     

Krall, Florence. Ecotone: Wayfaring on the Margins. Albany: SUNY, 1994.

Leetch, Mandy. The​ ​Prophetesses​ ​at​ ​Play: Collaborative​ ​Storytelling,​ ​Mythic​ ​Justice,​ ​and​ ​Visioning​ ​Regenerative​ ​Futures [Conference Paper]. Association for the Study of Women and Mythology, 2018. 

Macy, Joanna, and Christopher Johnstone. Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re In with Unexpected Resilience and Creative Power (Rev. ed.). Novato, CA: New World Library, 2020. 

Macy, Joanna, and Molly Young Brown. Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work that Reconnects (Rev. ed.). Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers, 2014.

Olsen, Andrea. Body and Earth: An Experiential Guide. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2020. 

Sameshima, Pauline, Alexandra Fidyk, Kedrick James, and Carl Leggo. (Editors). Poetic Inquiry: Enchantment of Place. Wilmington, Delaware: Vernon Press, 2017. 

Selby, David, and Fumiyo Kagawa. “Drawing Threads Together: Transformative Agenda for Sustainability Education. In Sustainability Frontiers: Critical and Transformative Voices from the Borderlands of Sustainability Volume edited by the article authors, 277-280. Toronto: Barbara Budrich Publishers, 2015.

Sobel, David. “Climate Change Meets Ecophobia.” Connect, 2007(Nov/Dec), 14-21. 

Tsing, Anna, Heather Swanson, Elaine Gan, and Nils Bubandt (Editors.).  Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Monsters of the Anthropocene. University of Minnesota Press, 2017.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Sources of Strength for Regenerative Teaching and Learning 2: Intimations of the Ecopsychology of Deeper Learning

Given that educators have a desire to support students deepening beyond surface curiosity to deeper learning, what can ecopsychology offer?  What might deeper learning look like, including in online learning contexts?

As a follow-up to a recent post about grappling with grief as a way through to shifted perspectives and greater empathy, including grappling with Earth grief, I want to open an exploration of deeper learning. I noticed in two current online course discussions, how students can move towards convivial kibbitzing and avoid deeper lines of inquiry. 

 Is this because of a tension between relationship building and a fear of online attack, particularly because of intersectional dynamics with fewer interpersonal cues, including along dimensions of genders, sexualities, and social constructions of race? In feminist education this has sometimes been termed a "cozy" environment. We can all stay safe by agreeing, right? Here's a few online social technologies that can open things up:

  • Brave space guidelines can open up discussions (Backgrounder: Arao & Clemens, 2013; Guidelines for Brave Communication (AWARE-LA, n.d.)
  • Approaches that elicit deeper, creative and evaluative critical and innovative thinking, leveraging the inversion of Bloom's Taxonomy such that creative work is the zenith; its horizontalization in the Bloom's Rose (see Figure 2), applied to thinking and learning

Source: Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching, 

Source: Education Endowment Foundation (2018, 2021) - Source Page

Francis, 2016 - Source Article

Supporting students being metacognitive in their own teaching and learning has profound gains. I can model and encourage learners to dig deeper to ask creative questions (see EEF, 2021 Diagram above). These creative questions can catalyze mutual inquiries - very useful in generating deeper conversations. 
What might be an ecopsychological dimension to these questions that can take us deeper? I wonder how nimble perspective shifting, lithe creativity, and compassion sourced from the wellspring of ecoconnection and ecojustice ethics might support this deepening as well. How can we  with resilience. Perhaps we can apply these principles from Earthflow (Hauk, 2014, p. 361) to our shared explorations ...