As I mentioned on my #4 common blog posting, I was raised in a non-environmentally friendly way. I don’t like, and I am actually scared of things that are under the ground, especially the insects. I thought I was born in this way, and believed that I could never overcome this fear. I still vividly remember when I was doing fermi-compost at the first time. I could not successfully finish it because my body was shaking as I was staring at the moving, alive worms. I was scared of them, even though I knew that they would not hurt me. If I look back, though, I remember that I used to play with the worms when I was a kid without any fear. But then, why did I suddenly change? What made me scare of those little creatures that are actually living with myself, as a part of the environment, and as members of the earth?
Along with this thought, reading Barrett (2005)’s article “Making some sense out of feminist poststructuralism in environmental education research and practice” made me reconsider about my weird sense of fear towards the insects, specifically after reading the pond study, which regards to the power of language that would impact on students’ perspectives. As what Barrett said, “when holding a pond critter in one’s hand and saying “wow!,” students’ bodies tended to moved forward, peeking at the critter with what seemed at least like curiosity, if not wonder. Yet if they were saying “yuk” or “gross,” their bodies would most often recoil, hand held out as far from their noses as possible.” Then, I remembered what my mom used to say to me like, “Don’t play with the worms, they are dirty!” or “Stop playing with the sand, it’ll ruin your clothes!” It turned out, Barrett’s message about the language perfectly matched with my childhood.
As soon as I related my childhood to this article, I thought about how my fear is influenced by the “discourse” (Barrett, 2005, p. 82) from my mom, and to extent, how “the meanings we attach to the words we use, and the rules we use to determine what “makes sense” or is possible” (Barrett, 2005, p.82). Often, people think that the educators should be neutral in the classroom, so that their students would not be influenced or persuaded by one specific perspective. However, now I am starting to wonder ‘what is neutral?’. Isn’t the idea of being ‘neutral’ also constructed by how the society views? If it is, who gets to decide what is ‘neutral’ or ‘biased’? Does the one certain dominant group in the society determine what is ‘neutral’ or ‘right to say’?
While various questions are constantly arising in my mind, I am still struggling to find answers for that.
Barrett, M. J. (2005). Making some sense out of feminist poststructuralism in environmental education research and practice. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 10(1), 79-93.