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

Paper


Ryan, Lisa. 2022. "Global Imaginaries of the Eco-Schools Teacher: A postcolonial discourse analysis." 11th World Environmental Education Congress. Prague, Czech Republic 14 - 18 Mar 2022
Paper/Presentation Title

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

Presentation TypePaper
Authors
AuthorRyan, Lisa
Year2022
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttps://weec2022.org/the-congress/about-weec/
Conference/Event11th World Environmental Education Congress
Event Details
11th World Environmental Education Congress
Event Date
14 to end of 18 Mar 2022
Event Location
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.

Keywordsenvironmental educators; Foundation for Environmental Education’s (FEE) Green Flag Eco-Schools Program; Eco-Schools
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390105. Environmental education curriculum and pedagogy
390307. Teacher education and professional development of educators
390203. Sociology of education
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Education
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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