Ecocritical Dialogues in Education

– A methodological cross-curricular tool to promote teaching qualifications for sustainable development

Ecocritical Dialogues in Education (ECO-DIALOGUES) addresses the need for a collective and interconnected engagement within the UN’s Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). ECO-DIALOGUES’ main research question is how can we promote teaching qualifications for sustainable development? ECO-DIALOGUES aims to integrate the new cross-curricular theme of sustainable development into Norwegian teacher education. The main objectives are to develop and implement ecocritical dialogues as a new methodology in the Norwegian five-year teacher-training master programmes and to analyse how this methodology enables teacher educators and student teachers to plan, implement, and assess teaching practices concerning sustainable development as a cross-curricular theme. ECO-DIALOGUES argues that teacher educators and student teachers need cross-curricular methodological tools, a reflective and nuanced language, and competences in how to develop their teaching practice to handle the educational challenge that climate change represents. The collaborative implementation of ecocritical dialogues in Norwegian teacher education will provide awareness of climate change and biodiversity issues and invite reflection on ecological relations to open new perspectives on sustainability thinking with relevance for primary and lower secondary education. In order to answer the overarching research question, the project consists of four complementary work packages that explore different places of practice in the ecopedagogical field. The main methods, being close reading, ecocritical literature circles and conversations, and ecocritical lesson studies, create an approach of methodological triangulation in the overall project. The data collected will consist of questionnaires, logbooks, focus-group interviews, and transcribed recordings of ecocritical dialogues, which will be analysed using thematic analysis.

ECO-DIALGUES is designed to foster teaching skills in Norwegian teacher education to promote sustainability competence, in line with UN’s educational goals for sustainable development (ESD). The project creates ecocritical dialogues as an operational methodological tool. Main short-term impact will be the adoption of ecocritical dialogues in the course plans and curriculums in Norwegian teacher education (MGLU), as well as improved terminology coherence relative to ESD between educational institutions and school owners and improved cross-sectoral cooperation on ESD. Additional impact is on international research through the dissemination of findings and results. Long-term impact will be new teaching practices contributing to the implementation of a national policy on ESD, an international reference work on eco-pedagogy and transformed ESD standards in teacher education nationally, with global relevance.

The main methods, being close reading, ecocritical literature circles and conversations, and ecocritical lesson studies, create an approach of methodological triangulation in the overall project, with potential for the various approaches to draw on the Nat-Cul Matrix, as a common point of reference.

Relevant sources
Alexander, R (2008). Towards dialogic teaching : rethinking classroom talk. Cambridge: Dialogos.

Goga, N. (2019). Økokritiske litteratursamtaler – en arena for økt bevissthet om økologisk samspill?. Acta Didactica, 13(2), DOI: https://doi.org/10.5617/adno.6447

Guanio-Uluru, L. (2019). Education for Sustainability: Developing Eco-Critical Literature Circles in the Student Teacher Classroom. Discourse and Communication for Sustainable Education, 10(1), 5-19. DOI: 10.2478/dcse-2019-0002

Littleton, K. & Mercer, N. (2013). Interthinking. Putting Talk to Work. London and New York: Routledge.

Mercer, N. (2000). Words and Minds: How We Use Language to Think Together. Oxon and New York: Routledge.

Røskeland, M. (2018). Natur i litteraturen. Økokritisk litteraturundervising med døme frå diktsamlinga Eg er eg er eg er. I K. Kverndokken (Red.), 101 litteraturdidaktiske grep (s. 39-56). Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.