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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 Seventy-One: Becoming Uncongealed


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Becoming Uncongealed


It is somewhat difficult to establish, but once you are used to it, it will be like meeting an old acquaintance.

—JAMGON KONGTRUL (2002, P. 67)

It’s like making a path through the forest. At first it’s rough going, with a lot of obstructions, but returning to it again and again, we clear the way. After a while the ground becomes firm and smooth from being walked on repeatedly. Then we have a good path for walking in the forest.

—AJAHN CHAH (2005, P. 83)

In the work of interpretation, what begins to emerge is an experience of, shall we say, trace-lines in the world, lines that have been hidden or obscured by day-to-day practicalities, distractions and duties. In our class, we can read a phrase from David Loy’s book (2010) and now, after all the rough going we’ve been through, all the difficult reading and reflection and writing, some phrases start to sound familiar, some images draw us in, some passages start to ask to be underlined. And what becomes clear is that re-reading it makes different things emerge precisely because of what has occurred in the meantime. It does not stand still as something I have already experienced, but comes back as a sort of new summons. I ask for page numbers when others are reading partly because I don’t want this...

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