Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Ecological Urgencies: Meditations on Language and Time

Jackie Seidel.

This paper considers broad questions of human language, curriculum and pedagogy, attempting to articulate generous, ethical and deconstructing ways to be in language and in thought with children in schools. What are the ways of speaking about teaching and learning that hold spaces open for difference, diversity and multiplicity, in a time when the dominant and domineering political discourses are profoundly narrowing the possibilities for life and learning in democratic institutions like public schools (e.g. narrow and simplified outcomes of education as “preparing for the world of work”). It is a time when imperial globalization is intimately linked to what Vandana Shiva calls a crisis of diversity; that is, a profound closing of the future through the simultaneous and related extinctions of language, culture, and global biodiversity.

This paper is a poetic and interdisciplinary imagining, a longing, not of the future, not of preparing children for that Far Away Place That Does Not Yet Exist, but of the present. And our ethical responsibilities to contingent relationships on this local planet now. This is a languaging response, an unknowing response, in and through language, across time and through space, tumbling through the first word(s) spoken, through carvings on rock walls, through millenniums of human tongues intermingling in translation, through warning signs (in a future language not-yet-spoken) in the Nevada desert about nuclear wastes. Where in the wor(l)d are we? What is there to say? Here, new possibilities emerge for teachers to take up the most profound questions of human life with courage and dignity.


Jackie Seidel  (Canada)
Lecturer in Literacy Education
Department of Social Sciences Faculty of Arts
University of New Brunswick Saint John

I currently teach courses in Language and Literacy Education in the education program at the University of New Brunswick Saint John. I was formerly an elementary school teacher in Calgary, Alberta, and have a Masters degree in Language and Literacy Education from the University of British Columbia and am a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Alberta. I have interests in creative writing, children's literacies, children's literature, and curriculum.

  • Language
  • Literacies
  • Ecology
  • Globalization
  • Extinction

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)