Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Please read all the Ecoliteracy links and essays prior to responding this week and respond to BOTH questions:

1. In addition to environmental knowledge, education for sustainability includes the acquisition of particular skills, values, and vision needed to put that knowledge into practice.  Education for sustainable living cultivates competencies of head, heart, hands, and spirit to enable children to develop toward becoming citizens capable of designing and maintaining sustainable societies.  Which of the competencies listed at would you list as a strength in your current or ideal pedagogy? Why?

2. After reading David W. Orr's essay please respond to ONE of the quotes listed below.  What resonates with you as an educator?

A. Genuine leaders, including those in the media, must summon the people with all of their flaws to a level of extraordinary achievement appropriate to an extraordinarily dangerous time. They must ask people, otherwise highly knowledgeable about the latest foibles of celebrities, to be active citizens again, to know more, think more deeply, take responsibility, participate publicly, and, from time to time sacrifice.


B. Telling the truth requires leaders at all levels to speak clearly about the causes of our failures that have led us to the brink of disaster. If we fail to treat the underlying causes, no small remedies will save us for long. The problems can in one way or another be traced to the irresponsible exercise of power that has excluded the rights of the poor, the disenfranchised, and every generation after our own. 


C. Transformational leadership in the largest crisis humankind has ever faced means summoning people to a higher vision than that of the affluent consumer society. Consider the well-studied but little-noted gap between the stagnant or falling trend line of American happiness in the last half century and that of rising GNP. That gap ought to have reinforced the ancient message that, beyond some point, more is not better.


  1. 1. Since I am not teaching yet, I will have to think about these competencies in terms of my ideal pedagogy. My ideal pedagogy would have to include all four competencies: head, heart, hands, and spirit. I can't choose one as being more important than the other, as they are all interconnected and work to make up a system, which without one piece wouldn't function properly.

    In Daniel Goleman's essay he discusses the importance of being able to think systematically. Goleman says, "Ecological intelligence allows us to comprehend systems in all their complexity, as well as the interplay between the natural and man-made worlds. But that understanding demands a vast store of knowledge, one so huge that no single brain can store it all. Each one of us needs the help of others to navigate the complexities of ecological intelligence. We need to collaborate." This really resonated with me when thinking about which competency would be the strongest in my ideal pedagogy.

    I had two realizations: The first is that every student will need to think systematically and to employ all four competencies (head, heart, hands, and spirit) on an individual level. When thinking in terms of Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intellegences, it became clear to me that each student will have their own individual strengths, so one student may possess deeper strengths in the competencies of the head, while another may be stronger in competencies of the heart. My second realization stemmed from the first as I realized that students' varying strengths makes collaboration extremely important. As Goleman said, we all need each other to navigate the complexities of ecological intelligence.

    The ability to think systematically both individually and collaboratively is what will help students to become ecoliterate. They will be able to use their heads, hearts, hands and spirits individually and collaboratively in the context of the classroom and in the real world. For this reason, I believe that all four competencies must be included in my ideal pedagogy.

  2. 2. After reading David W. Orr's essay I had tears in my eyes and felt slightly defeated, but also felt motivated. The quote that really resonated with me was, "Genuine leaders, including those in the media, must summon the people with all of their flaws to a level of extraordinary achievement appropriate to an extraordinarily dangerous time. They must ask people, otherwise highly knowledgeable about the latest foibles of celebrities, to be active citizens again, to know more, think more deeply, take responsibility, participate publicly, and, from time to time sacrifice."

    Although I feel that I am someone who is aware of the critical time that we are living in, I also feel that I sometimes fall into the category of someone who isn't actually doing anything to promote change. This makes me really angry because I KNOW what needs to be done, but also know that I'm not doing enough. Sure, I use reusable bags at the grocery store, I recycle, I try to buy local produce, but is that enough? I don't feel like it is, and the biggest excuse I have for not doing more is that I don't know what I can do. Sometimes I feel like I'm just another small person in this vast world and I don't have any power.

    This quote and my feelings about it make me think about John Mayer's song, "Waiting on the World to Change." There are some lyrics in that song that express exactly how I feel: "Me and all my friends, we're all misunderstood. They say we stand for nothing and there's no way we ever could. Now we see everything that's going wrong with the world and those who lead it, we just feel like we don't have the means to rise above and beat it..."

    I want to be an active citizen, I want to know more, I want to think more deeply, I want to take responsiblity, I want to participate publicly, and I want to sacrifice. I want to be a part of the system of change in order to help our environment and our way of life, and to improve the future for my kids and grandkids.

    What I really took out of this article is that on an individual level it can be easy to feel like you're not making that much of a difference, but as a teacher you can pass these ideas onto your students, and that is something I need to embrace. I want to teach in the primary grades and I feel that teaching students to be responsible environmental citizens early on is one step that I will be able to take to help transform our current way of living.
    (Sorry I had to post 2 times, my entries were too long!!)

