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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Inspiring awareness: Using life writing in ecological education
by Dickinson, Christina, M.A., Prescott College, 2010, 145; 1475870
Abstract (Summary)

Often when ecological problems and crises are discussed, it is in terms of scientific causes and solutions. What role then, do those who are not scientists have in helping to resolve ecological issues? Ultimately, human actions are the root cause of these situations and thus can be influenced through education. Ecological education hopes to influence the thought processes of students in order to create individuals who are more aware of their actions' influence on others. Over the past 50 years, many literary scholars have been analyzing the portrayal of nature in writing, but how does literature play a role in ecological education? After reading theory produced in ecocriticism, ecopoetics and ecocomposition, I found that many individuals teaching courses in these fields are also searching for the best ways to utilize literature. By applying research from environmental education, I theorize that life writing can be utilized in ecological education to inspire awareness in students that can ultimately lead to action. I wrote my own memoir, chronicling my path to ecological awareness, as an example of the kind of writing that educators could ask students to produce or that could be read in classes to allow students to relate to the accounts of others. Literature can play a role in ecological education in many ways, but as a tool for informing students who are just beginning to find awareness, it can help students discover a bridge between the knowledge they are gaining and their emotional well-being. This research could influence teachers of writing and literature, as well as writers themselves, to focus on texts that share personal stories of relationships to nature or ecological growth in order to help students connect their experiences.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Stefani, Victoria
Commitee: Aldern, Jared, Bishop, Melanie
School: Prescott College
Department: Humanities
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 48/05M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Language arts, Environmental education, Sustainability
Keywords: Ecocritical pedagogy, Ecological autobiography, Ecological education, Environmental education, Life writing, Memoir
Publication Number: 1475870
ISBN: 978-1-109-75827-6
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