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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-Nine: Additional Thoughts on the Terror in a Mother’s Heart: An Allegorical/Pedagogical Speculation on the Economies of Knowledge


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Additional Thoughts ON THE Terror IN A Mother’s Heart

An Allegorical/Pedagogical Speculation on the Economies of Knowledge


This speculation has its origins in a passage from George Grant’s English-Speaking Justice (1998, p. 1):

[Immanuel] Kant’s dictum “the mind makes the object” were the words of blessing spoken at the wedding of knowing and production, and should be remembered when we contemplate what is common throughout the world.

For those of us in education, this provides a hint of the legacy relationships among constructivism, the methodologies of the natural sciences, and capitalist/market economies of production and consumption. It also codifies beginning links between knowledge and power which will, by the end of the nineteenth century, give rise to Nietzsche’s (1975) terrifying insight into how what is fundamental in human ways is not what is posited as a foundation, but the willful act of positing itself which, in such willing, takes productive and consumptive command over that which is known and eats it up into its own power-orbit. Thus portends an ecological disaster where the material well being of the world is only fulfilled in its submission to the will of human production and consumption. That constructivism has, to varying degrees, fallen for this logic hook, line and sinker and insinuated it into education as an indicator of students’ liberation and empowerment, is worthy of pause.

Thus I...

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