  3. 1. In Korea, we all have to categorize all the waste including leftover food. Any thing can be recycled has to be separated by law. The heavy fine is a major force to carry out this practice. Although this campaign has been very successful, I don’t think many people understand the principle of practice. In this case, head and hand are there; however, heart and spirit are missing. For example, if there is any way people can throw away the waste without paying a fine, they will take advantage from it. They don’t feel deep concern for well-being of all living things. In other words, you can force people to do a certain thing, but you can’t make them feel in a certain way to participate. Form this respect, I think in my ideal pedagogy heart should be a strength although every four elements are essential. Empathy for the Earth and all living things must emerge from the heart of us to bring skills to build, govern, and sustain our communities in a global perspective. Since the students are young, they need to recognize their own ability to care the nature of system to maintain a dynamic balance. In my opinion, it is so important to have the students recognize the awareness of our survival through the art of working together effectively from the early stage. Therefore, they can share what they know and learn in the future.

    2. When I saw the global warming documentary movie, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, I felt betrayed by the world. I had to acknowledge that I didn’t know any of these important facts which might change a course of my life or my nieces. While I am living a peaceful days, the Earth is dying without screaming. On the other hand, the rest of us don’t have a chance to treat the hidden fatal causes. This is why the quote B resonates with me so much. As David W.Orr says we as the public need to be treated as intelligent adults who are understanding the truth and acting actively and courageously in the face of necessity. As long as we know our right to be well informed, once we face the problems, our heart and spirit would feel the concern and our head and hand would think systematically and critically to solve problems creatively. We have to admit that human beings are not perfect and infallible in light of global warming and climate change. The truth about our situation shouldn’t be covered by our ignorance. Thus, as a educator, the pursuit of truth is a big part of learning and teaching.

  4. 1. I agree that all four are important as well. However, if I had to pick one I am strongest in at this moment it would be heart. The part that really resonated with me was a commitment to equity, justice, inclusiveness, and respect for all people. Having taught the oppressed as Freire calls them for two years, I know that you have to be committed to the success of these children. You have to realize they have had they are born with two strikes against them: They are of low socio-economic status and they are children of color. You need to realize the difficult backgrounds they come from and how on some days they should be commended for even making out of bed and arriving to school. Often times, they will lash out with you for something that you had nothing to do with. You need to teach this population with all your heart and not believe in the whole "diamond in the rough" mentality. You need to realize all your students are diamonds, they just show it in non-traditional ways. If you do everything you can to believe in and inspire these students, then you really are making a difference in their lives.

    2. For me, quote C definitely has the most impact in terms of my pedagogy. The part that resonated with me was the idea of having increased material wealth leading to decreased happiness. I forget where or when I heard it, but that quote reminds of how insanely high the number is of Americans on anti-depressants in this day and age. Yet, here we are with the designation of "leaders of the free world." It's back to that age old adage of can money buy us happiness? Are we as a nation following the advice of Barrett Strong ("Now give me money, that's what I want") or The Beatles ("I don't care too much for money, 'cause money can't buy me love")?

    I think this quote and some of what I mentioned would be a great unit in a classroom. Having a social studies background, I would love to teach a unit on happiness versus wealth. I think that it would be a real interesting comparative study to do. For example, look at a tradional funeral procession here in the United States as opposed to one in a "Third World" country. Which one seems more upbeat? What about certain indigenous groups that don't have currency? How shold we view them? Can someone have too much money? How would the United States be different if we used a barter system instead of paper currency? The questions are endless, and they easily lend themselves to higher-order thinking as well. I really think it would help students to reevaluate their take on material wealth and whether or not having this wealth is truly necessary to live a full, rich life.

  5. 1. In my current pedagogy, I would say that Head: The ability to assess the impact of human technologies and actions and to envision the long-term consequences of decisions is a strength in my classroom. Right now, we are doing a cross-curricular research paper for both English and History. Students have chosen a country at the beginning the year for History that they will be working with all year long. They have done some prior research with their country, and now, in English class, we are researching a major problem or issue that their country faces, how they are attempting to solve the problem, and which solution seems to be the most effective. Students must acknowledge that human actions have caused a large issue and then recognize our ability to fix it. Furthermore, they must assess the solutions to determine which one is working or appears to work most effectively for a long time. Although students are struggling with this, it is very important for them to realize that these issues can be and are being fixed. Their generation will have a ton of issues to resolve, and we have to train them to assess solutions critically so that they don’t fall for scams or quick-fix resolutions. This project has also made me realize that our students are not used to having to assess information and then integrate their own thoughts into that assessment. I hope to maintain the practice of having students assess long-term impacts of human actions throughout the rest of the year as well.
    2. C. Transformational leadership in the largest crisis humankind has ever faced means summoning people to a higher vision than that of the affluent consumer society. Consider the well-studied but little-noted gap between the stagnant or falling trend line of American happiness in the last half century and that of rising GNP. That gap ought to have reinforced the ancient message that, beyond some point, more is not better.
    This quote resonates with me as both an educator and a citizen of our society. Our society has become so focused on materialism that we have lost sight of what is truly important in life. Furthermore, we are so concerned with gaining more that sacrificing any kind of amenity for the sake of the environment seems outrageous to us. We believe that we should have unlimited access to any resource at any time, and with the population growth, this is becoming increasingly difficult. Our greed has led directly to global and environment irresponsibility. Aside from the select few, our citizens are far more concerned with attaining personal wealth than attaining a common good. Our students have been raised in this milieu of focus only on material gain and often do not understand why it is becoming necessary to conserve, sacrifice, and show concern for others, both globally and locally. Because our country is rapidly changing from what it has been for the past couple of decades, it is necessary that we educate our students on these new concepts; not only for the maintenance of our country’s global position, but for the benefit of our world.

