Back to the Basics of Teaching and Learning: Thinking the World Together, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Back to the Basics of Teaching and Learning

Thinking the World Together, 2nd Edition

By David W. Jardine

© 2009 – Routledge

262 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780805863208
pub: 2008-06-25
Hardback: 9781138137462
pub: 2015-12-21
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315096681
pub: 2017-07-05
from $55.95

FREE Standard Shipping!
e–Inspection Copy


This book is about an ecological-interpretive image of "the basics." Essays detailing everyday, lived events in classroom life are presented to help readers see beneath the surface ordinariness of these events to uncover and examine the underlying complex and contested meanings they contain. Readers are invited to imagine what would happen to our understanding of teaching and learning if we stepped away from the image of basics-as-breakdown under which education labors today – an image of fragmentation, isolation, and the consequent dispensing, manipulation and control of the smallest, simplest, most meaningless bits and pieces of the living inheritances that are entrusted to teachers and learners in schools. By involving readers in re-thinking the idea of the "basics" in educational theory and practice, this book offers a more generous, rigorous, difficult, and pleasurable image of what this term might mean in the living work of teachers and learners.

This is a valuable text for practicing teachers and student-teachers interested in re-imagining what is basic to their work and the work of their students. It also provides examples of interpretive inquiry that will be helpful for graduate students and scholars in the areas of curriculum, teaching, and learning who are interested in pursuing this form of research and writing.

The Second Edition:

  • is guided by the view that thinking the world together is a form of ecological thinking
  • adds chapters that take up the ecological aspects of this vision, the hermeneutic aspects, and curricular aspects in the areas of mathematics, reading and writing, and social studies; included also are chapters on child development, information and communications technologies, and more
  • proposes a version of "the basics" that asks teachers to be public intellectuals who think about the world, who think about the knowledge we have inherited and to which we are offering our students living, breathing access


"This book is, by any standard, amazing. It plays, in a wonderfully hermeneutic manner, with common themes in an uncommon way…. As one wanders through the book (this is a book to journey in) one questions not only the basics but many educational slogans and shibboleths. One does indeed re-imagine the whole concept of schooling and the potential power that exists in a classroom filled with the fullness and richness of creative experience…. This is in many ways an inspiring book – a what-can-be book– but more than that, it is a book which asks the reader to deal with ‘hard questions,’ ones which probe the meaning of life. To read this book is to be transformed. I invite all readers to partake of that journey."

William E. Doll, Louisiana State University, From the Foreword

"Jardine, Clifford and Friesen juxtapose the concreteness of specific students and specific classrooms to the abstraction of theory: in that respect alone, this book exemplifies curriculum at its most poignant and sophisticated."

William F. Pinar, University of British Columbia

"Back to the Basics of Teaching and Learning audaciously challenges the appropriation of the idea of basics in/of education by conservative thinkers. Much of the beauty of this book lies in its refusal to lose sight of the stubborn particulars of classroom life – real children – and sail away into the lofty clouds of theory and philosophical reflection…. No one in education can read this book and be unmoved by it, nor, perhaps, be unchanged by it."

Paul Ernest, University of Exeter

Table of Contents

Foreword William E. Doll

Preface David W. Jardine

Preface to the Second Edition David W. Jardine

1 Introduction: An Interpretive Reading of "Back To the Basics" David W. Jardine, Patricia Clifford and Sharon Friesen

2 A Curious Plan: Managing on the Twelfth Patricia Clifford and Sharon Friesen

3 Cleaving with Affection: On Grain Elevators and the Cultivation of Memory David W. Jardine, Michelle Bastock, Jennifer George and Judy Martin

4 Children’s Literacy, the Biblia Pauperum and the Wiles of Images Michelle Bastock and David W. Jardine

5 "Whatever Happens to Him Happens to Us": Reading Coyote Reading the World Patricia Clifford, Sharon Friesen and David W. Jardine

6 The Transgressive Energy of Mythic Wives and Wilful Children: Old Stories for New Times Patricia Clifford and Sharon Friesen

7 Landscapes of loss: On the Original Difficulties of Reading Patricia Clifford and Sharon Friesen

8 "Because It Shows Us the Way at Night": On Animism, Writing and the Re-Animation of Piagetian Theory David W. Jardine

9 Meditations on Community, Memory and the Intergenerational Character of Mathematical Truth Sharon Friesen, Patricia Clifford and David W. Jardine

10 A Play on the Wickedness of Undone Sums, Including a Brief Mytho-Phenomenology of "X" and Some Speculations on the Effects of Its Peculiar Absence in Elementary Mathematics Education David W. Jardine and Sharon Friesen

11 Math: Teaching It Better Sharon Friesen

12 "The Stubborn Particulars of Grace" David W. Jardine

13 Birding Lessons and the Teachings of Cicadas David W. Jardine

14 The Surroundings David W. Jardine

15 "In These Shoes is the Silent Call of the Earth": Meditations on Curriculum Integration, Conceptual Violence and the Ecologies of Community and Place David W. Jardine, Annette LaGrange and Beth Everest

16 American Dippers and Alberta Winter Strawberries David W. Jardine

17 "All Beings Are Your Ancestors": A Bear Sutra on Ecology, Buddhism and Pedagogy David W. Jardine

18 "Some Say the Present Age Is Not the Time for Meditation": Thoughts on Things Left Unsaid in Contemporary Invocations of "Traditional Learning" Rahat Naqvi and David W. Jardine

19 "The Profession Needs New Blood" David W. Jardine

20 Scenes from Calypso’s Cave: On Globalization and the Pedagogical Prospects of the Gift David W. Jardine, Patricia Clifford and Sharon Friesen

21 On the While of Things David W. Jardine



About the Author

David W. Jardine, University of Calgary, Canada

Patricia Clifford, Galileo Educational Network Association, Canada

Sharon Friesen, Galileo Educational Network Association and University of Calgary, Canada

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Aims & Objectives
EDUCATION / Curricula
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / General