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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-Six: On Witches and Kites


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On Witches AND Kites


If in the twilight of memory we should meet once more

We shall speak again together and

You shall sing to me a deeper song.


A hand-me-down box for my daughter arrived this weekend with a picture book in it that I hadn’t laid eyes on or thought about since I was a child myself: Witches Four (Brown, 1980). Not really a classic, certainly not well known, but so well loved by my four-year-old self that when I pulled it out I was overwhelmed for a moment by that quiet, heavy-bottomed feeling that comes from long-forgotten memories called back. What is it about? asked my daughter when I gleefully presented the book to her. And I realized that I couldn’t say beyond what the front cover artwork conveyed, which was, of course, four witches. Couldn’t remember what the story was about, but clearly remembered the feeling. Remembered that I loved it, that I asked for it to be read to me again and again. So my much older self read it again, aloud, at bedtime. Four witches, with four hats, find four cats. Nice tidy story, proper rhyming, but not terribly profound, which is why I wondered why it struck such a chord. I didn’t even remember the story, but there was something important about it that I couldn’t quite...

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