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  7. 1. In my ideal pedagogy the skill that would be of foremost importance would be spirit. I equate spirit, especially with the skills that they describe, with a passion for learning and a joy of living. Promoting a sense of wonder and allows students to see the benefits about being passionate about a subject, if fosters self-directed learning, and it allows for students to engage in meaningful and student centered inquiry. Reverence is arguably a skill that not many students of the 21st century possess. Countries outside of the United States often talk about our culture as lacking proper reference for the elderly or our ancestors, which people often attribute to the fact that America as a country is relatively new and we therefore cannot fully appreciate history. I think that irreverence in society and especially youth goes beyond that; reverence for ideas, nature, people needs to be cultivated in the same way that respect, tolerance, and fairness need to be cultivated in the classroom. Appreciation of place is also an important skill, I think that a lot of students don’t understand how lucky they are when they live or go to school in neighborhoods or communities that are safe and encouraging of their development, if students had a better appreciation of their surroundings, especially their schools, we would see a decrease of litter, vandalism, and violence. Lastly, kinship with nature is oftentimes lost in technology driven curriculums. Students don’t get an opportunity to experience nature and consequently don’t appreciate it. Students spend hours and days in their week without spending any time outside, often times because video games, TV, and the internet have replaced healthier options like outdoor games or exercise. If students spend time in natural settings they are more likely to develop a loving and respectful relationship with nature that may eventually lead them to demand more parks, forests, gardens, and nature preserves in their communities and nationally. I think that spirit is an integral component of my ideal pedagogy because the effects it may have on students learning, lives, and futures extend in many directions beyond the classroom.

    2A. The fact that Orr mentions the general public needs to extend their knowledge beyond what they know about celebrity gossip and reality TV resonated principally with me, because of a discussion I was having with a friend of mine the other day. He postulated that there was no reason for anyone to have to take general education courses because it was a waste of two extra years of time and money when you really only need to know the information from your major. My argument was that as a future educator I know the importance of having a well rounded knowledge base because of the interconnectedness of so many principles that affect us personally and as global citizens, which is particularly evident in Orr’s list of “things people ought to know in order to discern the truth”. I wish that I had read Orr’s article before I had this argument with my ill-informed friend, because he articulates my thoughts perfectly, “I am an educator and earn my keep by perpetuating the quaint belief that if people only knew more we would behave better”. For educators the point that Orr makes in quote A is that unless we can convince the general public that there are more pressing issues for them to be concerned with than the fate of the dark horse on America’s Next Top Model, then there will be no way for the human race to rise up and solve the global climate crisis. As educators of a certain caliber it is our duty to create students who are ecoliterate critical thinkers and empathetic global citizens. We are the leaders that Orr refers to, though we may not be the only ones thusly obligated.

  8. 1. In respect to my (student) teaching experience, I would say that of the four competencies my biggest strengths are in the HEAD and HANDS sectors. When it comes to the lessons I plan and the type of learning activities I engage students in, their aims are generally to accomplish many of the following things: critical thinking, creative approaches to solving problems, facility using “tools” of the mathematics classroom, assessing problems and making decisions on how to proceed, and so on. It is important that students be critical thinkers who can read, approach, plan, and solve a problem. Doing so makes them feel involved in the community of learners in the classroom, like they are contributing members whose input has impact.

    Where I see a need for growth, however, is in respect to how this intersects with my ideal pedagogy. Math instruction devoid of the skills listed under SPIRIT and HEART will not lead to the development of sustainable communities of learners in the math classroom. In addition to knowing how to approach and solve a problem, students need to be given the opportunity to develop a deep sense of wonder about the phenomenon behind the world of math. They should feel connected to the material, and be able to explain that connectedness to others. Also, students should feel connected to their learning community and to creating a classroom space that is just and equitable for all its members. Invoking the strengths listed under the competencies of SPIRIT and HEART are elements of my ideal pedagogy and are strengths that, with work, I can develop over time.

