Educational psychologist Linda van der Linden, founder of the Sharing-Caring Foundation, takes us on a fascinating journey from her humble beginnings as an allotment gardener to an advocate for regenerative education. This episode explores Linda’s innovative approach toward education, highlighting the importance of non-cognitive factors in learning and promoting student wellness through a holistic, interconnected perspective. Linda challenges the traditional understanding of knowledge acquisition and emphasizes the need for creativity in teaching. We discuss the profound impact of AI in revolutionizing education and delve into the concept of embodied knowledge, which spotlights our unique human abilities to be creative, collaborate, and care for one another.
Resources mentioned in this episode
“Permaculture: Principles and Pathways beyond Sustainability” by David Holmgren
“Finding the Mother Tree” by Suzanne Simard
“Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck
“All About Love: New Visions” by bell hooks
(0:00:20) – Regenerative Education and Non-Cognitive Factors
Linda van der Linden founded Sharing-Caring Foundation to promote self-care, connection and permaculture through her Promo-Cold Chair Design course.
(0:17:41) – Rethinking Education and Embodying Knowledge
We explore the importance of existential questions, adjusting programs, AI, deep learning, embodied knowledge, and creativity.
(0:25:15) – Interconnectedness in Education and Art
Interconnectedness, embodied knowledge, existential questions, and creative use of knowledge discussed.
(0:29:39) – Exploring Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Regenerative Education
Interdisciplinary collaboration unlocks potential, finding the right language facilitates it, and permaculture and regenerative education create synergy.
(0:35:09) – Challenges and Possibilities in Collaborative Education
Collaborations require shared goals, balancing interests, improvisation, and creativity for successful outcomes.
(0:53:35) – Enriching Conversation on Creative Praxis
Collaboration, student-teacher-professional projects, existential questions, and nature’s connection to understanding are discussed.
0:00:20 – Anna: Welcome to Creative Practice. I’m Anna Griffith, an assistant professor in the School of Creative Arts at the University of the Fraser Valley.
0:00:28 – Kyla: And I’m Kyla Mitchell-Marquis, an undergraduate honor psychology student focusing on gender and sexuality at the University of Fraser Valley, and a research assistant for the podcast.
0:00:37 – Anna: I am recording today on the beautiful territory of the Squamish, pleywa, tooth and Musqueam Nations, who have shared territory and stewardship of this land since time immemorial. Our work also takes place on traditional and contemporary solid territory. One lesson I’ve learned from the indigenous peoples of this land is about the ways wellness is seen not just within the individual and their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual domains. Wellness is also within our relationships, in our families, our communities and with the greater community of life. That includes the more than humans we live with the plants, the animals, the water and the land. As I learn more about this, it deepens my understanding of what regenerative education can be and what it can do in the world. We are joined today by Linda VanderLinden, whose work resonates with this and who, I think, is planting seeds of regenerative education in her work.
0:01:30 – Kyla: Linda is an educational psychologist, all-around researcher and permaculturist. She also studied and taught psychology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. In her PhD thesis Prediction of Study Success Creation of Magic Zones she sought to balance quantitative and qualitative approaches to student admission. Currently, linda is working on interdisciplinary collaboration in curriculum design and on scaffolding students’ personal and professional development in living labs at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. She seeks to hold space for human beings and professionals as members of communities focused on learning to take care of oneself, one another and the planet. Welcome, linda, and thank you so much for joining us today.
0:02:08- Linda: Thank you so much for inviting me. It’s great to be here.
0:02:12 – Anna: It’s so wonderful to speak with you. To begin, can you tell us about the Sharing-Caring Foundation and how it came to be?
0:02:21- Linda: Yeah, sure, that’s a foundation I only recently founded, but the seed that actually started it was planted I guess over 10 years ago when I had an allotment garden where I live. My neighbors at the allotment garden were already experimenting in their garden with permaculture approaches In a very short notice. That means that they mixed a diversity of plants, different species, instead of having monocultures of one species of plants at a part of their allotment. I started experimenting myself because I found an attractive way, an illogical way, of working with the plants. I dug a ditch and all the ground that came out of the ditch I threw up on a little hill and there I threw some seeds of wildflowers. That really became a blossoming unity and we put different species in between the flowers. That’s when I felt a link with education and was thinking well, with all the different students we have and all the different teachers that we have, doesn’t it somehow work the same way in education, that the diversity is actually the richness and the resilience of a community, as I saw happening in the community of plants in the allotment garden. That seed was planted in my head and I continued to think about it and the way I experienced, the way we were teaching at psychology at Utrecht University was. I saw some parallels, but I couldn’t really put it down in a certain language. I really didn’t have the words to describe the parallels that I saw Years later, at the time that I was finishing my PhD, which was mostly on the quantitative approach of student admission at university.
But I also wrote a review on the non-cognitive factors in student admission, and that was when my heart was even more than at bay. If we’re going to have admission, then we have to do it as best we can. I really enjoyed working on the non-cognitive factors and around that time I ordered maybe I can show it to you the book Promo-Cold your Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren. When I read that book it felt like I had found sort of a language to describe what education should be about and how that should be about caring for oneself, one another and the planet. I should just describe so beautifully everything that’s living, the whole ecosystem and not only ourselves as humans, and also, as I read on your website, not only cognitive but really the whole being part of it.
I tried to put it in my work as much as I can, but I still felt the need to do something more with it, and that’s where the foundation came from, that I already had a website where I sometimes published a blog or I wrote some bits on it, made some PDFs and put them on the website. Last year I started a Promo-Cold Chair Design course because I wanted to know even more about it not only read some books, but have a teacher that’s really knowledgeable in the field and share experiences and actually be working on it with colleagues Last year. I’m actually still in the course and having my final assignment next Saturday.
