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The Ecological Heart of Teaching

Radical Tales of Refuge and Renewal for Classrooms and Communities


Edited By Jackie Seidel and David W. Jardine

The Ecological Heart of Teaching is a collection of writings by teachers about their life in classrooms. Reflecting over three years of collective work, it illustrates how teachers, parents, and students can avoid some of the distractions and panic endemic to many schools, allowing them to focus thoughtfully on rigorous, beautiful work. It draws on ecological thinking, Buddhism, and hermeneutics to provide deeper, richer, and more abundant sources for teaching, thinking, and practice, and shows how these three lineages provide keys to decode the current malaise that surrounds schooling. The book will be valuable to beginning and experienced teachers and administrators, as well as to parents and anyone involved in stepping away from the exhausting industrial images and ideas that have turned schooling into an ecological and intellectual disaster. For those interested in interpretive research and life-writing, the book provides a wide array of examples; it is a valuable resource for undergraduate classes in curriculum and teaching, as well as graduate research methods courses interested in new forms of thinking and writing.
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Chapter Nine: Matches


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The excerpts below are from David Jardine’s (2013b) article “Time Is [Not] Always Running Out,” published in the Journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies:

With lights lowed, we all lean inwards in this circle of storytelling, and its arc goes far beyond just those gathered here. This wider feel of textured fabric is also a nebulous part of the story told:

Next to the hearth, by the bedside, on the back porch, round the cracker barrel, in the lap. Mouth to ear, mouth to ear, over and over and over again, grandmother and grandfather, uncle and aunt, mother and father, nanny and nurse were in turn listener and teller. (Yolen, 1988, p. 12)

Migratory arcs come back round again. This temporal fabric is recurrent and intergenerational—an odd experience of going somewhere new and returning to somewhere old at the same time, and coming to (re)inhabit a place already inhabited.

These tales could be a short as the English ghost story reported by the venerable English collector Katharine Briggs: He woke up frightened and reached for the matches, and the matches were put into his hand. (Yolen, 1988, p. 2)

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