Blogs >> Cultivating An Ecoliterate Worldview - by Emily Ryan

Cultivating An Ecoliterate Worldview - by Emily Ryan

This Sunday, we will welcome 17 people to the College to begin the residential intensive portion of the new 6-month programme in ecological literacy, titled Cultivating An Ecoliterate Worldview, Person, Place and Practice. I have the privilege of being the facilitator, as well as a member of the design team, of the programme, and am so pleased to share this exciting beginning with you, the Schumacher College Community!

First of all, a huge Thank you to those of you who helped spread the word about the programme-“Word of Mouth” was by far the most successful marketing tool on this one and it is greatly appreciated! We have been fully booked on the course for several weeks and are now booking for a new Spring course. The exciting opportunities to engage people will just keep coming, so please keep it up!

The CEW programme evolved out of a 2 week short course titled, Ecoliteracy, First Principles for Radical Change, inspired by the work, and suggestion, of Fritjof Capra. It was designed as an introductory course to provide a foundation in ecological literacy, drawing from the expertise of the Schumacher staff, the exemplary ethos of education developed by the College over the last twenty years, and the creative ways the entire Dartington community is putting that knowledge into practice. It was also one of the first College courses which blended face to face learning with online video technology.

We ran the course four times over a period of two years, every autumn and spring, and it was wonderfully successful. There are now 71 people from all over the world who are a part of the alumni community. They consistently share that the experience has had a deeply transformative impact on their lives, and that it was also really fun, which for me is an essential measure! Many of them continue to keep in touch with one another via the College’s Ning website, which is another sign of success.

After completing the fourth Ecoliteracy course, we were struck by some of the opportunities we felt presented themselves in the design of a two week course. Unlike many other courses offered at the College, the collective focus was not primarily on one particular teacher or expert. Because there were many different teachers who contributed, the group itself became the constant, bringing the power of the learning community to the foreground. We also noticed was how diverse the group was-in a group of 22, there were participants from 11 countries, from a very wide spectrum of backgrounds and careers. Though diversity is always an element to every group at Schumacher, rarely did a course attract so many different kinds of people from so many different walks of life. This happened because it was an introductory course with a little bit of everything Schumacher offered-the new science with Gaia theory, complexity theory, and systems thinking, as well as leading edge applications to economics and sustainable agriculture industries, such as local food/farming and forest gardens. This diversity of experience made the course that much more an embodiment of the whole.

One question I have become deeply interested in over my years of attending and facilitating a wide variety of conferences, courses, workshops and intensives is the question of: Once the often amazing experience of being together for a day or many days has ended, and we have learned so many important things and become deeply inspired, what happens next? How do we stay connected to each other and the material once we have returned to our places? To address this, we decided to add a post-course component to the curriculum, using the model of a study circle, with a few changes! The study circle happens once a month as usual, has readings and even guest community members, but this community spans the globe and uses Skype as the living room! Now, the course consists of a 2 week residential intensive period that sits inside 6 months of a global online study circle. It is a model that is simple, effective and resilient, and we are excited to see what happens!

I look forward to sharing with you again after the intensive completes and send my very warmest wishes to you all!

With Gratitude,
Emily Ryan

The next Cultivating an Ecoliterate Worldview, Person, Place and Practice begins 25 March to 5 April, 2012 and is open for bookings. Click here fore more detail>>

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