Saturday, June 11, 2005


Earth Abides - Thank Goodness!

Just returned from the NBTA Middle Level Language Arts Conference in Fredericton and I feel energized and ready to get down to business.

The keynote speaker at the conference was Jackie Seidel from the University of Alberta. Jackie was a literacy instructor for the Education Department at UNBSJ last year. She is very passionate about children's literature and has a love of language. Her other passion is studying the ecology and economics of education.

During Jackie's keynote address, she asked us to reflect on many things; the lose of languages, the focus of our current curriculum on preparing students for the workforce, the diversity of learners, various forms of literacy, and the loss of peoples, animals, flora and fauna that is prevelant in today's world. Her words made me think of something I had read in Earth Abides and when I got home I had to look it up.

Sure enough it was there. The same message that Jackie was passing along at the conference.

The people who live in any generation do much, [Ish] realized, either to create or to solve the problems for the people who come in the generations later. ( Earth Abides, Page 137)

We have all heard it before - if you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem. George R. Stewart was making the same observations in 1949 that Jackie is making in 2005; man has created a big mess that has to be dealt with for earth to abide.

Education can be the foundation for the solution. Sharing, discussing, learning and taking action. If we do not collectively work on a solution, what will be left behind for the future? Ish observed "the community was still dependent upon the leavings of the past" (138). What will our 'leavings' be? Toxic waste dumps? Polluted waterways? War torn lands? All of these are possibilities but we still have hope and that hope lies in the future vision of the children we are educating today, ". . .each year children are born in millions, now and then the infinitesimal chance will happen, and there will be greatness and vision" (142).

As educators, we must nurture the greatness found in all children. Allowing students to take ownership of their learning, through their personal literacy, and providing a safe learning environment leads to vision. When children are given the opportunity to learn and succeed greatness occurs naturally. When nature is allowed to run its own course, Earth Abides!

As Bill Murray said to Andie MacDowell in Groundhog Day, "Gosh, you're an upbeat lady!" We're going to need your optimism, in this course.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?