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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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Conclusion: Some Final Remarks and Suggestions 157

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Conclusion Some Final Remarks and Suggestions This book sets its sights pretty high. It does, after all, aim to change the world. How? If we accept that a new understanding of the world is required, specifically, a new sense of humankind’s relationship to nature, then we need a means to get there. This book’s small, yet important, contribution towards cultivating the ecological understanding we so desperately require, is a pedagogy equipped to develop it. Imaginative Ecological Education can resolve the weaknesses in current approaches to Ecological Education that are making the efforts of even the most well-intentioned teachers ineffective in developing ecological understanding. Imaginative Ecological Education supports the development of ecological understanding in at least five ways that current approaches to Ecological Education do not. First, Imaginative Ecological Education brings the development of ecological understanding to a more central position in the curriculum, by introducing an ecological perspective to all topics. Second, it suggests ways to take learning outside and encourages all teachers to consider the value in doing so. Third, it supports Somatic understanding. By routinely and meaningfully developing the body’s tools for making sense of the world, students may be able to not only directly experience the wildness that surrounds them, but may also learn to pay more attention to their somatic encounters. While we encounter the world with our bodies all the time, we may not be open to paying attention to, and focusing on, our Somatic understanding. Moreover, by engaging the body in learning in profound...

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