discourse - practice gap


Espoused concern about environment does not always translate into pedagogical practice. This research, which began as a focused study examining the motivations and practices of outdoor/environmental education teachers, suggests to me that even among the most motivated, a significant gap may still exist between the rhetoric and reality of environmental education research, teachers' expressions of concern, and environmental education practice (see Barrett, 2007). I find myself wondering what might be happening for those who are determined to work 'against the grain' but still struggle to do so.


I also wonder whether, through its reinscription of humans as the unmarked norm, and non-human Others as lacking consciousness, much well-intentioned environmental education and research may actually reinscribe the socially constructed binary between humans and the more-than human world. This suggestion does not deny the unavoidable anthropocentrism associated with human thought, action and positioning (Plumwood, 2002), but rather identifies a need to be more attentive to the effects of this positioning as it plays out in language and everyday practices in education and research. For instance, even the field of ecology may be undercutting its own attempts to establish respectful relations and a desire to preserve. As Evernden (1993) puts it: "[t]o describe a tree as an oxygen-producing device or a bog as a filtering agent is equally violent, equally debasing to being itself" (p. 23).