Educating during Anthropocene


 Presenter (s) Rajesh Ram, University of Auckland, Faculty of Education and Social Work
Angela Molloy Murphy, Portland State University
Eric Layman, Indiana University
Carlos R. Casanova & Daniel Fischer, Arizona State University
 Discussant (s) Marcia McKenzie, University of Saskatchewan
Discussion (zoom) (March 23, 2020 at 7:00-8:30 pm EST)

This virtual panel examines education in the anthropocene from different perspectives, including our relationship with plastic, socioscientific issues of biosecurity and indigenous knowledge in education. In the first presentation, by Angela Molloy Murphy draws on her project called ‘Plastic City: (Re) Creating Portland With Our Discards.’ In this provocative exhibit, large amounts of discarded plastics were deposited in the middle of the Portland State University. Thinking with the abject studies proposal that “that which we attempt to radically exclude constantly returns” (Arefin, 2015, p.1), the author experiments with bringing plastic discards into plain sight. This choice to ‘exaggerate the presence’ (MacAlpine, 2019) of plastics was intended to keep plastics ‘in sight and in mind’ (see full abstract here). In the second presentation, Rajesh Ram explores how young people can be engaged in science education through socioscientific issues of biosecurity. Drawing on ecological restoration theory and transformative learning, and situating his study within literature and news around the New Zealand public’s perceptions and knowledge of which animals are deemed invasive, alien and/or unwanted, the author challenges us to think how education can engender an ontological change through “critical reflection on the assumptions upon which our interpretations, beliefs, and habits of mind or points of view are based” (Mezirow, 1997). He argues that the use of transformative pedagogies may prompt young people to question biosecurity norms and effect change (see full abstract here). The third presenter, Eric W. Layman, from Indiana University highlights the work of ‘experimental’ indigenous schools in Taiwan (see full abstract). The last paper is presented by Carlos R. Casanova & Daniel Fischer in which they discuss the role of in-service teachers’ education and university internationalization in ensuring just and environmentally sustainable futures (see abstract). Please join the discussion on zoom with presenters and invited discussant Marcia McKenzie, University of Saskatchewan and/or share your feedback in the comments section on the 23rd of March, 7-8.30pm (EST) by following the zoom link.

Plastic City: A Small-Scale Experiment for Living in the Anthropocene, Angela Molloy Murphy, Portland State University

Engaging Young People in Science Education through Socioscientific Issues of Biosecurity, Rajesh Ram, University of Auckland, Faculty of Education and Social Work

‘Taiwan’s “Experimental” Indigenous Schools: A Critical Policy Analysis’ by Eric W. Layman, Indiana University

‘Sustainability Education for In-Service Teachers: Using Program Theory to Understand Intentions, Effects and Theories of Change in Professional Development’ by Carlos R. Casanova & Daniel Fischer, Arizona State University


Angela Molloy Murphy, M.Ed., has been an early childhood educator since 1990, founding schools of her own, including her current school, Rowanberry School, in 2006. She serves as a Materials Specialist with Inventing Remida Portland Project at Portland State University and is a doctoral candidate in the curriculum and instruction EdD program. Her doctoral research engages critical posthumanism and new materialism to research the relational material-discursive encounters that are present in children’s everyday narrative processes. Angela is the coordinator of the Inventing Remida Portland Project at the Helen Gordon Child Development Center at Portland State University, which allows her to work on education for sustainability at the intersection of her passion areas of experimental arts, education, and culture. Angela will be joining the University of Melbourne as a Lecturer in Early Childhood Education in June of 2020. Email: Twitter: @23angelas

Rajesh Ram is in the final year of his doctoral studies at the University of Auckland Faculty of Education. He holds a master’s degree in education (1st class honors) from the University of Auckland. Rajesh works as a science/biology teacher at the school of secondary and tertiary studies in Auckland. His research interests are in environment education. E-mail:

Eric W. Layman is a PhD Candidate at Indiana University pursuing a dual major in Education Policy Studies and in Qualitative Inquiry Methodology. He is currently based in Hualien, Taiwan on a Fulbright-Hays research grant where he is affiliated with the College of Indigenous Studies at National DongHwa University. His dissertation fieldwork looks at indigenous education reform in Taiwan. Besides a long-standing interest in ethnolinguistic minority education issues, Eric has published work regarding the perspectives of Eastern and Western intercultural families. He is interested as well in Globalization and Education and spent three years working in leadership with that SIG at CIES. Other research interests include the influence of China and Chinese culture on notions of education, development, and democracy; as well as how to promote innovative critical research approaches in evaluation of education policy and implementation. E-mail:

Carlos R. Casanova is a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the School of Sustainability. Carlos’ is a trained sociologist and social justice educator. He has nearly a decade of professional work experience with historically marginalized social groups in community-based organizations. His main fields of interest are education and society with a focus on social justice, youth activism, healing, pedagogy and curriculum, power, privilege, and oppression. Carlos is interested in (Un)documented Latinx youth ideology (e.g. ideas, attitudes, and beliefs) development. His focus is on ideologies promoted in public education and the impact they have on individual and social group behavior. He also explores how social practices critique, transform, and construct ideologies. His three-year critical ethnography dissertation in social and cultural studies of education is titled “(Un)documented Midwest Latinx youth resistance towards politics of immigration and education.” His research offers a critical youth development model and a pedagogy he calls, “humanizing pedagogy of knowledge and healing.” E-mail:

Daniel Fischer is an assistant professor at the School of Sustainability and an affiliate faculty member at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Before that, he worked for 10 years at Leuphana University in Germany, where he still is a guest professor. In his research and teaching, Daniel casts an educational perspective on the question of how sustainable consumption can be promoted through communication and learning. He uses inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to understand how consumption patterns evolve and change. Daniel has a strong interest in how innovative teaching and learning strategies like mindfulness, storytelling or citizen science can increase reflexivity in learners and – in an educational tradition – help us reshape our relations to the consumer societies that we have been born, encultured and socialized into in the industrialized world. E-mail:


Marcia McKenzie is a Professor in the Department of Educational Foundations and Director of the Sustainability Education Research Institute at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. She is Principal Investigator of the Sustainability and Education Policy Network ( and of the Monitoring and Evaluation of Climate Change Education (MECCE) project. She recently led and co-led work on two UNESCO (2019) studies, Country progress on climate change education: A review of national submissions to the UNFCCC and ESD and GCED up close: Cognitive, social and emotional and behavioral learning in Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education from pre-primary to secondary education. She is the editor and author of four books and numerous articles, and is co-editor of the Palgrave Studies in Education and the Environment book series, and an Associate Editor of the journal Environmental Education Research.

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