Science, Maths Technology and Then What? A Classroom Teacher's Reflections on Learning Sustainability
Key Centre for School Science and Mathematics, Curtin University of Technology
Faculty of Regional Professional Studies
Regional Professional Studies Deans Office / Centre for Sustainable Regional Futures
This paper is a report on the author's 2004 and 2005 action research, which was implemented while working as a middle and upper primary school teacher. The place is a new school in a new suburb in a cleared forest by the sea in south west Western Australia, one of the top twenty-five ecological hotspots in the world. The children in the 2004 research regenerated their consumerist, unsustainable culture through a variety of electronic technologies, particularly soapies, sport and 'reality' shows on television. Families reinforced this consumerism. During the course of the year the author and the children completed many excellent educational tasks including studying their cultural histories and planting a garden as a place for science, maths, solace and relationship building. The children achieved good results in state- based testing. On reflection however, the 'business-as-usual' status quo was merely reinforced. In response to this, the author explored the work of sustainability learning theorists to situate and rework ideas of reconnective learning and its significance in science and technology education. Finally, the author reports on the progress of a collaborative 2005 action research project with a new group of children and a revised approach which applied reconnective learning. The author describes a variety of examples in which she has used this new orientation which is implemented through the culture and active citizenship outcomes of the mandatory Western Australian curriculum.