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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 Sixty-Eight: An Ode to Xmas Present


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An Ode TO Xmas Present


Please don’t let me fear anything I cannot explain. I can’t believe I’ll never believe in anything again.


To begin, consider David Pope’s (2015) cartoon published at 7:09AM, January 7, 2015 ( A slightly pudgy, balding man lying in a pool of blood, his pencil, bent glasses and a piece of paper with a sketch on it beside him. Standing over him, a hooded figure with an AK47, still smoking, saying:

“He drew first.”

It is always rather disturbing to discover that something that I have felt or believed or been resigned to or took to be true is a fabrication that has no necessity to it at all. There is a terrible vertigo that comes in finding that believing it to be permanent or beyond question or fixed is just the outcome of causes and conditions that have fallen from memory and view. Such occluding amnesia is, it seems, a perennial part of the human condition. It makes my intimate and heartfelt experiences seem immediate and obvious and “simply the way things are.” A life of semblance has its own comforts, of course. Such “moon-sickness” (Gadamer, 1989, p. 25) makes it hard to see straight after recent events, and not let the inherited-and-forgotten immediacies of media flurries turn to whiteouts and skidding off the road....

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