The ignorant environmental education teacher: students get empowered and teach philosophy of nature inspired by ancient Greek philosophy
– New EER Article Alert
Pages: 1-13 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1249457
This paper presents an attempt to apply Jacques Rancière’s emancipatory pedagogy of ‘the ignorant schoolmaster’ to environmental education, which emphasises environmental ethics. The paper tells the story of a philosophy of nature project in the framework of an environmental adult education course at a Second Chance School in Greece, where adult students researched ancient Greek philosophy of nature, discovered and adopted environmental values and taught their schoolmates. The paper presents the findings of this pedagogical experiment and evaluates the benefits and the skills that students can acquire through emancipatory pedagogy and through peer teaching and learning. Α cross-disciplinary combination of emancipatory pedagogy, environmental education, philosophy of nature and environmental ethics that can empower students and strengthen their environmental conscience with emphasis in ecocentric and ecojustice values is proposed. Τhe role of the teacher as a student, who continues to investigate and learn, trusting the intelligence and the abilities of his/her students is also examined. Furthermore, it is argued that there is a need to focus on the role of philosophy of nature and environmental ethics in environmental education and, because of its wealth and subtlety, ancient Greek philosophy can contribute to this emancipatory, environmental education paradigm.
Keywords: Environmental education, Rancière’s emancipatory pedagogy, ancient Greek philosophy, empowerment, peer teaching and learning