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Researching pedagogies for sustainability in Australian bush kinder: A reflective analysis on a framework and methodologies

Full reference
Hughes, F. (2019). Researching pedagogies for sustainability in Australian bush kinder: A reflective analysis on a framework and methodologies. NZ International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 22(1), 1-14. Retrieved from https://www.childforum.com/research/2019-nz-international-early-childhood-education-journal/1685-sustainability-bush-kindergartens.html 

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Original Methodology Paper
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Researching pedagogies for sustainability in Australian bush kinder: A reflective analysis on a framework and methodologies

Fran Hughes
TAFE, New South Wales Australia

Abstract

While there is a growing awareness of the need for children to spend more time in natural settings, the pedagogical link between education for sustainability (EfS) and nature requires further investigation. The assumption that children’s connection with nature equates with EfS is a key issue, as is educators’ understandings of their own pedagogical roles in relation to a nature-sustainability nexus. This article is a reflection on the framework and methodologies used in a doctoral study which explored how the links between nature and sustainability are perceived by early childhood educators in bush kinder settings in Australia, and the implications for their pedagogy. Data was collected over an eight month period where insights into the perceptions of the educators about sustainability and nature pedagogies were gained. Guided by a social constructivist theoretical framework, a methodology based upon Participatory Action Research (PAR), Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and Case Study was employed. In particular, PAR and AI are methodologies that supported the educators’ agency in transformative change. Data collection methods included individual interviews, focus groups, educator reflective journals and researcher participant observation field notes. The focus of this paper is to report on an analysis of the study methodology and process of data collection.

Key words: Education for sustainability, bush kinder, PAR, AI, case study, pedagogy

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