This volume offers an alternative vision for education and has been written for those who are passionate about teaching and learning, in schools, universities and in the community, and providing people with the values, knowledge and skills needed to face complex social and environmental challenges. Working across boundaries the socio-ecological educator is a visionary who strives to build community connections and strengthen relationships with the natural world. The ideas and real-world case studies presented in this book will bring that vision a step closer to reality.
In this first chapter we felt it important to introduce the editors of the book via a series of short autobiographical stories. In each case the author has chosen a few influential experiences that they believe have been crucial in shaping the development of their socio-ecological outlook as educators and researchers. In other words, in this first section of the book we are putting practical, lived experience prior to the theoretical explanation of what it means to be a socio-ecological educator. In this first chapter of Part I we want to lead with example and narrative. We then explore and reinforce the message with sound theoretical discussion of the crucial concepts that make up this unique perspective on educational philosophy and practice. In Part II of the book, different authors from a variety of backgrounds and work contexts explore socio-ecological ideas and practices via a range of case studies. Finally, in the conclusion chapter we summarise the book and reflect on the incorporation of a socio-ecological approach into educational and research settings.