A new integration of Goleman's emotional, social, and ecological intelligence Hopeful, eloquent, and bold, Ecoliterate offers inspiring stories, practical guidance, and an exciting new model of education that builds - in vitally important ways - on the success of social and emotional learning by addressing today's most important ecological issues. This book shares stories of pioneering educators, students, and activists engaged in issues related to food, water, oil, and coal in communities from the mountains of Appalachia to a small village in the Arctic; the deserts of New Mexico to the coast of New Orleans; and the streets of Oakland, California to the hills of South Carolina. Ecoliterate marks a rich collaboration between Daniel Goleman and the Center for Ecoliteracy, an organization best known for its pioneering work with school gardens, school lunches, and integrating ecological principles and sustainability into school curricula. For nearly twenty years the Center has worked with schools and organizations in more than 400 communities across the United States and numerous other countries. Ecoliterate also presents five core practices of emotionally and socially engaged ecoliteracy and a professional development guide.
Author of Emotional Intelligence and psychologist Daniel Goleman has transformed the way the world educates children, relates to family and friends, and conducts business. The Wall Street Journal ranked him one of the 10 most influential business thinkers.
Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence was on The New York Times best sellers list for a year-and-a-half. Named one of the 25 "Most Influential Business Management Books" by TIME, it has been translated into 40 languages. The Harvard Business Review called emotional intelligence (EI) “a revolutionary, paradigm-shattering idea.”
Goleman’s new book, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, argues that attention — a fundamental mental ability for success — has come under siege. Leadership that gets results demands a triple focus: on our inner world so we can manage ourselves; on others, for our relationships; and on the outer forces that shape our organizations and society itself.
His more recent books include The Brain and Emotional Intelligence, and Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence - Selected Writings.
This book offers examples of how different organizations and educators are fostering a sense of humanity and compassion in their students. Through four short stories depicting "community leaders putting engaged ecoliteracy into practice", the book shows how "innovative educators, artists, activists, scholars, and students...educate others about some of the most critical issues of our time."
Daniel Goleman's previous work on emotional intelligence (Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ) focused on "five critical aspects of emotional intelligence that could be nurtured in schools: the abilities to know one's emotions, manage those emotions, motivate oneself, recognize emotions in others, and develop successful relationships." (p. 5)
He further defines social and emotional intelligence as "abilities to see from another's perspective, empathize, and show concern." (p. 6) And ecological intelligence is summed up by a capacity to understand "natural systems and melds cognitive skills with empathy for all of life." (p. 6)
"...a growing number of educators have begun to identify as a deeply felt imperative: To foster learning that genuinely prepares young people for the ecological challenges presented by this entirely unprecedented time in human history." (p. 2)
"...we posit emotional, social, and ecological intelligence as essential dimensions of our universal human intelligence that simply expand outward in their focus: from self, to others, to all living systems." (p. 7)
Not what I was expecting. Some good stories about how teachers and professors developed eco-literate activities and projects with students, but not much guidance for lesson plans or practical assessment and implementation. All were large scale projects that might be difficult to fit into a curriculum. Some interesting facts but not enough about eco-literacy itself or enough deep dive into the stories and facts for most non-educators.
In our increasingly global and complicated economy, it is difficult to trace the path between our actions and their consequences. For most of us, that line remains largely invisible. But as Hurricane Sandy has recently reminded us, we humans are members of the natural world, not distinct and superior. We must begin to see ourselves as part of a complex, interconnected web that values sustainability, the responsible management of resources, as opposed to durability, the capacity to endure through persistent resistance to change. Ideally, the place to develop this ecological sensibility is school, where students can study and understand how nature sustains life, and can ultimately empathize with other life forms, recognizing their own interconnectedness to the natural world.
The Center for Ecoliteracy has long been known for its work to promote integrating ecological principles around sustainability into school curricula. Recently, in collaboration with Daniel Goleman, author of the classic Emotional Intelligence, two directors of the institution, Lisa Bennett and Zenobia Barlow, have published Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence, a book that identifies five practices to cultivate these dimensions of intelligence and ways to develop curriculum to support their expression.
The need to become ecoliterate is based on the recognition that man’s anthropocentric approach to the globe has disrupted the natural ecological balance, affecting even our own sustainability. Acting primarily as consumers, we have relied heavily on our Western linear thinking, focused exclusively on the end product rather than the system that produces it - on the part rather than the whole.
Certainly, there are timeless skills and knowledge necessary in any century; however, system thinking is integral to meeting the challenges posed by today’s global complexity. Teaching students discrete, linear facts does not develop the capacity to understand the complicated web of interconnections and dependencies that support life. As the authors of Ecoliterate explain, “When students begin to understand the intricate interplay of relationships that sustain an ecosystem, they can better appreciate the implications for survival that even a small disturbance may have, or the importance of strengthening relationships that help a system respond to disturbances.”
With the aim of developing students’ ecoliteracy, the authors identify in the first part of the book five practices that integrate emotional, social, and ecological intelligence: developing empathy for all forms of life, embracing sustainability as a community practice, making the invisible visible, anticipating unintended consequences, and understanding how nature sustains life. In the second half of the book, they share stories of passionate and inspiring educators, students, and activists engaged with issues related to water, food, and habitat.
Praising Ecoliterate, Sir Ken Robinson advises, “One of the most urgent issues facing humanity is fixing our broken relationship with the earth, on which all life depends. To do that, we have to think, feel, and act differently.” The book outlines the necessity of employing system thinking to solve today’s social and ecological problems, urging the recognition that moving toward sustainability entails more than simply a cognitive approach; students must be empowered through knowledge, empathy, and action.
I'm a huge fan of anything that incorporates action and education in the classroom. I truly believe that when students are active in something, even if they don't initially care about it, they grow to care and be involved. Eco Literate is filled with case studies of how educators have brought experience and involvement into the classroom for their students. It gives ways in which educators are sharing experiences with their students that allow them to be involved. These activities encourage student knowledge of the world around them, their ability to change the way they live (and their parents), and to become more knowledgeable about the world how to build some other intelligences. This will not be a "How-to" type teaching book, but a good teacher should be able to learn from the experiences of others and translate them to their own classrooms. It is just like learning through stories.
Written thoroughly, with each chapter a concrete and well-explored example of ecolitracy values and practice. The book is offered to teachers for inspiration that is not based in theory alone. The examples are of real people encountering real issues of environmental protection and justice. The author does a good job of bringing the situations alive for the reader, and referring them to principles of ecoliteracy. Also, there are questions for reflection at the end of each chapter. I found these meaningful in my own work.
Any one who is interested in the environmental issues should read this. Easy and quick read with lots of examples on how educators, schools makes a difference. Though this book is based on works done in US, I feel the framework with which the book is written should help others as well.