From Oil to Soil. Learning for Sustainability and Transitions within the School Garden: a project of cultural and social re-learning

Donald S. Gray, Laura Colucci-Gray, Robert Donald, Aristea Kyriakou, Daniel Wodah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Profound socio-environmental changes taking place at a planetary scale are threatening food security (Godfray et al., 2011), with food production located at a critical nexus between land-use, reduced availability of fossil fuels and the urgent need to reduce emissions (Harvey & Pilgrim, 2011). While debates on food security and energy transitions proliferate in the scientific literature, policy discussions continue to focus on technical solutions, “without seriously engaging with the content and social practices of education for sustainable transitions” (Bangay & Blum, 2010, p. 335). In this context, school gardens are receiving renovated attention. Drawing on current drivers in Scottish policy seeking to tackle economic disadvantage and ‘close the attainment gap’, this project developed as a partnership between a teacher education institution, a non-governmental organisation, a city council planning and infrastructure department, and three primary schools in three regeneration areas of a city. Data were collected through a semi-ethnographic approach incorporating qualitative data obtained through observation schedules; visual data and interviews with teachers and pupils over the course of the project. By adopting a socio-material approach to the analysis, findings articulate the significant changes in both discourses and practices of learning associated with school gardening. Beyond the use of gardens as a context for delivering curricular outcomes and/or acquiring practical skills, tending to the gardens and growing food showed to contribute to the formulation of a learning aesthetics which foregrounds the centrality of the body in learning; acknowledges the living state of materials and positions children’s actions as a way of being and becoming into the world.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScottish Educational Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Apr 2019
EventXVIII IOSTE Symposium - Sweden, Malmo, SWEDEN
Duration: 13 Aug 201817 Aug 2018
https://ioste2018.weebly.com/

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sustainability
food
school
learning
municipal council
technical literature
teacher
primary school
pupil
education
aesthetics
land use
driver
infrastructure
energy
planning
discourse
interview
economics

Cite this

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title = "From Oil to Soil. Learning for Sustainability and Transitions within the School Garden: a project of cultural and social re-learning",
abstract = "Profound socio-environmental changes taking place at a planetary scale are threatening food security (Godfray et al., 2011), with food production located at a critical nexus between land-use, reduced availability of fossil fuels and the urgent need to reduce emissions (Harvey & Pilgrim, 2011). While debates on food security and energy transitions proliferate in the scientific literature, policy discussions continue to focus on technical solutions, “without seriously engaging with the content and social practices of education for sustainable transitions” (Bangay & Blum, 2010, p. 335). In this context, school gardens are receiving renovated attention. Drawing on current drivers in Scottish policy seeking to tackle economic disadvantage and ‘close the attainment gap’, this project developed as a partnership between a teacher education institution, a non-governmental organisation, a city council planning and infrastructure department, and three primary schools in three regeneration areas of a city. Data were collected through a semi-ethnographic approach incorporating qualitative data obtained through observation schedules; visual data and interviews with teachers and pupils over the course of the project. By adopting a socio-material approach to the analysis, findings articulate the significant changes in both discourses and practices of learning associated with school gardening. Beyond the use of gardens as a context for delivering curricular outcomes and/or acquiring practical skills, tending to the gardens and growing food showed to contribute to the formulation of a learning aesthetics which foregrounds the centrality of the body in learning; acknowledges the living state of materials and positions children’s actions as a way of being and becoming into the world.",
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