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«Currere» and the Environmental Autobiography

A Phenomenological Approach to the Teaching of Ecology

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Marilyn N. Doerr

This book documents a high school ecology class that employs currere, William Pinar’s idea for curriculum as autobiographical text, and analyzes the course’s success from the author’s point of view as both the practitioner and the curriculum developer. Discussing individual students’ responses to currere in a project termed the Environmental Autobiography (EA) – a twist on currere that emphasizes environmental experience – this book examines how ecology is taught in high schools; how ecologists are produced, along with the importance of ecology in school curriculum today; the necessary preparation of the classroom and the students for the currere process; and the five themes that recur frequently in the EA project: caring, insecurity and gender issues, egocentrism, politicization, and definitions of success. ‘Currere’ and the Environmental Autobiography illustrates how the currere project brought an unprecedented richness and intensity to the ecology class, moving the students from «I know», to «I care», to «I want to do something about this».