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A pedagogy of connection and

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Title: A pedagogy of connection and


1
A pedagogy of connection and education for
sustainability Patrick Dillon Hunan
Perspectives on a Sustainable Future The 5th
Household Family Research Conference Savonlinna
June 2006
2
Why connection?
Because the big issues of our time, in both
education and sustainability, cross traditional
boundaries geographical, institutional,
disciplinary, conceptual
3
  • Outline of presentation
  • 1. An argument for connection
  • Two premises
  • (i) Nature Culture
  • (ii) Environment Individual
  • From which follows
  • Body Mind
  • 2. A pedagogy of connection
  • (i) A philosophy of integration
  • (ii) Making the connections

4
First premise
The ecological transition
Nature Culture
Pre-agricultural
Nature Culture
Post-industrial
5
A cultural-ecological map of England
6
Landscape character Physical features Historic
cultural influences Buildings and settlement Land
cover The changing countryside Shaping the future
7
Web-based multimedia for SMEs in countryside
sector
8
Early seminal work Mans Role in Changing the
Face of the Earth (1956)
 
Wide range of papers No unifying
framework Contributors included Carl Sauer
Clarence Glacken Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
H.C. Darby Lewis Mumford
9
Mumford In passing from the past to the future,
we pass from memory and reflection to observation
and current practice and thence to anticipation
and prediction this is a movement from the known
to the unknown, from the probable to the
possible But in fact these aspects of time and
experience cannot be so neatly separated. Some
part of the past is already present in the
future and some part of the future is already
present in the past.
10
Enter the social sciences   via
anthropology Bennett The Ecological Transition
(1976) The growing incorporation of nature into
culture
11
Over to the humanities
  • Geographer
  • Ian Simmons
  • Changing the Face of the Earth (1986)
  • Interpreting Nature (1993)
  • Humanity and Environment (1997)

The environment as a cultural construction -
extending the idea that there is no nature
independent of culture
12
And back to the social sciences
Cole, Cultural Psychology (1996)
The environment is psychological as well as
physical Cultures role in the mental life of
human beings
13
A modern synthesis Henry Plotkin, The Imagined
World Made Real (2003)
Our minds are powerfully formed by culture, which
is simultaneously constituted of individual
minds The understanding of a given individual is
uniquely determined by their particular
circumstances Intelligence is a special kind of
adaptation
14
Culture (and nature) situated
mutual PEOPLE
ENVIRONMENT transformation
15
Second premise mutual PEOPLE
ENVIRONMENT
transformation making meaning
interactions
transactions
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Making meaning
  • Processes through which meaning is established
  • Comparisons and associations with other places
    and other experiences
  • Reviewing what is known about the new place
  • Thinking about what new information is required
  • Engaging with the new place through all the
    senses
  • Reacting or responding to the new at both the
    conscious and sub-conscious levels
  • Making judgements based on knowledge and
    feelings

29
  • The meaning of meaning
  • Meaning is not just conceptual knowledge that can
    be verbalised. It is
  • The collective understanding captured in language
    and other social artefacts (the conventional
    definition of meaning) and the significance of
    that meaning to the individual concerned (i.e.
    the sense they make of it)
  • This view of meaning combines two intellectual
    traditions
  • Collective meaning the object(ive) or motive
    that gives collective activity its purpose
    (Leontev)
  • Understanding derived from personally
    significant experience (Dewey)

30
Connectedness of meaning
  • Connected meaning (leading to self
    transformation) can arise from any new situation,
    for example
  • The personal and intuitive meanings learners
    have of events and things
  • Meaning emerging from new instructional content
  • Meaning emerging from access to networked
    information
  • Meaning shared with friends, family, peers
  • (It follows from Deweys notion of self that
    meaning has a uniqueness to an individual even
    though it has collectively agreed elements)

The educational task is to facilitate connections
and transformations
31
Disciplines, analysis and hierarchical structures
for organising knowledge
Cross disciplinarity, transference, synthesis and
rhizomic structures for organising knowledge
  • Discipline-based teaching depends on having
    pedagogical content knowledge associated with
    discipline-specific knowledge
  • There should also be a pedagogy that is integral
    to integrative work in the curriculum I call
    this a pedagogy of connection

