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Συμμετοχή του Παιδαγωγικού Τμήματος Δημοτικής Εκπαίδευσης του ΕΚΠΑ στο Διεθνές Συνέδριο Assembling Common Worlds Conference at Vancouver Island University in Canada (10-12 June 2022)

Συμμετοχή του ΕΚΠΑ (Παιδαγωγικό Τμήμα Δημοτικής Εκπαίδευσης) με πάνελ προπτυχιακών και μεταπτυχιακών φοιτητών/τριών του ΠΤΔΕ/ΕΚΠΑ και καθηγητριών του ΠΤΔΕ/ΕΚΠΑ στο Διεθνές Συνέδριο Assembling Common Worlds Conference at Vancouver Island University in Canada (10-12 June 2022).

Ακολουθεί μία συνοπτική περιγραφή του πάνελ στα αγγλικά μαζί με συνοδευτικό φωτογραφικό υλικό

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Prof. Tzina (Georgia) Kalogirou & Dr. Paraskevi Chourdaki

Team of Students:

Elli Baritaki, Anastasia Chondrali, Athina Koutsouki, Iliana Koutsouki, Dimitra Manoura, Evangelia-Markella Mavreli, Eleni Mitsoula, Kyriaki Syndouka Department of Pedagogy and Primary Education (DPPE), National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUOA), Greece

Nature, mindfulness, and compassion in children’s books and in the classroom

One divine spring day the windows were open. A tangerine tree was in bloom across the street, and its perfume entered the classroom. Each of our minds had turned into a blossoming tangerine tree; we could not bear to hear anything more about acute and circumflex accents. A bird came just then, perched on the plane tree in the schoolyard and began to sing. At that point a pale redheaded student who had arrived that year from his village, Nikoliós by name, was unable to control himself. He raised his finger. “Be quiet, sir,” he cried. “Be quiet and let us hear the bird.”

Nikos Kazantzakis Report to Greco (1961)

It is undoubtedly true that students and teachers from diverse educational environments in all over the global world, are constantly trying to find new ways to respond to the complex, interconnected ecologies that predate many of the core themes and concerns of the multi-faceted environmental humanities.

Our project Nature, mindfulness, and compassion in children’s books and in the classroom, a work-in-progress, is inspired by the four seasons themselves and draws on several self-reflexive, environmentally conscious fairytales, picture-books, graphic novels, poems and other kinds of children’s books that draw attention to the world around us. Inspired by what is commonly known as “new nature writing” – an increasingly popular literary genre – these written texts help us reimagine humanity’s place on earth amid our ecological crisis. Some of these texts show an influence by principles of mindfulness and compassion towards nature, thus, inviting children and young adults (Primary and Middle level) to slow down and take their time to experience the wonders of nature.

Via working with students/training teachers at the university we offer insight of how literature might enhance students’ environmental sensibility through a set of   pedagogical and creative activities that cultivate emotional intelligence while building connections among natural and anthropogenic populations. One of our main goals is to eventually create a textbook that will function as a guide with eco-oriented and mindfulness-oriented activities focused upon the seasons’ cycles as well as the destruction of the latter as a result of climate change. We intend for our project to cover the whole year and to be divided based on the four seasons as we have known them since forever. Via our project, we want to highlight the role literature can play in raising awareness, gaining insight, and provoking concern for the ecological imperatives of our time. It’s an interdisciplinary project with a view to build bridges between environmental studies and literary studies via implementing pedagogical tools of literary instruction, teaching methodologies and theories of learning, simultaneously. We have, also, included in our team and collaborated with Athina Koutsouki, PhD candidate, scientist and environmentalist, so that our pedagogical design can be as much consistent as possible with the scientific finds/ data for climate change and other catastrophic phenomena of our era. The literary texts/books we chose for this project help children understand that it is important to focus on good things that can happen and adopt a more conscious approach to reflect upon the environment. To act, as now more than ever before, people are waking up to the importance of reversing climate change by doing things differently.

We virtually presented a sample of our work and its progress at the Assembling Common Worlds Conference at Vancouver Island University in Canada (10-12 June 2022) through our very own panel discussing the main disciplines of eco-pedagogy, eco-criticism and mindfulness within a theoretical framework as well as showing a wide range of literary texts – such as, «Το Τραγούδι του Ποταμού»/ The Song of the River, Maybe, Belonging, The Lost Soul, Taking Time – and creative activities designed for students.

Our panel-session lasted one hour and was followed by a Q&A session of thirty minutes during which a highly creative and inspirational dialogue took place between our team and the audience.

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