How we know, is at least as important as what we know: Before educationalists can begin to teach sustainability, we need to explore our own views of the world and how these are formed. The paper explores the ontological assumptions that underpin, usually implicitly, the pedagogical relationship and opens up the question of how people know each other and the world they share. Using understandings based in a phenomenological approach and guided by social constructionism, it suggests that the most appropriate pedagogical method for teaching sustainability is one based on situated learning and reflexive practice. To support its ontological questioning, the paper highlights two alternative culture‘s ways of understanding and recording the world: Those of the Inca who inhabited pre-Columbian Peru, which was based on the quipu system of knotted strings, and the complex social and religious system of the songlines of the original people of Australia. As an indication of the sorts of teaching experiences that an emancipatory and relational pedagogy might give rise to, the paper offers examples of two community learning experiences in the exemplar sustainable community of Stroud, Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom where the authors live.
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