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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 Forty-Nine: Remembrances of the Land and Rocks in My Pocket


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Remembrances OF THE Land AND Rocks IN My Pocket


The music of the land rose up in all its many textures, each tree, each cliff, each place he’d passed, until finally the song of home added its voice to the others. His cave called out from the blanketing shrubs and pillows of moss at its mouth, and Chiro followed the familiar sound back into the sheltering earth.

—ARI BERK (BERK & LONG, 2012, N.P.)

The hands of my children are continually picking up rocks and stones. Their fingers grip tight to their latest treasure. Each groove and bump is felt as their small fingertips run over the surface. Soon their hand is turned over and an open palm allows their eyes to examine each facet of its being. These are not necessarily the prettiest rocks or the biggest, but simply stones that somehow meet their unknown needs at that particular moment in time.

After this thorough examination, these same hands unceremoniously shove these stones into pants pockets, coat pockets and when all other options are full, their mother’s pockets. These stones then find their way into all aspects of our home. They become bath toys, decorations for a Christmas centrepiece, pets for various stuffed animals and toppings for delicious mud pies.

I have watched my children lament over the loneliness of a solitary stone, create entire stone...

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