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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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Part Two: A New Approach to Ecological Education—Engaging Students’ Emotions and Imaginations in Their World 33

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Part Two A New Approach to Ecological Education— Engaging Students’ Emotions and Imaginations in Their World This part of the book enters the as yet uncharted terrain of Imaginative Ecological Education. I begin by describing the theory of Imaginative Education, a unique approach to learning that centralizes students’ emotional and imaginative engagement in the learning process. It offers Ecological Education a new theoretical foundation that can support teaching that engages students with the natural world around them more effectively and more routinely. Subsequent chapters examine the purposes and principles of Imaginative Ecological Education as well as what may be potentially problematic about aligning Imaginative and Ecological Education. What emerges is a framework for making all learning both imaginative and ecological. In bringing Imaginative and Ecological Education together both educational theories are changed in ways that increase their possibilities for educating students in meaningful ways. Chapter Three What Is Imaginative Education? Principles and Purposes Imaginative Education is an approach to education that differs significantly from the kind of pedagogy practiced in most classrooms. Two principles set Imaginative Education apart: one, that imagination constitutes the heart of all learning, and two, that learning is a culturally mediated activity. Imagination: The Heart of Learning I have yet to meet a teacher who would dispute the educational value of imagination. Imagination represents a flexibility, energy, and vividness of mind that enables us to transcend the actual, to enter a world of possibilities, and to understand the world more fully from different perspectives (Greene, 1995)...

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