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Forest schools: moving towards an alternative pedagogical response to the Anthropocene?


In this paper I consider whether forest schools provide a space where we could rethink pedagogy in the Anthropocene. I explore the challenges and possibilities of thinking beyond the business-as-usual of human-centric pedagogies drawing upon an ethnographic study of two forest schools, located in the West Midlands of England conducted in 2014-2015. I take a more-than-social approach, which moves beyond narrow essentialist constructions of nature and childhood (see Kraftl, 2013). I use both Barad’s (2007) theory of agential realism, to explore children’s lively intra-actions with more-than-humans at forest school, and Haraway’s (2016) concept of worlding, to examine collective world making and remarking. Through this conceptual framing I explore whether forest schools are or could become a space for more-than-social pedagogies in which children might imagine and care for other worlds. If so, how might this kind of other-world imagining and caring gesture towards an alternative pedagogical response to the Anthropocene?

Acceptance Date Sep 23, 2019
Publication Date Sep 23, 2019
Journal Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education
Print ISSN 0159-6306
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Pages 1 - 14
Keywords Anthropocene, children, forest school, pedagogy, more-than-human, more-than-social
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