In our own words: From actions to dialogue
This chapter will outline the role of life history/life story approaches to research and knowledge exchange within a community of learners comprising teacher educators, student teachers and children. My professional responsibility within this community includes developing programmes of citizenship education and programmes for personal, social and emotional development that support teachers and learners in reflecting on the consequences of their relationships and activities in the wider world. A specific focus is identified – the promotion of responsible engagement with local and global environments in the light of the climate changes that we are experiencing. A range of data is presented, taken from students’ written reflections about themselves as global citizens and from children’s reflections on the impact of the Royal Society of Arts ‘Arts and Ecology Project’ (2006) on their everyday lives. A framework for making sense of these personalised accounts is provided by my own reflexive responses presented as a series of autobiographical artefacts. These have been constructed in order to identify power relations and identity crises that lie at the roots of my own lifelong learning and participation in this field. In this way the effect and affect of powerful educational influences begin to emerge as personalised narrative strands that support understanding of a key question of our times: to what extent is sustainability a political or an educational issue? Within the context of this book the question could read: in what ways does dialogic exchange about our own lives create communities of learning and action for the planet that we inhabit?