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A New Approach to Ecological Education

Engaging Students’ Imaginations in Their World

Gillian Judson

Ecological education is becoming a major area of interest worldwide, and schools are increasingly being called upon to address global and local ecological concerns. Unfortunately, most teachers have limited or no training in the knowledge and skills required to support their students’ sense of connection to the natural world. Moreover, they have been trained to teach in ways that often marginalize the imagination in learning. This book illustrates how imagination and the development of ecological understanding are closely connected. It offers teachers a practical guide to teaching in ecological and imaginative ways – needed support to establishing more ecologically-oriented education in all classrooms. As imagination takes a central position in schools, all teaching and learning can improve as a result.


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Acknowledgments xi


Acknowledgments I wish to begin by acknowledging those people without whose guidance and continual encouragement this book would not have been written. I offer my deepest gratitude to Dr. Kieran Egan, with whom I have had the pleasure of working directly and, from whom, whether over chocolate chip cookies or email, I have gained a much deeper understanding of the intricacies and possibilities of Imaginative Education. I owe thanks to Dr. Sean Blenkinsop and Dr. Mark Fettes who spent countless hours critically reading my work and whose suggestions challenged my thinking in subtle, yet powerful, ways. I also wish to offer my sincere thanks to Dr. Anne Chodakowski, my colleague and friend, for her warm smile, critical insights, and endless encouragement. To my family I offer my gratitude and my love. I owe an immense amount to my parents, Claire and Ed Dyatt, who planted, and continue to nurture, my love of learning and my love of the outdoors. To my dear husband, Jayson, I thank you for being “Super Dad,” for carrying a heavier load after your long days of work, on weekends and during summer holidays, so that I could complete this research. And last, but certainly not least, I want to thank our beautiful daughters, Ella and Chloë, for reminding me everyday just how wonderful this world is.

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