Ecology originally meant “Household” or related to the order in a person’s home. Today, we use it to refer to the environment and the way the elements interact in our natural environment. We use the term to place a small emphasis on the way those elements interact and when the interactions occur, it results in a healthy environment. Ecological thinking takes these values with the environment and implants it into our minds, allowing us to think in an ecological way.
Ecological thinking requires us to look at the bigger picture. We look at the whole and that allows us to create components to enhance the whole. The main focus of ecological thinking is to think in a connected way about relationships and connections.
This style of thinking, as described in Ecological Thinking: A new approach to educational change, “relates to the double role we humans play as both actors and reflectors.” We interact with “the system’ which makes us actors, but we are always aware of “the system”(reflectors) and that makes us responsible for our own understanding and actions. This makes us think about reactions to our own actions and about consequences, which is a large part of ecological thinking.
Contradictory issues like feminism, racism, sexism and even homophobia are directly linked to Ecological thinking. This style of thinking is more accepting of everything as a whole and teaches us to adapt to changes instead of clinging to what we already know. It insists that there is no beginning and end to different topics or issues but instead everything is connected. In other words, there are no completely correct answers and instead we can only hypothesize.
- Keiny, Shoshana. Ecological Thinking: A new approach to educational change. University Press of America.
- Code, Lorraine. Ecological Thinking: The Politics of Epistemic Location. Oxford University Press.
- Kleiner, Fred S. Art through the ages: The western perspective. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.