  9. 2B. After reading David Orr’s article, the quote about needing to recognize the causes of our failures is the one that resonated with me the most as a teacher, and as a person. Speaking about education, real transformative action that will rework schooling and make it more equitable and more just for ALL students will require politicians, policymakers, and leaders to take loud action. They will need to step up and be brave to speak clearly in identify the underlying causes that have brought the state of education in this country to where it is today. Unequal access to resources across students from different socioeconomic classes is not just a random coincidence; it is a result of racism, classism, and sexism that permeate society making their ways into education.

    To fix these problems and make education more just for all students, we must explicitly identify and name our flaws. Our shortcomings must be made public and we must boldly recognize all our wrongdoings as a nation. As Orr writes, this will be the only way to then have candid discussions about crafting new solutions to restructuring the system of education in this society to make it more just. Self-identification of the causes of failure is not something the U.S. is known for doing. Shortcomings in this country are all too often swept under the rug, and our strengths are what we choose to trumpet to the world. It is crucial, however, for all involved to realize that we must name our flaws and not hide them from the public eye.

    At this point, we must recognize that we (as future educators) are not separate from this “they” that I have been referring to. Aimee wrote about this in the end of her posting, when she said that “We are the leaders that Orr refers to, though we may not be the only ones thus obliged.” In the ongoing battle within the field of education, us “new” teachers cannot distance ourselves from the “old” regime of teachers and leaders. As teachers in the 21st century, we must also reflect on our own pedagogies to name and bring to the surface the places where racist generalizations or stereotypes seep into our own teaching. We are not separate from this group. Our fates our inextricably intertwined and we must proceed in a way that understands and honors this connection. Without doing so, true and evolutionary progress will be unattainable.

  10. 1.Education for ideal sustainable society and environment needs all dimensions of competencies. In order to be realistic and put theories forward to educate the children, young adults or even adults, we need to move from cognitive perception like Head level to real world situation like Hands-on practice level. In this sense, I would like to put stress on importance of Heart and Sprit first then move on to the hands-on application like Head and Hands. I would like to tell the story of our school for an example of this case. Few years ago, one of our school projects in Seoul, Korea was to have empathy and feel the nature around us that is we called “nature-friendly education.” There were several teachers who connect their idea to this project because they already known as eco-friendly teachers. I think this is close to the concept of ‘hidden curricular’ in the article. Before the teachers directly apply the questions of ‘how’ and ‘what’ to the students, I saw (actually I didn’t try to this project as an excuse of language teaching, but I can say I didn’t have much information about this “nature-friendly education”) those teachers began with ‘empathy’ with the nature around us such as ‘feel the leaves, sense the difference from each different trees’ ‘find the flowers on campus and identify their names’, etc. There were such different ways of feel or aware nature around us. Then, as a step by step procedure, the teachers moved on to give information and knowledge to the class and to the individual students. That’s how the students had previous experience about nature around the school campus, in small society, and then they expand their concept toward a broader world outside of the school. I was pretty impressed the way how they approached. Since the students had Heart and Spirit, they could follow the knowledge of Head and Hands, also. I believe the 21st century learners should have these ecoliteracy as well as other technological skills. The decision depends on the degree of high value to where the school administers or educators put with integrated curriculum. A little effort and trial such as school gardening, or project-based learning in the natural environment lead a transforming education.

    2. From the essay of David W.orr, the Quote C is striking me the most. The high value, education or philosophy, all these good things have lived with human society and made our history through the century. But can we find the real human value or community oriented society in our 21st century? We are definitely living with pursuing the vision of money, materialism or consumerism and these lead us to the final conclusion which is who has the power among us and also it can be interpreted as who has the money. This cause many unhappy and unbalanced situations all over the world such as consumerism, human trafficking, illegal immigrant, child labor, destroying environment and war among the countries underlying the matter of oil or money. All these unpleasant situations lead us to dehumanization in the end. It was quite interesting expression that David Orr’s imagined the carbon-neutral society. All those lists are possible dream but the problem is that we do not have many leaders who have the right vision with transformational education. Therefore, as an educator view point myself, each one of us, we are all responsible for our future and our happiness, the Nirvana. We don’t need to wait for long time until such a charismatic leader to be elected or to be appeared right in front of our eyes. We educate the children, young adults, and adults even with the small unit of society. We can reach out by having the right vision with real human value, philosophy and educational goals. By leading connecting the small unit to the whole, and starting with little effort, we can transform our society as livable place like the lists of the carbon neutral society. That’s why small unit or community based activity is powerful tool for building our society as healthy and livable.

