For seminar – use your blog to record and respond to the following prompts:
The article suggests that a “critical pedagogy of place” aims to:
(a) identify, recover, and create material spaces and places that teach us how to live well in our total environments (reinhabitation); and (b) identify and change ways of thinking that injure and exploit other people and places (decolonization) (p.74)
1. List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative.
2. How might you adapt these ideas to considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?
1) Reinhabilitation and decolonization, while two independent terms, are very interlinked in terms of either being successful, as seen in the narrative written by Restoule, Gruner, and Metatawabin. Place, especially in the process of decolonization, provides a space for history, memory and recovery. In learning to connect with that place and essentially reinhabilitate oneself with it, decolonization is within that process, a hope to be achieved. The article brings up how they used the word paquataskamik, a Inninowuk (Cree) word that roughly translates to the english meaning of one’s natural environment. They go on to say that “when youth lose a sense of what paquataskamik is, they may begin to lose the connections that form the complex set of relations that bind them together in a historically and geographically informed identity,” (Restoule et alt). The process of reinhabilitation and decolonization is complicated when youth start to lose their connections to the natural world and the history that lies behind that place. If there are no opportunities for them to interact with place provided whether in school or outside, the connection is more easily served to a point where it becomes nearly impossible to fix in adult life.
2) The idea of place is something we have been studying in my Outdoor Education class since the beginning of semester. With the increasing problem of nature-deficiency with children, interacting with the natural and historical world has more importance than ever before. Because the world is becoming increasingly urbanized, we are losing our sense of what exists outside the city and technological. However, a variety of subject areas can benefit from using nature as a tool to learn. For example, social studies could be a study on a specific area, perhaps to see how terrain would have affected early settlers and indigenous communities. They could look at how indigenous peoples used their surroundings to survive off the land and how early settlers struggled in trying to bring techniques they used in their prior lands to Canada and how this hindered their development. Which then could lead into a talk about how environment affects life and the need for adaptation to place. From an English aspect, there is perhaps some more difficult connections to be made. Of course, using place as a central location for writing nature related works is the easy route, but I believe it would be important to complicate this and make the interactions with place more meaningful. Perhaps having students continuously return to a place over the course of a semester and log the changes both natural and unnatural, and reflect on how these changes occur and how it affects their view of the place. There are a number of considerations, but using space effectively can lead to all sorts of higher level learning and connections for students.