Education's Ecology -- An Overview

The concept of Education Ecology began to emerge in my thinking about 12-15 years ago while I was taking retrospective stock of my own career as a faculty member in Minnesota's changing structures for higher education and as a prospective consideration for the unique contributions I might make as an independent consultant in rural northwestern Wisconsin.. The concept continues to unfold from and through my writing and speaking.

Education Ecology is, it now seems to me, all about everything. This is a characteristic shared by Education and Ecology; a consilience of sorts. Accordingly it is entirely appropriate to link these two enormously important conceptual dimensions of thought and human concern. Economics is a subsidiary of both ecology and education.

Education Ecology is not environmental education. It is a planetary imperative for a World at Risk. It's goals are to think globally with action, which can only be local at a community level of organization. There is a need for the human species to recognize that what has served human learning in the past cannot be a foundation for the future; to believe it can is insanity or absurd. This is particularly true for schools and the whole notion of schooling as a suitable path for education. Schools will be obsolete as education evolves beyond the mandates of an industrial model built to serve the fading industrial age. The Anthropocene arrived with the industrial revolution and some 200 years later our very survival demands evolution of human consciousness beyond the mythic and magical, even rational, thinking of the past toward an ecology of mind that is integral and consistent with a planetary imperative of stewardship,.

Education's Ecology cannot be planned as there can be no lasting organization; certainly nothing resembling our current system of schools. Accordingly what ever emerges from considerations of Education Ecology there cannot be an enduring institution. What endures is process and an evolutionary process at that, which follows a pattern of an evolutionary conversation originating from a social design for education that has no permanence physically, intellectually, emotionally or spiritually. Learning is an inherent part of life processes that adapt an organism for survival and enable a will to live. Education in this sense is about learning but may or may not integrate much of what contemporary schooling is and does, which is to provide qualification as a credential, socialize individuals to enable culture to sustain itself and something Gert Biesta calls “subjectification” in which individuals grow and develop to become the subject of their own objective selves.

Everything evolves including the conversations from which we learn. These learning conversations form and inform our relationships across every border and boundary. Accordingly education ecology is all about relationships. Our relationships connect us and enable the construction of knowledge that has personal meaning across time and geography.

No one's knowledge is ever absolute unless they accept and embrace dogma. But, of course, dogma is an illusion of the absolute. Schools are enigmatic for education ecology because they impose arbitrary order on someone's social imperatives and do so through what is essentially totalitarian means. Accordingly, meaning is circumscribed and inevitably incomplete. Education Ecology is obligated to ask: Why is this so?

The objective for this page and the entire website is to illuminate whole-fabric thinking about education.  

© Bruce Lindgren 2017

bflind (at) cheqnet (dot) net