Slovenia’s Model of Mountain-Oriented Education

Authors: Sarah J. Halvorson*, Department of Geography, W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana , Irena Mrak , Environmental Protection College of Slovenia
Topics: Mountain Environments, Europe, Education
Keywords: mountain geography, mountain education, Europe, culture, identity
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 11
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In Slovenia, teaching and learning about physical and cultural dimensions of mountains are national priorities. Slovenia’s model of mountain-oriented education (MOE) remains relatively understudied, in spite of the fact that characteristics and successes of mountain education efforts elsewhere in the Alps are well-documented. Slovenia is incredibly diverse topographically, with a significant portion of the country dominated by southeastern ranges of the Alpine mountain system, one of the most ecologically, economically, and culturally important mountain ranges in all of Europe. For nearly three decades, the very essence of Slovenia’s mountain culture and identity has been infused into and propagated by educational programming in which mountains – including biophysical, historical, cultural, social, economic, and geopolitical elements – provide a central unifying and celebrated core component. Drawing upon extensive fieldwork, interview data and participatory research methods, this paper identifies the factors that influence Slovenia’s diverse and varied educational programming, which aims to both disseminate mountain knowledge and reinforce a mountain-centric national identify. The analysis highlights the voices and perspectives of Slovene mountain educators and a range of informal and formal contexts of mountain learning and dynamic pedagogical approaches.

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