Immigrant children promoting environmental care: enhancing learning, agency and integration through culturally-responsive environmental education
- paper in the current issue
Natasha Blanchet-Cohen & Rosemary C. Reilly
Pages: 553-572 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1153046
This paper examines the potential of culturally-responsive environmental education to engage immigrant early adolescents. Our study suggests that environmental involvement can become a means and an end for children to bridge their school and home in agential ways. Drawing from a multi-phase study involving focus groups with children, parents, and teachers from three culturally-diverse schools in Montreal, as well as a green action research project, we examine children’s role as environmental educators and ambassadors. The role of environmental ambassador allowed children to take on positions that departed from conventional parent-child social scripts, and enhanced the communication between school-student-home, between generations, and spoke to their sense of place. We contend that culturally-responsive environmental education offers a unique space for enacting democracy, knowledge creation and integration, but this opportunity is often squandered. Bi-directional, responsive, and consistent home-school-community-place relations need to be actively supported.
Keywords: environmental education, immigrant children, learning, culturally-responsive, agency, intergenerational