Searching for a "unicorn" : emotional dimensions of environmental educators
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SubjectBarriers; Coping strategies; Emotional dilemmas; Environmental Education; Environmental engagement; Psychosocial studies
As more studies highlight the unconscious dynamics of environmental education it is important to understand how those dynamics impact the educators themselves so that we may better train educators and improve the efficacy of their work. Using a psychosocial and psychoanalytic methodology I explored the unconscious emotional lives of six environmental educators. The educators first participated in a professional development workshop and then in three in-depth interviews using the Dialogic, Relational Interview method. Data was analyzed using holistic analysis. The educators' employed a variety of conscious and unconscious protective measures to manage feelings of powerlessness, anxiety, fear, doubt, and grief over loss. The educators were largely unaware of the extent to which they employed protective measures and expressed an overall discomfort with exploring the painful aspects of their work. This study is a first step in understanding how educators' unconscious emotional experiences impact how they interact with their audiences.
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