Relational epistemologies in land-based learning environments: reasoning about ecological systems and spatial indexing in motion

Priya Pugh, Megan McGinty, Megan Bang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social and cultural practices in learning settings are sites for leveraging and/or remediating sustainable and just conceptions of nature–culture relations to meet changing environmental demands of twenty-first century. In this study, we examine epistemic navigation among Indigenous youth in an outdoor, land based, STEAM (science, education, arts, math, and science) camp which not only leveraged nature-culture relations as part of critical engagement with socio-ecological systems, but also as a site for Indigenous resurgence and well-being in learning spaces. We take a microethnographic (Gee and Green in Rev Res Educ 23:119–169, 1998. https://doi.org/10.2307/1167289) approach to examine sense-making among three youth while engaged in a walking activity in which they were asked to embody a plant as part of cultural practices of reading the land. We found that the micro-practice of spatial indexing dynamically mediated sense-making about ecological systems as participants coordinated attention and observations between humans and more-than-human kinds. This form of sense making reflected both cultural and historical experiences, which students leveraged in their understandings of complex socio-ecological systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-448
Number of pages24
JournalCultural Studies of Science Education
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

Keywords

  • Ecological education
  • Indigenous education
  • Land-based education
  • Spatial indexing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies

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