A Pedagogical Venturing into the Three Sisters' Garden: Lessons of Attunement and Reciprocity in Education


  • Tim Skuce Brandon University
  • Sharon Pelech University of Lethbridge




This paper explores the connections the authors make between their experiences in the classroom and the powerful work of Robin Wall Kimmerer (2013) in Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants; specifically, her chapter entitled “The Three Sisters.” Through Kimmerer’s work, we interpret our own experiences within the classroom. We also draw upon Hans-Georg Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics in general and his notion of Erfahrung in particular. We were inspired by the author’s insights into how she happened upon a “new teacher” for her students. As a result, this paper explores her work, as it provides an image of what it is to be present among students while honouring the topic’s own being and becoming--staying open to its future possibilities not yet known. The pedagogical turn away from predetermined outcomes to reciprocity, interconnectedness, and relationships is examined in how they help us understand teaching and learning. 

Keywords: Three Sisters; Kimmerer; hermeneutics; curriculum, erfahrung; reciprocity, education; pre-service teachers

Author Biographies

Tim Skuce, Brandon University

Tim Skuce is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Brandon University

Sharon Pelech, University of Lethbridge

Sharon Pelech is an Associate Professor at the University of Lethbridge. Her research has been focused on science education, ecopedagogy, place conscious pedagogy, interpretive research, and curriculum theory.