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Trading Zones in Environmental Education

Creating Transdisciplinary Dialogue

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Edited By Marianne E. Krasny and Justin Dillon

Environmental educators often adhere to a relatively narrow theoretical paradigm focusing on changing attitudes and knowledge, which are assumed to foster pro-environmental behaviors, which, in turn, leads to better environmental quality. This book takes a different approach to trying to understand how environmental education might influence people, their communities, and the environment. The authors view changing environmental behaviors as a «wicked» problem, that is, a problem that does not readily lend itself to solutions using existing disciplinary approaches. The book as a whole opens up new avenues for pursuing environmental education research and practice and thus expands the conversation around environmental education, behaviors, and quality. Through developing transdisciplinary research questions and conceptual paradigms, this book also suggests new practices beyond those currently used in environmental education, natural resources management, and other environmental fields.
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Chapter 1. Art and Environmental Education Research: Reflections on Participation: Joseph E. Heimlich and Mary Miss

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Chapter 1

Art and Environmental Education Research: Reflections on Participation

Joe E. Heimlich and Mary Miss

Learning is a sensory experience, and the arts can provide entry to meaning through sensory engagement. Both art education and environmental education rely heavily upon the sense of the visual and the essence of connecting to a place or an idea. By presenting and laying bare some of her thoughts behind major environmental installations, an artist created a platform for discussing what environmental education research can learn from art and art education, and also an opportunity to discover those insights from environmental education research that could inform the practice of art education.

Mary Miss, an artist working out of New York City, and Joe E. Heimlich, a professor at Ohio State University, had a virtual discussion using works of Mary’s that she felt were tied to the three overarching themes that frame the chapters of this book. The goal was to consider how environmental education research and practice could be informed by using art. The process was a critical reflection on the field of environmental education research in order to provide insights into what art education and environmental education research can learn from each other. An unintended outcome was a shift in perception during the writing of this chapter; we both came away with more questions, and at least for Joe, with a different understanding of the work of environmental education.

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