Gadotti and Furman and Gruenewald

Maybe I am cheating by combining my responses to the two articles into one post, but as I read both of them first I thought of what providence in having these as our first two discussion texts since they complement each other so well and it also reminded me of the Santos (an earlier assigned text).  Santos writes about the dangers of what he calls “orthopedic thinking”—the constraint caused by reducing the existential problems to analytical and conceptual markers that are strange to them.  To me, this speaks to the deficit and myopic approaches that seem to plague the way current social and environmental issues are addressed—as if there is one cause and one solution.

Intersectionality and interdisciplinarity are two important themes that came to mind when I read these texts.  Both authors honed in on the importance of not only considering multiple factors when addressing any societal issue but also the need to rethink current assumptions, definitions and approaches to education and addressing current societal issues, especially those of injustice–whether we are speaking of social injustice or ecological injustice, or as Gruenewald and Furman urge us to do, thinking of issues within an ecojustice framework that interrelates the social and ecological–a human-within-environment approach.

Both of these article made me think of the need for authentic integrated approaches to education—that is having problem-based approaches to teaching and learning that allow students to learn about and address issues using an ecological framework that is reflective of the context in which the issue takes place. What does this look like?  I ask this both rhetorically and literally because, as both articles mention, this will require us to rethink the way we have been taught to view the world in a way that recontextualizes or “replaces” our learning in the communities, spaces and places where we enact our daily lives.

In relating this to doing research, I also think about having authentic research approaches that documents life as it unfolds or as it is lived.  Traditionally this is done with ethnographic approaches where one “lives” with research participants and documents their daily lives through observations, fieldnotes, formal and informal interviews, maybe with some digital recording assistance.  However with an important part of our daily lives being lived out in the digital world, what do these methodologies look like? In what ways does intersectionality play out in these digital spaces and how does that then intersect with physical lives experiences? Things to think about as educators and researchers as these worlds become increasingly venned.  When we are thinking about researching and addressing modern issues, it is going to become increasingly important in include a digital level—I believe.