The Seed ofHope

Barbara Clark painting

 Painting by Barbara Clark, 2009

 Photo by Roy Temple

Educational curriculum and teacher preparation has never been able to envision children’s education for what Earth and sustainable cultures need to thrive, and critically in 2012, to survive. As a society, we tend to be sleepwalkers, anesthetized visually and emotionally, as ecological devastation continues to grow at rapid rates. So, what is education for and how should teachers be prepared to impact children’s and teachers’ future lives? Eisner (2002) implores, “Transforming the private into the public is a primary process of work in both art and science. Helping the young to learn how to make that transformation is another of education’s most important aims” (p. 3).

Uniting the “social imagination” (Greene, 1998) of aesthetic education and the “creative commons” of eco justice education (Bowers, 2006) into a new paradigm, presented a variety of symbolic expressions for the study of the emergence of pre-service teachers’ beliefs. Utilizing an underlying aesthetic structure for course activities and assignments, an authentic creative community commons was established for our students to investigate ecologically and socially sustainable teaching practices. Supported by these theories and context, pre-service teachers’ beliefs, identity and imaginations surfaced to address collective community social and ecological issues they would face in their field experiences and future teaching.

As depicted in the above video, one ecological issue was addressed in the performance Make a Wave: Be the Change. One thousand urban children from the surrounding public school community came to our college campus and learned about the dolphin slaughter for profit through puppets, dance, and poetry. Portraying their own desire for freedom and hope as teachers and artists, pre-service teachers danced the dance of the dolphin, enacted an acknowledgement of human short-sighted cruelty and offered a song to take compassionate action.

All references to outside sources can be found in the bibliography sections of our published work.