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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 Fifty-Four: There Is Only This Farm


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There Is Only This Farm


Our damages, to watersheds and ecosystems will have to be corrected one farm, one forest, one acre at a time.

—WENDELL BERRY (2005, P. 62)

Great problems call for many small solutions.

—WENDELL BERRY (2005, P. 65)

There is only this farm, only this place. This truth strikes me, catches me in my tracks and forces me to reconsider; reconsider what I can accomplish, more important what I have the right to accomplish. “Arrogance cannot be cured by greater arrogance” (Berry, 2005, p. 65), a reminder that despite my best intentions, my deepening roots of understanding, my desire to act in concert with others, my influence is, and must always be, limited.

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