Jonathan Dawson will speak about sustainable economics and future of pedagogy.
Jonathan Dawson is a sustainability educator, currently working as Head of Economics at Schumacher College in Devon. Until recently a long-term resident at the Findhorn ecovillage and a former President of the Global Ecovillage Network, he has around 20 years experience as a researcher, author, consultant and project manager in the field of small enterprise development in Africa and South Asia.
He believes that the seeds of transformation, of new forms of social organization are already sprouting and encourages us to take a step back, look at this dynamic historical moment in a wider frame and explore some of the trends and forces that are presenting themselves as plausible pathways to a more regenerative future.
Jonathan is also the principal author of the Gaia Education sustainable economy curriculum www.gaiaeducation.org drawn from best practice within ecovillages worldwide, that has been endorsed by UNITAR and adopted by UNESCO as a valuable contribution to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. He teaches this curriculum at universities, ecovillages and community centres in Brazil, Spain and Scotland and also adopted it to virtual format and taught it through the Open University of Catalunya in Barcelona.
Interesting fact: He was the keynote speaker together with Hildur and Ross Jackson when the first ecovillage conference took place in Estonia in 2006.
“Just as education has locked us into this cage of isolation, so it has a potentially critical role to play in our liberation. Changing the curriculum will have an important role to play in this.”
Keynote and workshop: Pathways to prosperity
Even in the darkest of days, visions of a more benign and generative future are not hard to find – the blogosphere is full of them, often clothed in the language of eco-socialism or green utopianism. The challenge lies in charting pathways that might realistically get us there from the place of dark and dangerous dysfunction in which we currently find ourselves. In short, we have a fair idea of where we want to get to but little or no clue as to the path that could lead us there. One commentator has indeed suggested that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism!
And yet, today’s dominant economic and political systems will pass away, as have all those that preceded it. The seeds of transformation, of new forms of social organisation are already sprouting. As another commentator put it: ‘The future is already here, but not very well distributed’. This session will encourage and enable us to take a step back, look at this dynamic historical moment in a wider frame and explore some of the trends and forces that are presenting themselves as plausible pathways to a more regenerative future.
Workshop: Bringing the Classroom Back to Life
Our educational systems have had a decisive role to play in reinforcing the existential error of today’s society, where we as a species have lost our way and coming to believe ourselves to be separate from the other-than-human world. In the process, we have become strangers not just to other life forms, but also to ourselves and to our human fellows. Drawing upon the experience of Schumacher College and other similar institutions around the world, Jonathan invites us to explore what a regenerative education could look like and how we can take it out of the margins to flavor the educational mainstream.
We as a species have lost our way, coming to believe ourselves to be separate from the other-than-human world. In the process, we have become strangers not just to other lifeforms, but also to ourselves and to our human fellows. Our educational systems have had decisive role to play in reinforcing this existential error. In total contradiction to what we know about how people learn (collaborative, embodied, playful, participatory, transdisciplinary), dominant education practice continues to be largely transmissive, delivered in artificial academic siloes, abstract, disembodied and competitive. This reinforces illusions of separation, locating human rationality as the sole source of intelligence in an otherwise inanimate and meaningless universe. And so, we treat our beautiful home as resource bank and waste sink and inwardly we die for lack of meaning.
Just as education has locked us into this cage of isolation, so it has a potentially critical role to play in our liberation. Changing the curriculum will have an important role to play in this. However, to believe that simply changing one set of textbooks for another will fundamentally change our understanding of our place in the world is surely misplaced. There is a growing amount of experimentation at the level of pedagogy – the how of education – aimed at engaging the whole playful, collaborative, embodied person (head, heart and hands) in the learning process. However, this is primarily at the margins, often in non-accredited educational settings.
EF Schumacher wrote that ‘If still more education is to save us, it would have to be education of a different kind’. Drawing upon the experience of Schumacher College and other similar institutions around the world, this session will explore what a regenerative education could look like and how we can take it out of the margins to flavour the educational mainstream.
The workshop is intended especially for invited participants from Estonia – changemakers in the field of education, with focus on higher education. It is open to all conference participants with similar aims and backgrounds!
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