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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 Three: Lesson Planning Templates and Detailed Examples 109


Part Three Lesson Planning Templates and Detailed Examples Part Two of the book began to explore how principles I have called Feeling, Activeness, and Place/Sense of Place may come together in Imaginative Ecological Education in a way that supports the development of ecological imagination and, ultimately, ecological understanding. Feeling is a reminder that in order for learning to be meaningful, and for our imaginations to be engaged, emotion must be evoked in learning. Activeness alerts the teacher to the need to provide students with opportunities to employ the body’s sense-making tools. Activeness and Feeling principles come together in Place. Place is the site of the child’s personal relationship with nature, his or her body’s connection, and the site of an emotional bond that may support behavioral change in line with sustainable living. Through engagement of the body in the local context, and the cultivation of emotional connections with what is being encountered and learned, we may see the development of ecological imagination. Possibilities for understanding the world and humankind’s position within it may emerge that are shaped around notions of interdependence and relationship. This final part of the book illustrates in detail and with direct reference to the Imaginative Ecological Education frameworks I have designed, how to teach topics from various curricular areas, both imaginatively and ecologically. Chapter Six focuses on Mythic understanding and Chapter Seven on Romantic understanding. You will notice that the overall structure of Imaginative Education’s Mythic and Romantic planning templates do not change. This is because...

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