Building on the premise that human beings perceive, feel, and think together—that they are, in David Kresch’s neat term “perfinkers”—IEE aims to develop students’ somatic, emotional, and imaginative bonds with the natural world generally, and with specific places in particular, by teaching in ways that engage students as “perfinkers.” IEE has three requirements or principles—Feeling, Activeness, and Place/Sense of Place—that come together in theory and practice to support this aim. We may, indeed, support ecological understanding across the curriculum by teaching in ways that make all learning both imaginative and ecological.
Feeling acknowledges the imaginative core of all learning and of ecological understanding. To engage emotions and imagination in everything we are teaching a cognitive tools approach is required. Activeness acknowledges the central role of the body’s understanding for development of ecological understanding. To experience one’s interconnectedness in a living world one takes time to evoke the body’s tools for learning. Place/Sense of Place acknowledges the role of one’s personal connections with real places for the development a sense of stewardship for the Earth. To nurture relationships with one’s local natural context the teacher will consider how to engage the student’s place-making cognitive tools.
See Teacher Resources for the IEE planning templates that incorporate these principles.