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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 Thirty-Three: Conversation


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A group of five-year-olds gathers together for a conversation. The sun streams through the windows into our happy classroom. Some children are lying down, others are leaning on each other, and I catch a couple looking dreamily out the window on the uncharacteristically mild January day. An effect of global warming? We don’t know.

We have been looking closely at the globe for the past week and talking about what it means to us. Some students drew parts of the world that they have visited, or the country where their family originated. There was a heated discussion about the Arctic and the North Pole that spanned two days.

“Is the ice melting?” they wondered.

“What animals live there?”

“Santa lives there.” (This fact was not up for debate!)

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