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Relational Ontologies

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Barbara Thayer-Bacon

Relational Ontologies uses the metaphor of a fishing net to represent the epistemological and ontological beliefs that we weave together for our children, to give meaning to their experiences and to help sustain them in their lives. The book describes the epistemological threads we use to help determine what we catch up in our net as the warp threads, and our ontological threads as the weft threads. It asks: what kind of fishing nets are we weaving for our children to help them make sense of their experiences? What weft threads are we including and working to strengthen, and what threads are we removing or leaving out? It is important to carefully re/examine these most basic ways of catching up what sustains us in our ocean of infinite experiences, as the threads we weave for our children will determine what they catch up in their nets, until they are old enough to re/weave their own. Relational Ontologies reweaves America’s epistemological and ontological fishing net on a larger scale, turning to indigenous cultures and diverse spiritual beliefs for assistance in reforming American schools.

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Chapter 6.   Educational Implications

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EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS

Introduction

In the Introduction to this book, I presented the metaphor of a fishing net to represent the epistemological and ontological beliefs that we weave together for our children, to give meaning to their experiences and to help sustain them in their lives. I described the epistemological threads we use to help us determine what we catch up in our net as the warp threads, and our ontological threads as the weft threads. I sketched in the Introduction some of the qualities of public schools in the USA that have been passed on to us by our communities and woven into our fishing nets based on Protestant Christian ontological threads. Examples of these ontological beliefs, such as original sin, that we are born as sinners, and personal struggle on earth will be rewarded in heaven, emphasize individual effort to contain and control our impulses, and the importance of singular hard work.

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