Early Childhood, the Senses and Ecological Sustainability: The Senses and Emotions as Essential for Survival. Av Biljana C. Fredriksen

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Education building
October 3rd from 2:00 – 3:30, room 192
Associate Professor Biljana C. Fredriksen
University College of Southeast Norway
Faculty of Humanities, Sports and Education
Department of Visual and Performing Arts Education
Early Childhood, the Senses and Ecological Sustainability: The Senses and Emotions as Essential for Survival
In an evolutionary perspective, exquisite senses, emotional sensibilities and ability to identify emotions in others are essential for survival of the species. Ongoing attention and attunement to immediate surroundings are necessary in order to make appropriate choices of action. That is how we, more-than-humans, make sense of our world contextually through our individual senses, and yet collectively. Our personal understanding is intertwined with our cultural understanding, as much as our human nature is rooted in genetic structures we share with other animals.
Senses and emotions are essential capacities for learning, beyond school’s division in subjects, beyond schooling. Early childhood education has a specific role in nourishing young peoples embodied capacities so that they can remain sensitive, engaged and caring for local and global environments thorough their lives. Making sense of the world through experiences comes before learning through verbal language, but is often assumed as insignificant, ineffective or not valuable when compared to theoretical knowledge.
This lecture shows examples from a case of inter-species ethnography and makes visible how learning through holistic experiences always is present in more-than-humans, but through established dualisms and power divisions in traditional schooling, gradually gets suppressed and ignored. With references to ecological philosophy of Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss and recent influence of post-humanism, this lecture provides arguments that can justify essential importance of the experiential and aesthetic dimensions in education in an interdisciplinary perspective.
Biljana C. Fredriksen, Ph.D. is Associate Professor at University College of Southeast Norway where she has been teaching Art & Craft at teacher education programs for the last 20 years.  She has conducted number of studies concerning young children’s and teacher students’ experiential learning through creative work with three-dimensional materials. Her latest projects deals with eco-creativity, evolutionary aesthetics, interspecies pedagogy and ecological responsibility developed through explorations of natural materials.
Biljana C. Fredriksen
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