Term of Award

Spring 2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Marla Morris

Committee Member 1

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 2

Dan Rea

Committee Member 3

William Pinar

Abstract

In this dissertation I explore the intersections between curriculum studies and sustainability. The educational possibilities of intensifying our ecological attunement are investigated with a focus on advancing environmental sensitivity and place consciousness. More specifically, I inquire into the potentialities of embracing what I call a bioregional ecocurriculum for sustainability within the field of curriculum studies. I argue that curriculum studies is well positioned to respond to the ecological crisis and to contest the contemporary mechanistic form of education by returning to a more "wild" form of intellectual, spiritual, and ecological scholarship. By wild, I mean a more robust, original, resilient, and diverse curriculum. An eco-curriculum for sustainability embraces the kind of educational experiences that foster a greater sense of place within a more complicated, participatory, and democratic framework. An eco-curriculum has evolved as a form of education that responds to the need to understand and preserve the ecological complexities that help maintain and restore biospheric wellness. In the spirit of Gregory Bateson (1972), I posit that we need to strive to educate and theorize in ways that enable people to be aware of the "pattern that connects." When we recognize the pattern that connects, we learn the importance of relationships. I utilize an ecological worldview to look at the interconnection between environmental literacy and bioregional thinking. In the quest to advance sustainability and to "de-carbonize" our world, I posit that we need to help our students to cultivate a sense of place. I argue that when we are able to recognize and appreciate the nuances and particularities of our place, we are better situated to formulate an informed, inspired, and more appropriate response to the ecological crisis.

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