  11. 1. What a beautiful way to name the competencies. I hope that all are employed in my pedagogy someday. The one that is probably most pervasive now is “heart”, due to the nature of my job and the things that I put value on in the classroom. While my official job in the classroom is to teach a language, I often feel more like a facilitator, guiding the students’ interactions, making sure all voices are heard, ensuring that everyone is respectful. My highest hope for my students is that they come away from their experience with a deeper understanding of different cultures, people, and themselves, but with an eye toward similarities rather than differences. I’m reminded daily that people are, for the most part, the same, and that we are also interconnected and dependent on one another—economically, ecologically, emotionally—making ignorance and apathy detrimental not only to ourselves but our world as a whole. Principles of ecology such as networks, flows, and development can also be related to other systems such as relationships or the classroom. In my classroom, my commitment to the Heart “skills” is displayed mainly through their reading assignments as well as class conversations. I place a value on my students’ concern for the world and the people in it, “empathy and the ability to see from and appreciate multiple perspectives”, a “commitment to equity…and respect for all people”, and “building…and sustaining communities.” Hopefully, the short amount of time they spend with their fellow international students opens their eyes a little more and gives them something they can build on and pass on.

    2A. What is required at this time is a complete shift in thinking and living for a large part of the world. Needless to say, this is an extraordinarily huge and difficult undertaking, and like ecological sustainability itself, it is something that must be started on a micro level. This is where educators come in. Perhaps we are not the go-to front line for addressing global crises, but children and young people are often more energetic, idealistic, and progressive-thinking than adults and can and do inspire change. As educators, it is our job to instill knowledge, cultivate curiosity, and teach students to question. What better to question than our ignorant and reckless practices that are destroying the environment?

    Creating empathy, relating problems to their lives, and arming students with not only the knowledge on certain subjects but the tools to be able to affect change, are all necessary classroom practices. This “change” could be something small, such as encouraging their family to recycle. But, in the end, this is not a minor change if this is happening in household after household throughout the world.

    As David Orr points out, people know and care more about celebrities and other trivial information than about critically important things going on in the world. Changing the hearts and minds of adults may be somewhat more complicated, but for children and young people, their eyes can be opened and hopefully kept open through what they learn in the classroom. Students need to be surrounded with material and experiences that are engaging and meaningful. They must learn to be responsible and to question. They should learn the importance of being, as Orr says, “active citizens”, what causes to take up and how to do it. They should “from time to time sacrifice”, and, in a society where “instant” is the norm and attention spans are low, they also need to learn the art of patience. With hard work, teacher-leaders can hopefully lead the way in changing the world, one student at a time.

  12. 1. My ideal pedagogy would balance all four of these competencies. I don't think there is one that is more important than the others. However, currently, I feel that the spirit is the strongest in my classroom. Over the past few months, I have realized that my students are lacking that 'sense of wonder' and ability to appreciate multiple perspectives. I am struggling with exactly how to develop this in my students. I think that they are missing that sense of 'place' and without that as a foundation, it's hard to develop the 'head' and 'hands.' I try to model all of these competencies with everything I do. Most importantly, I want them to see how important spirit is--and then use that to begin thinking critically and actually do the work.

    2. After reading David W. Orr's essay, the first quote resonated with me most. As a teacher, I have so much power--sometimes that scares me! My students look up to me so much, and believe everything I say. Therefore, I feel lke it is my responsibility to encourage them and show them how, together, we need to take responsibility and participate in our community and world. I want to empower my students to think and know they can change the world. Somehow, I want them to know that they have a larger purpose. This quote was very inspiring and felt like a warning at the same time. It ties in with another quote, from the previous section we read: Schools are systems, and they are communities. Schools are themselves important nodes in the web of institutions that constitutes society. Whatever happens in schools will have profound effects on the rest of society. We need to use our influence to start changing things.

  13. 1. Since I have little teaching experience and am pursuing the administrative route in education, I will speak from the perspective of how I visualize an ideal pedagogy. Of the four competencies listed, I would have to say all four of them are apart of an ideal pedagogy. I do not think you could possibly mantain a sustainable living environment without all four competencies. Sure, you can put some of the knowledge you acquire into practice without being equally strong in all of the competencies, but they are so interconnected that it seems almost impossible to be able to have one skill without the other. When reading the question, my first thought that came to mind was the quote, "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." I do not think I could pick a competency that is more important than the other. They all function towards one common goal: sustainability. In order for education to be sustainable, students must carry the habits/competencies of the head, heart, mind, and spirit in their educational endeavors. This means that it is up to us as educators to create a learning environment that promotes and teaches these competencies to our students and to equip them with the skill sets necessary to acheive all of these competencies.

    2. The second quote listed from David Orr's essay resonated most with me as an educator.

    "Telling the truth requires leaders at all levels to speak clearly about the causes of our failures that have led us to the brink of disaster. If we fail to treat the underlying causes, no small remedies will save us for long. The problems can in one way or another be traced to the irresponsible exercise of power that has excluded the rights of the poor, the disenfranchised, and every generation after our own."

