Critical, creative and digital writingEcriture critique, créative et numérique

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Teaching of interactionality

Interactionality is the condition of 1) considering that organism and environment are one totality held together by their mutual interaction, and 2) acting accordingly. Interactionality is to be opposed to dualism, where body and environment are considered as separate entities. Interactionality shifts the focus from the separation of organism and environment to the interaction of organism and environment. One of the problems of contemporary societies is that the environmental values taught to children–and thus to future societies–are too abstract. Knowledge is taught as if it were universal. Ecological knowledge in particular is no longer connected to the material world. Somehow cultures have lost their aboutness and their substance. The relationship between humans, human societies and their environment should be at the core of culture. However, it is clearly not the case these days. On the contrary, now the defining principles of humanity concern relationships to society, relationships to the state, relationships to the law, and so on. In effect, the chief principles of our contemporary societies define the relationships of humans to institutions of all kind; the environment has been left aside for much too long, and that has created a sort of environmental disembeddedness, where the connections of modern cultures to the environment have dissolved. Interactionality is destined to reverse this paradigm of contemporary societies. *** Urbanization, telecommunication and transportation have changed the way humans consider the environment; more precisely, they have objectified it. In contemporary communities, it is very hard to get away from that conception of the human-world relationship, for all around us contributes to reinforce the objectification. Rules are learned in schools that are set aside from the environment–particularly the natural environment–and the world is no longer directly shown to children; because of that, cultures tend to lose their connection with the physical world to the profit of a connection to immaterial institutions (the state, the law, society…). Because of the difficulty of changing already-set minds, it is necessary to focus on developing ones: those of children. It is by teaching children in new ways that we may change their understanding of the human-environment relationship.