Art Teachers’ Education for Environmental Awareness. What is Hidden in Nature that we have never Seen or Heard?
It is argued here that teacher education needs to make a fundamental shift in the types of knowledge and experience that count as valuable for future teachers. The article reflects on some aspects of a weeklong project involving student teachers and 5th grade students that has taken place in the Reykjavik Botanical Garden for the past four years called What is hidden in nature that we have never seen or heard? The project has been a part of the Children’s Cultural Festival. This is a collective project where more than seventy pupils from a neighbourhood school work under the direction of a group of student teachers from the Iceland Academy of the Arts (IAA). The project focuses on the transformative power of education for sustainability (EfS), and participatory pedagogy including critical place-based learning and tacit knowledge. The settings at the Botanical Garden were developed as a part of a pedagogical course taught by the author of this article, aiming to develop the student teachers’ self-efficacy and action competence.
In the Botanical Garden the student teachers plan learning settings for the pupils and carry the responsibility for that week in collaboration with the local school. The work is based on their earlier learning in the pedagogical foundation course. The way of working of the student teachers in the Botanic Garden can lead to a mutual fostering of these two concepts in ways that may be expected to promote professional development and tacit knowledge. Acquiring and being able to use the concepts augments the voice of the student teachers and I discuss why such pedagogies are valuable in teacher education.