32
A pedagogy of connection
  • A means of conceptualising and facilitating
    integrative work. It utilises
  • A framework to establish contexts of connection
  • Interventions and tools for making connections

All are based in integrativism and sociocultural
theory
33
Integrative education
  • Integrative
  • the combination of diverse components of
    perception
  • Integration is needed
  • because there are no perfectly isolated things
  • because every property is related to other
    properties
  • because everything is a system or component of
    some system
  • to account for things that interact strongly
    with their environment

34
Intellectual traditions
  • Fluency - the flow of images and ideas across
    boundaries
  • Syncretism - putting together different forms of
    thought
  • Levi-Strauss - bricolage, moving ideas from
    the concrete to the abstract
  • Koestler - bisociation, thinking on more than
    one plane
  • Bohm implicate order, the enfolding of
    meaning
  • E.O. Wilson - consilience the fundamental
    principles underlying the unity of all knowledge

35
Academic traditions
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • transfer of methods from one discipline to
    another
  • Multidisciplinarity
  • researching in more than one discipline
    simultaneously
  • Transdisciplinarity
  • working between, across and beyond disciplines to
    find unifying frameworks
  • In educational terms these are cross-curricula or
    integrative

36
Designed interventions
Pre-intervention
37
Playful triggers
illustrations found objects game elements art or
sculptural objects gifts enabling-items ambiguous
objects, etc
trigger collaboration and discourse
38
Post-intervention
39
Tools of connection
comparison association analogy metaphor mapping bl
ending
40
  • Analogical reasoning
  • The processes involved in constructing an analogy
    and using it to
  • generate meaning
  • explain phenomena to others
  • gain a deeper understanding of phenomena
  • re-presenting phenomena across and between
    disciplines
  • forging new contexts and thus new meanings

41
Analogy(Evelyn Glennies Essay on Hearing)
Metaphor of music as life animated through
analogies
  • the musician painting a picture
  • the the language of music
  • hearing as a specialised form of touch

42
Hearing as touch Sound as vibrating air can be
detected by the entire body (the ear is a
specialised organ of reception) Correspondence
between hearing a sound and feeling a vibration
For most people feeling is confined to low
frequency vibrations (only because the ear is so
efficient at detecting the higher
frequencies) Glennie is able feel sounds of
different frequencies in different parts of her
body low frequencies in the legs and feet high
frequencies in the face, neck and chest
43
New technologies
  • Mudlarking in Deptford mobile technology to
    respond to and co-design local environment
  • http//www.nestafuturelab.org/showcase/mudlarking/
    mudlarking.htm
  • Future landscapes virtual modelling of influence
    of people on their environment
  • http//www.nestafuturelab.org/showcase/future_land
    scapes/future_landscapes.htm

44
 
45
Learning through connectedness Facilitating
connections involves finding ways of engaging
learners in consequential transitions where they
transform their understandings of themselves in
relation to their environment by connecting
personal sense and other kinds of meaning.
Consequential transitions are consciously
reflected on, struggled with.
46
  • Conclusion
  • Learning and teaching across and between
    disciplines requires a pedagogy of connection
  • The pedagogy
  • - is grounded in an integrative view of education
  • - has theoretical and practical bases in
    sociocultural theory
  • - involves recognising contexts and facilitating
    connections and transformations through
    interventions, tools, etc
  • Integrative work
  • - sees learning as inseparable from its contexts
  • - is evidenced through consequential transitions

47
My current work in this field is reported
in Green, H., Facer, K., Rudd, T., Dillon, P.
Humphreys, P. (2005) Personalisation and Digital
Technologies, available online at
http//www.futurelab.org.uk/research/personalisati
on/report_01.htm Loi, D. Dillon, P. (2006)
Adaptive educational environments as creative
spaces, Cambridge Journal of Education, 36 (3),
forthcoming. Dillon, P. (2007) Creativity,
wisdom and trusteeship in an ecological
perspective, in A. Craft, H. Gardner G. Claxton
(Eds) Creativity and Wisdom in Education (working
title). London, Corwin Press, forthcoming.
Earlier work, on a framework for educating
about culture, environment and technology as an
interdisciplinary field, is reported in Dillon,
P.J. (1993) Technological education and the
environment, International Journal of Science
Education, 15, 575-589.
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