Education as an ecosystem

ecosystem: all interactions of a community of organisms with its physical environment

Recently on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart brilliantly railed against the attack on teachers in America.  During his interview with the wonderful Diane Ravitch, he referred to the education system as an ecosystem.  What an awesome, powerful analogy!  (Aside – I searched “education ecosystem” and was directed to the Dell website with this image):

Dell Learning Ecosystem

The notion that teachers, students, administrators, parents, schools and communities are connected and co-dependent is not a novel idea, but comparing it to a biological ecosystem infuses the analogy with an organic quality and for me, deepens the connections within.  I’m no biological expert, but when I sit and hear about what is happening in Wisconsin and other areas where teachers are being demoralized and, not to be dramatic, but even demonized, I worry about the health and sustainability of that particular organism.  And if an organism within an ecosystem is compromised to the point where it is no longer able to fulfil its function within that ecosystem, what happens to all the other organisms, and ultimately the ecosystem itself?

4 thoughts on “Education as an ecosystem

  1. What a cool perspective to look at school improvement through…how healthy are the connected and co-dependent areas of the school community? When wrapped around this context, it is easy to start making authentic connections between learning, parent engagement, strong pedagogy etc…Thanks Erin!

  2. Wow, Erin, what a powerful final question! It certainly shows the importance of achieving/maintaining the equilibrium!

    While I see room for specialists in each domain of the ecosystem, we also need specialists at keeping the flow & balance among these domains.

    I love this visual of the classroom at the core. It shows concretely the role everyone plays…. a lot of conversation can be held around this one little diagram! Thanks for sharing it!


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