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The Ecological Heart of Teaching

Radical Tales of Refuge and Renewal for Classrooms and Communities

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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-Eight: Radiant Beings

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CHAPTER FIFTY-EIGHT

Radiant Beings

KARI SIRUP



It is only in the fabric of actually working through a topic and opening up its particular possibilities and free spaces that a sense of this interpretability of the world and ourselves arrives.

—DAVID W. JARDINE (2012, P. 220)

I often say that as a teacher I feel like more of an artist than when I was in art school. What I mean to say is that curriculum serves as a sort of medium; something that we manipulate to create experiences in the classroom. Children, in turn, offer up new suggestions and understandings based on said experiences. It’s a conversation. What a wonderfully creative space to live in; one that enables me to see things in new light year after year. The juxtaposition of ideas and concepts always results in something unexpected, new or unnoticed, and there are a million possibilities for how the year might unfold. There is something so interesting in placing two ideas side by side. They speak to each other and cause us to view them differently as a result of their comparison.

Our work then as teachers is to allow light into spaces that never see light. We wait patiently to notice; for things to gather. We “set right anew” (Jardine, 2012, p. 2), open up and make room for the life world to enliven our classrooms. This is what I love...

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