The rationale behind assignment 1 is to ensure comprehensive reading and full understanding of ‘political ecology’ as an approach to study environment-development issues. This is essential before proceeding further in the module. The assignment also provides a means for students’ to develop their reflective and critical thinking and writing skills, and provides an opportunity for students’ to document their learning journey. All are essential or useful skills of value in the environment & development field.
Students should aim to demonstrate learning aligned with module objectives in their writing.
- What is a definition/s of this concept/trend/issue? What are the roots of this definition and this concept/trend/issue, and links to other topics? What are the strengths/weaknesses/issues of this? How is it relevant to understanding environment-development issues and linkages?
- What are the policy and practical developments associated with this, what are they/how are they understood, what new insights can I take away from them?
- How might we go about thinking more critically about environmental change and/or natural resource management / development approaches, and why is it important?
The above questions should assist students demonstrate critical reflection on learning across a diverse range of material encountered in weeks 14-18. Note that not all questions will be relevant to all sessions/reading, students should pick those most relevant to a particular session and associated reading. Students may also choose to create their own questions.
Submission format: 1,500 word summary of the student’s dictionary, via Minerva
The submission should include evidence of a minimum of three entries relevant to topics encountered during the period of weeks 14 and 18.
The purpose of this exercise is to encourage you to engage critically with the topic. Good entries will go much further than merely presenting a definition. Rather, they will analyse an idea, such as thinking about its emergence, relation to other ideas, strengths/weaknesses, legacies, implications, and so on. They will be attuned to the implications of the topic for environment and development thinking and debates – in other words, how we might think and act differently as a result of this idea or trend. Good entries will also seek, where relevant, to span across theoretical or conceptual ideas and more practical, policy and empirical concerns – between the abstract or academic and the ‘real world’, e.g. policy implications.
References of particular relevance to the thinking behind this assignment include:
Brookfield, S. (1987) Developing critical thinkers: challenging adults to explore alternative ways of thinking and acting. Open University Press.
Mezirow, J. (1990) Fostering critical reflection in adulthood: a guide to transformative and emancipatory learning. Jossey-Brass, San Francisco.
Schon, D.A. (1987) Educating the reflective practitioner. Jossey-Brass, San Francisco.