    It reminds me just how much our educational system is in crisis and there is so much push and pull between varying levels of administration and teachers alike. Until everyone is on the same page and is truly ready to admit what is wrong in our educational system, then things will continue to get progressively worse. No one who is at fault is willing to admit what is wrong in our educational system. It is going to continue to be destroyed because they do not want the blame to fall upon them. It is utterly depressing to see more and more kids each year slip through the cracks. I was in a special eduation class the other day and there sat a 12th grade young man who could not even read a single word that was more than 3 letters. My eyes filled up with tears just knowing that this student who still has so much potential is going to be passed through the school system into the real world where he won't be equipped with the skills necessary to keep his head afloat. There seems to be this "its not my problem" approach with many people that I have come into contact in the education system. Its as if no one wants to take repsonsiblity for the shortcomings of our eduaction.

  14. 1, The main topic of the ecoliteracy website was, “Nature is our teacher”. This idea makes me feel that as a future teacher I may be "useless," unless I can incorporate this concept into my instruction and teaching methods. A good example of a pedagogy that could incorporate the idea that “nature is our teacher” is “thematic instruction”. Thematic instruction is the organization of a curriculum around macro “themes.” Thematic instruction integrates basic disciplines like reading, math, and science with the exploration of a broad subject, such as communities, rain forests, river basins, the use of energy, and so on. As the ecoliteracy is working on the same themes, I’d like to combine these two studying manners into one. I believe students will be at ease with ecoliteracy explored in their learning world.
    Within these macro “themes”, I believe those four human elements all need to be incorporated throughout lessons; the mind, the heart, the hands, and the spirit. These four elements are all very important in order to enable children to become citizens capable of designing and maintaining sustainable societies. (The rationale is, as a human being, I cannot survive without any of these four elements.) When I meet difficulties that couldn’t be wished away, I use my own head and hands to solve the problems with nothing to help me. My heart gives the voice to my consciousness, which is how I know what the meaning of fairness, forgiveness and love is. The Mayans believed that the spirit belongs to nature, because it allows people to feel strong when they are not strong. My head and hands are working in society, but my spirit and heart are left in nature to absorb energy and learn the knowledge of the world.

  15. 2, I choose QuoteC: Transformational leadership in the largest crisis humankind has ever faced means summoning people to a higher vision than that of the affluent consumer society. Consider the well-studied but little-noted gap between the stagnant or falling trend line of American happiness in the last half century and that of rising GNP. That gap ought to have reinforced the ancient message that, beyond some point, more is not better.
    I choose this one because it impressed me with “more is not better.”

    I believe that Quote C stated it best, people should not believe that money and materials will bring happiness, but that nature will bring happiness. There are 6.8 billion people in this world, and our Society is consuming the earth. If we want to build up a sustainable society, we have to figure out what is wrong with the current society. The current society tells us that we want other people to value us not by whom we are, but by the item we have from Cartier. We have already hurt this world, beginning with the creation of the first concrete jungles. America encourages people to desire more than they need, so people keep consuming clothing, food, housing and vehicles. The U.S. has eventually become the superpower country when it comes to wasting resources. According to the data, together we consume a total of the1.4 “Earth’s” worth of resources per year. If everyone consumed like Americans, we would need a total of 5.4 “Earths” to sustain us. If Americans consumed like the Indians, who do not place as much value on material items, we would just need a quarter of an Earth. I am a taker, but the earth is a giver. I think societies won’t feel lonely without us, but we will die without societies.
    I believe that we have a good chance to over turn these thoughts that existed in our society for many years. We are a minority of educators carrying a burden that no one even notices. We carry the burden of educating our future citizens that will be capable of designing and maintaining a sustainable society. Spreading ecoliteracy in the reality is quite a challenge to all educators because we do not have the power to decide the context we supply in the class, which will allow us to fully educate our children. However, we can try to summon people to pay attention to this pedagogy.
    In summary, I’d like to share this poem with you.

    There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
    There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
    There is society, where none intrudes,
    By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
    I love not man the less, but Nature more,
    From these our interviews, in which I steal
    From all I may be, or have been before,
    To mingle with the Universe, and feel
    What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.
    ------Lord Byron

