I was initially inspired for my creative journal when practicing stillness. Being still is something that has been close to my heart for a while, so much so in fact, that it is tattooed on my arm. Being still allows you to observe, and become closer and a little more understanding of things and beings other than yourself that are in your immediate presence. In respect to environmental education, being still in the outdoors causes me to feel a connection with the natural things. I sat and observed a lady bug running from one stick to the other in my hands. He ran, and ran, and ran. I started to think about what the lady bug was thinking about, and what I would do if I were him.
That little bug running for it’s life reminds me of running away from hard things in life. After reading the journal article by Liz Newberry, I had to ask myself if I would run away when teaching and discussing hard topics. I was quite challenged when I read this: “Put simply, it is easier to teach about the good stuff and so we more often do; but I believe that learning from and taking responsibility for the bad stuff is also necessary to processes of reconciliation.” (p. 33) I believe that Colonialism needs to be taught as a “matter of fact” topic. I believe the truth was camouflaged for a long time, and because of that truth, a large majority of the Canadian population have suffered and are still suffering effects. Newberry calls topics such as this “difficult knowledge.” I need to keep in mind that not all the learners in my class are going to react the same way that I would to the hard truths. Difficult knowledge can be emotional and trying for learners to engage with. Learning is individual, and the reactions will be different for everyone. Being mindful of the different ways that learners will react to difficult knowledge is something I see myself naturally overlooking, and is something I need to be cognizant of in my future.
Newberry, L. (2012). Canoe Pedagogy and Colonial History: Exploring Contested Spaces of Outdoor Environmental Education. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 17, 30-45.