Project

Naming the world: Enhancing literacy and sustainability learning

Goal: The project aims to:
1. Investigate the ways children name their worlds in sustainability education
2. Document children’s growth over time in integrated literacy and sustainability learning
3. Articulate innovative methods and pedagogies for integrating literacy and sustainability learning
4. Develop theory to inform national and international policy and practice for 21st century learning imperatives

Date: 20 March 2016

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Project log

Sarah Powell
added 2 research items
This paper addresses the entanglements of the earth’s becoming in a multi site cross hemisphere study of the infinite moments of young children’s world making, recorded in multimodal videos, still images, and children’s productions. The postqualitative project was informed by new materialist and posthuman theorising. The researchers conducted their research at seven different early learning centres in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, and Finland. At the end of the project the researchers came together to make sense of the data across all sites and realised that their postqualitative data was BIG and that their ‘little big data’ was generated in the context of the increasing impact of ‘big Big Data¹.’ We discuss our approaches to posthuman and new materialist big data in order to create a conversation between the two and to highlight the alternative methodological processes we developed to make sense of large bodies of postqualitative data.
This paper explores the pedagogies of a Murrawarri/Dharug co-researcher enacted during three activities: becoming animal; welcome dance; and message sticks. We think-with Trist and consider the possibilities of being-Country in urban places. The research draws on data collected as part of Naming the World, an international project informed by posthuman and new materialist theorizing and Indigenous understandings of humans as fully intertwined with the world. We grapple with the intersection of posthuman and new materialist perspectives alongside Indigenous onto-epistemologies in early childhood education settings.
Margaret Somerville
added a research item
This lecture asks: How can education research address the big questions of our time, and what has politics got to do with it? It will trace moments and movements of researcher-(un)becoming to explore the (micro)politics of a lifetime of educational research. Politics is understood as both intimate and immense, as the intertwined politics of global conditions, and of the nation, with the intimately personal. It is about the researcher lives we all live. The approach was generated in a recent visit to Oulu, north Finland, where doctoral students asked me to present ‘tales’ of a researcher life. The lead student wanted to know how to manage a doctorate while raising three young children. As I have wandered back and forth over a lifetime of presentations, the shapes of key influences emerged. Relations with Aboriginal people and Country have been there since before the beginning, and are incorporated into my ways of being in the world. Feminist theories and their libidinal flows have been fundamental in shaping both my life and research, including their uneasy alliance with Aboriginal onto-epistemologies. Doctoral students have emerged as a strong generative force in my intellectual directions, moving me into all sorts of worlds I would never have entered otherwise. And finally, Place, the places where I have lived and worked have been the crucial grounding of my body and being, primal and prior, but also the basis of thought. In further elaborating these different influences, they culminate in the contemporary force of the Anthropocene, calling us to consider how the world is asking to be named, and how we can learn to be human differently, for the wellbeing of the planet. In developing this address into a paper, I have decided, in consultation with, and supported by the editor Nicole, to preserve its original content as far as possible. The knowledge contained in the address belongs with the oral performance and images as much as with the very few written words that were used in the powerpoint slides. A small selection of images is also included.
Sarah Powell
added a research item
This chapter takes the age of Anthropocene as the time of human entanglement in the fate of the planet, dated by some from the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We propose, however, that the full awareness of the consequences of this entanglement will only be felt by children born in the twenty-first century into an entirely different world than the one we know and understand. Interestingly, in the light of this contention, early childhood leads the field of educational research in posthuman scholarship, which we associate with the rise of scholarly work galvanised around the notion of the Anthropocene. These approaches draw variously on Haraway's common worlds, Barad's new materialism, and Deleuze and Guatarri's nomadic philosophies.
Sarah Powell
added a research item
For children born in the 21st century, the enmeshing of natural and human forces in the survival of the planet requires conceptual and practical innovation. This paper comes from a project funded by the Australian Research Council investigating the integration of literacy and sustainability in early years learning. The methodology employed was ‘deep hanging out’, the purpose of which is to observe without bias or assumption. This paper focuses on a video from a preschool depicting children playing drums and percussion instruments outside, in the playground. We consider the nature of literacy differently, conceptualizing literacy+sustainability within the context of the more-than-human, intra-active world. In our example, the drumming ebbs and flows in intensity, children come and go, rhythms merge then diverge; a chaos of sound and vibration, a refrain of rhythm, movement and bodies, driven by the excess of the earth’s energy and musical force. We see children communicate a sense of the world – with drums, each other, earth – sustained by the vitality of place, the materiality of drums and sound, the energy of earth and the movement of bodies. In this example, we extend the conversation around what literacy and sustainability might look like, offering possibilities for producing new knowledge about literacy and new understandings of sustainability.
Sarah Powell
added a research item
For children born in the 21st century, the enmeshing of natural and human forces in the survival of the planet requires conceptual and practical innovation. This paper comes from a project funded by the Australian Research Council investigating the integration of literacy and sustainability in early years learning. The methodology employed was ‘deep hanging out’, in which the purpose is to observe without bias or assumption. This paper focuses on a video from a preschool depicting children playing drums and percussion instruments outside. The drumming ebbs and flows in intensity, children come and go, rhythms merge then diverge; a chaos of sound and vibration, a refrain of rhythm, movement and bodies, driven by the excess of the earth’s energy and musical force. Amidst such cacophony children communicate their sense of the world – with drums, each other, earth, themselves – sustained by the vitality of place, the materiality of drums and sound, the energy of earth, and the movement of bodies. In this example, literacy and sustainability are challenged and extended, offering possibilities for producing new knowledge about literacy and new understandings of sustainability as young children develop their capacity as future citizens and leaders.
Sarah Powell
added an update
This project is led by Professor Margaret Somerville from Western Sydney University.
From this point onwards, project updates will appear in Margaret's ResearchGate profile on a weekly basis, so please access her profile for up-to-date information about this project.
 
Sarah Powell
added a research item
This paper contemplates the way children exist, interact and intra-act with their worlds. It seeks to think differently about data and engages with the work of Deleuze, particularly grappling with his conception of ‘becoming’ and the ways in which children name their worlds and intra-act with natural entities. The paper emerged from conversations that occurred within a research collective and is informed by this collective’s broader research theme, world-naming. It also considers the Deleuzian notion of sense as it explores a single piece of data: a song created and performed by one child, recorded in her bedroom on the family iPad. The song is about the bush and the importance of trees.
Sarah Powell
added a project reference
Sarah Powell
added a project goal
The project aims to:
1. Investigate the ways children name their worlds in sustainability education
2. Document children’s growth over time in integrated literacy and sustainability learning
3. Articulate innovative methods and pedagogies for integrating literacy and sustainability learning
4. Develop theory to inform national and international policy and practice for 21st century learning imperatives