  16. 1.) During my semester of student teaching, I feel that the competency that was my strength was Heart. I worked for a semester in the FLAGS program and in two non- FLAGS classrooms at Hilltop Middle School. The programs main focus was Foreign Language and Global Studies. The students in this program were labeled the 'advanced' students. My preconceived notion before working with the students in the FLAGS program was that it would be a piece of cake for me. I unknowingly believed that I would be most challenged by the students in the non-FLAGS classrooms, the 'regular' students so to speak. Both of my assumptions were unfortunately wrong. All of the students I worked with that semester challenged and tested me in any way they could. It is only now, looking back that I can say that i stuck through my student teaching semester because of HEART. First off, I had "A deeply felt, not just understood, concern for the well-being of the Earth and of all living things." I genuinely cared for the well-being of all of my students. It was important for me that each one of them succeed in all of the tasks I assigned. I understood that the students in this urban school setting had plenty of challenges in their lives, from simply making it safe to school to learning how to read at grade-level, yet I also felt deep within my being that they were capable of doing whatever it was I asked of them, as long as I help guide them and provided them with resources. Second, I also feel that I exhibit "empathy and the ability to see from and appreciate multiple perspectives." I learned really fast that I was not the only boss in my classrooms. In order for my students to gain the most from the lessons I taught I needed to allow room for multiple perspectives. I needed to respect the ideas and discussions my students presented instead of dismissing them and continuing with my planned lesson. Only now am I realizing that by doing so, I was creating a classroom with students who were frequently responsive and engaged. Thirdly, I also had "a commitment to equity, justice, inclusivity, and respect for all people." I didn't only focus on my students' skin color. I walked into the classroom, knowing that in this environment I could not demand respect, instead the respect would be earned by all parties involved. I was determined to be the example my students needed to see on a daily basis of justice. When I gave my word, I kept it. It might sound fairly simple to do, yet many times I found myself becoming more creative in the assignments because of something I had promised in a previous class period. Thinking back on why I had the strength to survive student teaching, I can only come up with one reason- I have passion and therefore I had HEART!

    2.)a. The quote that resonates the most with me from the essay is the first quote selected. I too felt like I needed to get up out of my chair and at the very least use a reusable bag when I went shopping tonight. I think that this quote resonates with me because I feel like I could be doing more. I would like to sit here and say that I am a genuine leader and an active citizen, but sadly I am not. I can rattle off the latest celebrity gossip, heard every morning on my way to work by Gina the Latina on Star 94.1, but won't be able to discuss anything on the health reform Obama is proposing. Why? I am coming to realize it is because I don't like to sacrifice what little time I call 'me' time to actually think deeply. It is almost as if I have subconsciously decided that "me" time will not be filled with anything of substance. Instead of listening to NPR or other informative am radio shows I choose to listen or do something that requires little effort on my part. After reading the essay, I felt very embarrassed, in part because I felt like David Orr was calling me out, and because I know I could use my 'me' time much more effectively. The essay has inspired me to challenge myself in creative ways to know more about what's going on in the world and to think deeply about such issues.

  17. Since I am teaching kindergarten for the first time this year, I get to see the world through the eyes of four- and five-year-olds everyday. They are incredibly eager to soak in knowledge and experiences, and they have an endless stream of questions. I believe it is my job to cultivate their sense of wonder, so this year my strength is probably “Spirit.” What concerns me about this is that I do not believe I was fostering a similar sense of spirit when I taught upper elementary students. For very young students, a sense of wonder is very apparent. I do not believe that sense dissipates as children grow up, but perhaps it is just not as obvious.

    One of my students’ favorite activities is tending our kindergarten garden. We have planted sunflowers, which have started to grow, and we will plant pole beans that will grow up the sunflower’s stem (that’s the plan at least). They love to admire our garden and pull the weeds and talk to their plants. I do believe they feel a “kinship with the natural world.” I hope that spirit does not fade as they grow older.


    Our country’s current economic crisis has been devastating on many levels; however, I also do believe it has brought about some good. Orr’s quote:

    Consider the well-studied but little-noted gap between the stagnant or falling trend line of American happiness in the last half century and that of rising GNP. That gap ought to have reinforced the ancient message that, beyond some point, more is not better.

    These lines made me reflect on how the financial crisis is actually forcing people to take a step back and realize just what they can live without. We are learning the difference between “needs” and “wants.” Our nation is (hopefully) also realizing the importance of limiting our use of natural resources and finding clean energy options. We are turning toward alternatives that save our planet and also save our shrinking wallets. Perhaps I am being idealistic, but I do think these challenging times will teach many Americans about what truly makes us happy.

  18. On behalf of Elizabeth Part I:

    1. I am chagrined to admit that I am not currently incorporating enough of the ecoliteracy skills in my classroom. In the rush and pressure to cover all of the curricula that are required by the district, there is not always the time and freedom to explore this and other important issues. That is a reason, not an excuse. I am inspired to find ways to incorporate these concepts into the programs that I am already required to teach. The skills that I do currently include in my classroom curriculum lie mostly in the area of the “heart” and of the “spirit”, rather than the practical.

    Empathy for others is emphasized in my classroom. I talk about our “learning team” and how important it is to work together and respect one another. We have a circle time at the end of the day when the children can talk about something nice that someone did for them and thank them. We also approach conflict from the standpoint of looking at how the other person feels. Even literature can be approached this way when children explore the points of view of the various characters and develop the ability to see things from different points of view. I hope this is helping to lay the foundation for being more empathetic in other areas of their lives now and in the years to come.

