Ecology, ecocriticism and learning: how do places become ‘pedagogical’?


  • Noel Gough La Trobe University



curriculum theory, pedagogy, environmental education


As an academic educator with unabashed ecopolitical commitments and a disposition to deconstruction, I treat assertions about the relations of ‘places’ (especially ‘natural’ places) to ‘pedagogies’ somewhat sceptically. For example, although I sympathise with the spirit of David Gruenewald’s assertion that ‘places are profoundly pedagogical’, I find it more difficult to accept the abrogation (or displacement) of human agency that might be implied by statements such as ‘places teach us about how the world works’ and ‘places make us’. Following Deleuze and Guattari, I argue that places become and that processes of ‘becoming-pedagogical’ are matters of human invention and fabrication. I explore some of the ways in which places ‘becoming-pedagogical’ might be related to such modalities of nature as the ways that nature is envisioned and named, the speed at which nature is traversed and transformed, and the affects (images, concepts, senses) of nature that are subsequently produced.

Author Biography

Noel Gough, La Trobe University

Noel Gough is Foundation Professor of Outdoor and Environmental Education in the Faculty of Education at La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia. He teaches curriculum inquiry, postpositivist research methodologies and futures in education and has research interests in environmental education, cultural studies of science, and the globalisation of knowledge work. He is coeditor (with William Doll) of Curriculum Visions (Peter Lang 2002) and has published extensively in his areas of research interest.