If the purpose of pedagogy is to further learning, why do so many educational processes and systems, embodied in our schools, result in turning students off to learning, dampening curiosity, and hindering natural inquiry and learning?
Regenerative Pedagogy is the application of regenerative design to learning systems. The learning systems that exist today are the remnants of responses to medieval ways of life. Although there have been many educational reforms over the years, mainstream education still aims at ‘training’ or ‘preparing’ a population for economic productivity. More and more, we are realizing that our economic models are not sustainable, and are not regenerative in the larger population. We have learned that the resource extraction that drives our economic productivity is not sustainable, that the resources themselves are not renewable, and the model of extraction is not regenerative. We face a world where our relentless pursuit of material wealth has resulted in the degradation of nature, of social interaction, of spiritual growth. A model of separation and a scarcity mentality permeates our current economic, social, and thus, educational models.
Regenerative processes create sustainable systems that mimic ecosystems and integrate pedagogy with nature. There are two important concepts here; sustainability and integration with nature. Current pedagogy is not sustainable- all too often it involves processes that break down the natural curiosity, ingenuity, and productivity of children. It sustains, instead, models of society, culture, and economics that have created a fragmentation in the ways we view ourselves, our nature, and nature itself. Current pedagogy is divorced from nature, both the nature of the child and earth’s natural processes.
If we are to make pedagogy sustainable we need to start with the vision of system that will not waste the enormous resource that is our children, that will rather build apon the natural talent in children and on models of nature.
If we are to integrate pedagogy with nature, we will need to apply all the tools of regenerative design to the design of learning systems.
If we are to create regenerative pedagogy we need to immerse ourselves in nature and in natural principles, that will guide us toward regenerative design.