  19. On behalf of Elizabeth Part II:

    Respect for living things is an important component of the FOSS science curriculum, which we use. Also, there is definitely a sense of wonder as the children really look at a tree and when they observe and hold earthworms and snails. Recently, as we were sitting under a tree and observing it, some of the children began digging at the roots and trying to pull out some of the offshoots. This was an opportunity for them to learn that the tree is alive and that what they were doing was hurtful to it. I said, “How would you like it if someone tried to pull of your toes?” Their eyes got really wide and I could see the wheels begin to turn in their heads.

    One aspect which I include from the “head” domain is critical thinking and problem solving. Even though I teach very young children, I strongly emphasize the development of critical thinking. This is the basis on which all other learning is built. If my students can think critically, they will be better prepared to take on and process the content they will be required to learn in the years ahead. Another aspect of the development of critical thinking includes practice in problem solving. I engage my students as much as possible in working out the solutions for challenges that come up in the classroom. What should be the consequences for certain actions? What are some guidelines for our activities? These are skills which can serve them well as they engage in more complicated tasks and work within more complex communities.

  20. On behalf of Elizabeth Part III:

    2. I am responding to the first passage (A) from David Orr’s essay. I believe this speaks directly to the need to teach our students proficiency in multiple literacies, as well as the importance of incorporating the philosophies of educators such as Paulo Freire and Donaldo Macedo into our teaching. The “leaders” can summon us all they want, but if the people are unable to listen and process what is said, it is all for nothing. If our students are to be able to really hear what is being said to them and to access accurate information, they must learn to be critical users of the various media which we have been discussing in class, from internet blogs and forums to text messaging to film. Furthermore, they need to learn how to discern between those sources which are accurate and those which are not. They need to know how to discern who is telling the truth and who is trying to manipulate them.

    In this passage, David Orr speaks of the need to “be active citizens” and to “see the connections”. Orr also cites the need for creativity. Our students’ ability to be active and to see connections can be enhanced if we incorporate critical thinking skills into our teaching, as Freire and Macedo urge us to do. Social justice issues are pertinent here because a populace which is tied down by the anxiety of racism and deprivation and individual survival does not usually have the energy to look at the larger issues of sustainability and climate change. They are not in a position to answer the call for action and sacrifice. An educated, empowered populace has a greater ability to be united in action and intent. Because sustainability is inextricably linked with social justice, teaching all of our students the tools for self-empowerment will enable them to listen critically and respond when they are called to take responsibility for healing the earth’s environment.

  21. 1. My ideal pedagogy would include all of the competencies that are needed to design and maintain sustainable societies. However, it would be quite difficult to instill these skills in my students while having to focus on teaching the curriculum and addressing the standards. My ideal pedagogy would be one where I could teach my students the content that is required by incorporating these skills into their learning process. I think that students need to have skills in all four areas: head, heart, hands, and spirit in order to make a difference in the world, so I will choose the skill that resonated most with me under each category. The “head” skill that I thought was most important was the ability to assess the impact of human technologies and actions and to envision the long-term consequences of decisions. Students need to be able to think critically about the ways that technology influences our lives and creates harmful consequences in the long run. An example of this could be the influence of videogames on a child, where videogames are responsible for exposing children to violent images, keeping them from developing their communication skills, and causing them to lose appreciation for nature – and keeping them from developing sustainable societies in the future. Another skill that I found to be important was empathy and the ability to see from and appreciate multiple perspectives. Every human being needs to have this skill in order to create a sustainable society. We need to be able to see that what may be good for us may be harmful to someone else in order to create a sustainable society. Students also need to have the capacity to convert convictions into practical and effective action. They need to follow through on their beliefs about how to create a sustainable community, not just come up with ideas that they never plan on implementing. The last skill that I thought was important was the feeling of kinship with the natural world, and the ability to invoke that feeling in others. The only way students will be able to develop this type of community is by truly caring for nature and the wellbeing of others. By doing this, they will be able to get through to other people to convince them that developing sustainable societies is of utmost importance.
    2. The quote that resonated the most with me was the first one (A). The only way to capture people’s attention is through the media, and sadly, the media these days just focuses on celebrities and their mishaps. Instead of discussing these mundane happenings, the leaders in media should call attention to more important things like creating a safe and sustainable environment so that the generations to come will live fruitful lives. It seems that the only people that have a say in what happens in their state or county are politicians, but we need to encourage people to play a larger role to bring about change. In Julie’s post, she wrote about how she doesn’t want to waste her “me” time thinking deeply about the issues we face in our lives, and I realized that I tend to do the same thing. I guess we feel like we spend most of our time working or studying so that when we have free time, we just want to relax our minds. Even though we do need our own time to free our minds, we should consider what the consequences are for ignoring the important issues. We could be changing the world but instead we choose to ignore these issues and give someone else the responsibility of taking charge. The only way to change things is by pushing people to stand up for what they believe in and take responsibility for what happens in their lives.