This past week I have had some time to reflect on my personal scope of moral considerations and moral extensionism. Cunningham & Cunningham (2017) state, “Extending moral value to others is known as moral extensionism.” Furthermore, they define moral value as the idea of worth, as well as responsibility. I see have I have granted moral value to many parts of my life; I value myself, my family, friends, colleagues, students, and humanity as a whole. However, it was due to COVID-19 that allowed me to experience a lot of time outdoors within Saskatchewan; I began to appreciate nature, including animals, plants, and the greater world.
This concept reminds me of the lecture by Robin Kimmerer, Learning the Grammar of Animacy: subject and object. I found myself interested in nature, interested in learning about the plants out on hikes and respecting nature. Interested in the animals that I have encountered, on hikes, on drives, or kayaking on the water. I believe Kimmerer highlights that if we change our language about how we interact with plants and the inanimate world, we can respect it.
I believe my scope of moral consideration has been broadened by growing and caring for a garden. This has allowed me to escape the busyness of the everyday world, provides a responsibility that I enjoy, and provides a sustainable way to eat healthier. However, I believe moral extensionism goes deeper than caring for the plants. I must care for the earth that my garden is planted, ensuring that there are nutrients for my food to grow, learning to rotate my crops to ensure that the garden can be used to its full potential the following season.
I believe that my scope of moral consideration has shifted. My job as an instructional technology coach thrives on the relationships and respect that I make with other educators and students. I think specifically of my time teaching in Ogema, Saskatchewan, where I had the privilege to teach and learn with a fairly large Filipino community. This community was able to show me aspects of their vibrant culture that continues to thrive in a small rural Saskatchewan community. These rich experiences highlighted a worldview that I would not have received if I was teaching elsewhere. As an educator, my moral consideration is considered in my practice through diverse teaching experiences. Such as, having a diverse representation in my classroom library. Ensuring a diverse set of worldviews across subject areas. For example, my current project on learning about the treaties ensures that students understand treaties from both the First Nations and European worldviews. However, I need to be more inviting to these communities to join in on the learning experiences and share their learning experiences in partnership.
Ethical Space of Engagement
Willie Ermine’s (2007) The Ethical Space of Engagement highlights the importance of moral extensionism to others’ worldviews. Ethical space of engagement requires us to find space between the worldviews and engage in dialogue and discussion. Ermine highlights the need to develop rules of engagement between our human communities because of a history of failed attempts of meaningful interactions between Indigenous peoples and western people. The limitations of a society that has the invisible structures of colonialism and white supremacy at its core make it difficult for our society to truly engage with humanity within its scope of moral consideration. As a society, we need to move past the Indigenous gaze, develop relationships and community, and develop space and dialogue. Therefore, I believe this highlights the importance of education, specifically anti-oppressive education, as a tool for reconciliation.