Transforming the (Teacher) Educator Through Ecojustice and Decolonization

Meredith Joy Lemon

Abstract


Transformative Inquiry (Tanaka, 2015) can be a methodological ally in critical education that addresses systems of oppression. Transformative Inquiry (TI) actively decenters institutional knowledge by placing one’s intuitions and embodied experiences and classroom observations on an equal footing with the academic literature. The process draws heavily upon Indigenous methodologies and pedagogies, specifically, relational accountability. This paper reports how using TI challenged the author’s previously held Western cultural beliefs around scientism and individualism. It also reports on selected experiences from the author’s teaching career, salient public pedagogy moments and conversations with fellow critical ecojustice educators that helped decolonize her thinking and made her more aware of eco-cidal neoliberal structures often overlooked, like the Janus-face of science. Data are still being collected as the research process is (and always will be) ongoing. However, initial results point to an increased understanding of unjust local power structures and habits of mind and the need for courage in pointing them out. These results also suggest the necessity of speaking out in allyship with oppressed groups who may not have a voice and using the author’s white privilege to make and hold space for everyone to be heard. This study is about how one scientist-turned-educator used TI to learn from and with others about how to decolonize her mind and unlearn Western, eco-cidal, neoliberal norms that have created the conditions for current socio-ecological crises.

Keywords


transformative inquiry; ecojustice; decolonization; ecofeminism; neoliberalism

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