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Democratic Classroom

Persistence's picture

This image represents my first web event on how ecological education is like a democratic nation where the flourishing of communities is achieved through open societies that collaborate together to avoid indignation, iniquity, communism, and to create equal opportunities. There are a variety of democratic symbols in the sketch above: Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty, students raising their hands, American Flag, Indian Flag, France Flag, Britain flag (these countries played an important role in the uprising of democracy). Everyone in the sketch is facing the audience. I want us to actively engage in any dicussion brought upon by the drawing. It's almost as if we're the teachers. 


Anne Dalke's picture

You’ve done something quite interesting here: gone back to re-read—and more importantly, to re-represent!—some of your own written work in visual form. (I actually had some trouble finding your earlier project: could you please go back now and tag all your web events, so they’re more easily accessible from your portfolio? Thanks!)

On that first round, I’d called out your striking simile—“an ecological education is like a democratic nation”-- but chided you for not providing an image to figure it. I’m so glad you’ve responded with one now….

and/but I’d eager to hear you explicate it, to explain each of the choices you’ve made. The image I’d selected was abstract, and yours is resolutely mimetic. You say in your commentary that “ecological education is like a democratic nation where the flourishing of communities is achieved through open societies.” The image you’ve drawn doesn’t seem very “open,” though—it’s a closed classroom. And it’s very hierarchical in structure—the kids are in seats, set up in rows, and there are two “authority” figures @ the front. Who will speak? (They all seem to want to…how to adjudicate that?)

I’m curious, too, at the line-up of flags that form the backdrop to your classroom. For next week, we’ll be reading (among other things) Terry Tempest Williams’s “Patriot's Journal” (p. 97f. in An Unspoken Hunger). It puts me in mind of what Ursula LeGuin said, in The Left Hand of Darkness, about the absurd limits patriotism, of drawing a boundary around what one loves and hates:

How does one hate a country, or love one?…I lack the trick of it. I know people, I know towns, farms, hills and rivers and rocks, I know how the sun at sunset in autumn falls not on the side of a certain plowland in the hills; but what is the sense of giving a boundary to all that, of giving it a name and ceasing to love where the names ceases to apply? What is the love of one's country; is it hate of one's uncountry? Then it's not a good thing. Is it simply self-love?…one mustn't make a virtue of it, or a profession….Insofar as I love life, I love [these] hills…but that sort of love does not have a  boundary-line…

I guess what I’m pushing back on here is your equation of “ecological” with “democratic,” and your representation of “democratic” as nation-bound, or @ least as nationally defined.

My second question has to do with “our” role here. You say that “everyone in the sketch is facing the audience” (so they are not facing one another—they won’t be talking with one another?) And you say that you “want us to actively engage in any discussion brought upon by the drawing. It's almost as if we're the teachers.” Cannot the students teach, too? Have they nothing to teach us….?