John F Disinger – an appreciation

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John Disinger was an American environmental educator, and scholar.  His was often a rational and clear voice amid the competing clamour and battle as one disposition or other tried to out-shout another persuasion, particularly in the shameful culture wars that afflicted environmental education in the 1990s.  I came across this quote the other day:

“… though EE is ideally interdisciplinary – an eclectic assemblage of interacting disciplines – its practitioners typically approach it as if it were multidisciplinary – an eclectic assemblage of discrete disciplines.  Because EE’s practitioners typically are grounded in no more than one of the multiplicity of disciplines involved, logic leads them to approach EE through the intellectual filters of their own disciplines.  Thus, practitioners in EE typically continue to talk past one another, rather than with one another”.

Quite so.  It was true then, and remains so now, and even the spluttering rise of ESD, with its seductive appeal to an integrating holism, can do little to change matters.  The lion's lying down with the lamb may be some people's vision of harmony, but mine is where geography and science teachers begin to talk with each other with student learning in mind.

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