SAC # 89

Tools for the Tool-Box: An interactive discussion and workshop, collectively exploring and developing some ideas for tools for working effectively amongst social groups



TIME | 24 June 2010, 4pm onwards

LOCATION | CSAFE Seminar Room, , Dunedin

SPEAKER | David McKay


Educators and facilitators increasingly need to introduce new and challenging ideas to individuals, community groups and society to share and gather information, empower and perhaps even engender shifts in awareness, attitude, behaviour and practices towards the goal of global sustainable practices. Unfortunately, it is not an uncommon phenomenon for people to regard suggestions of need for change or requests for sharing of information and knowledge, with suspicion and cynicism, if not hostility; not necessarily because of what is being requested or advocated, but because of how it has been gone about and related.

How does one ensure information delivered to empower and enlighten decisions within a subject community group is received, interpreted and understood accurately as intended? And conversely, within such potentially volatile social contexts, just how accurate can information gleaned from qualitative studies be? In practical terms, how might a facilitator anticipate, plan, ‘read’, adjust and accommodate such influential limitations (the like of which will be discussed) towards optimum outcomes?

This presentation is about exploring ideas, perspectives and worldviews to work together for some ideas or solutions to ‘add to the tool-box’ for researchers, educators and facilitators. It will take the form of an interactive discussion and workshop around some of the challenges of researching and engendering shifts in perception, attitude and behaviour amongst community, social groups and institutions themselves. While the focus is upon education for sustainability, the topic, ideas and facilitative tools discussed and collectively developed may be useful and applicable for anyone working with community groups; researchers, educators, facilitators, designers, planners and managers.

About the Speaker

David is a PhD candidate with CSAFE in Otago University’s Geography Department, associated with Te Tumu, School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies. He is attached to CSAFE’s Te Tiaki Mahinga Kai, with links to CSAFE’s ARGOS and to the University’s Bioethics Centre in the School of Medicine.

David is an experienced Environmental Educator and Advisor, Project Manager, Designer, Builder, Horticulturalist and Teacher. His interests in interdisciplinary and intercultural facilitation towards ecologically sustainable management practices have led to his association with the Environmental Risk Management Authority’s (ERMA) National Iwi Network. He has interest and involvement in design for the utilisation of indigenous knowledge and understandings of Rongoa species (Native plants whose properties may be used for biological or physical healing in context with particular locations) in rehabilitation of contaminated land and water systems.

David’s PhD research seeks to identify and describe how Environmental Education / Education for Sustainability is conceptualised, understood and practiced amongst New Zealand Maori, with the objective of helping facilitate meaningful integration of indigenous understandings in environmental education policy and practices in New Zealand.


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