It’s no longer a seed. I guess it’s a sapling. That’s how the foundation came to be, that I really felt a need to try to contribute to this movement, Do something more than I can do in my work as a researcher. It’s also in there, but I needed maybe a little bit more. I wanted to hold a space for myself to do some experiments with it, to be able to put some even more creativity in it than I’m able to do in the science bit, and in the end I aim to bring them together.
0:07:22 – Anna: So much of what you’re saying resonates with me. Starting with this idea, which, to me, I frame it as practice, where we take the theory but we actually put it into practice and, as you say, doing something and contributing something in a really active way. It is different than the research-based work or the publishing work that we do as academics. There is more space for experimentation and creativity and trying things out and seeing what happens. It seems like a really active sapling, which I really love.
Another thing that really strikes me is that I think one of the things you’re talking about is this real interdisciplinarity, in the sense that learning from permaculture practices and for me permaculture and also regenerative practices and then translating those ideas or using them as a framing for what we do in education or the possibilities within education, is so exciting. Kind of a similar path to you. I started these kind of thoughts because of permaculture and then because of thinking about regenerative agriculture and its attention on soil health and the grounding, that what can make us really fertile. I started to reimagine my classes like this Go ahead.
0:08:47- Linda: I really like the idea also about feeding the soil and not the plants. That’s, for me, a way of formulating how you can hold space for people, for learning, for growth, for flourishing, and not just the cognitive bit of memorizing things, taking some knowledge. We also need that, but there’s a whole lot more than that.
0:09:16 – Anna: Can you describe a little bit about that, the non-cognitive and I love this idea of thinking about that as the way we hold space for students, Whether it’s coming from your work or just where your thoughts are right now on the non-cognitive aspects of holding space.
0:09:32- Linda: I think that started with when I was a teacher and when I only started teaching and sometimes was really busy with what are all the things that I need to do today? And I need to tell them this and I need to make sure they know that Too much focus on the program and not enough focus on the relationship with the students that I was working with at the moment. As I became more experienced, it was more like really being there with them in the moment, being really present. I noticed a difference when I was also busy in my mind with other stuff than the teaching, when a lot less fluent, the connection was less well, the relationship didn’t work out as fine as when I was really full focus there with them and for them, and it also struck me that it’s really I found it hard to find words to describe that you feel when it’s happening and when it’s not happening. And I already used the terms comfort zone and magic zone because I found a really nice picture of it where you have one circle saying comfort zone and another circle a little bit further on saying magic zone, and well, I can’t think of the word. Then it says outside of the comfort zone and the magic zone.
That’s where the magic happens, and I use that, being a tutor, mainly of a freshman in psychology, to describe to them and to build with them the sort of relationship we’re going to be learning a lot of stuff this year together.
I mean we need to make it safe for each other. We differ a lot in things that we feel anxious about or things that can be really a bit too exciting. Then it’s no longer magic, but you get into a stress zone, a panic zone, and we want to be in a magic zone together and I saw it as my responsibility as a teacher to hold space for them, to be daring to step into the magic zone and really all those ideas from the permaculture where the strength of the community is really in the diversity and the collaborative relationships between the different species and individuals. That’s what struck me as a way of thinking about education that I liked a lot more than the more fragmented way of thinking about it, as I recognized in the educational sciences Not to say that the educational sciences they do really a lot of really valuable stuff, but I was missing that part in it.
0:12:50 – Kyla: You’re already discussing this year. You’re working in the magic zone and it’s such a beautiful and exciting idea. Can you share with us a bit more about it and how you teach it and how they learn more through the magic zone? If you expand on that?
0:13:04- Linda: I’m still trying to find the right words and the theory bits to do that. Things that the permaculture helped and, in a way, because it ordered things. I already used a new in a different way. I really liked the idea how it all starts, with observations and interactions, because in education it’s always the people that actually do it, it’s the students. It’s the teachers that make the magic happen or not. You can have a wonderful location, can be really helpful. You can have a brilliant method of teaching, but it’s still in the relationships where it happens or not. Also, how one of the design principles in permaculture is creatively used and responds to change.
I added to that a little bit that the sensitivity you would want people to develop, to be able to, in freedom, take your responsibility for your own thinking and action as a member of the community and again, always as a member of a larger community. You’re not on your own. All learning can only happen because you are part of different communities. There’s so much, I think, that we can give each other. Also, one of the things that maybe start to work this out is that, as a tutor of the Freshman of Psychology, I was noticing that I was mainly talking with them not on study skills, which was the thing that I was supposed to do and I’m perfectly fine with it, but I was mainly talking about existential questions with them. They were struggling with who am I? Am I willing and prepared? Do I think I am able to take certain responsibilities on me?
That again resonated with the care for the people, the planet and fair share, which are the ethical principles in the permaculture approach of things. For me, it’s really about making the relationship work and education, putting that as a priority number one above the content and also making sure that you always know what a higher purpose of education is. Of course, there’s the content thing. I was a psychology teacher, so I had to teach them the content of psychology and the theories they need to know. They needed to learn how to write, they needed to do methods and statistics. That’s all wonderful instruments, but they’re all instruments you use when you take your responsibility as a psychologist in a community. That is where I think the regenerative bit is really helpful in developing a mindset that goes beyond qualification.
0:16:38 – Kyla: Yeah, what I love about the magic zone and it was exactly what you said it’s not just about the facts or the tidbits of information that you’re learning or the location in which it’s in, it is the relationship that you have, and I think what you were alluding to. I’m a psychology major as well, so I think when I heard what you said about, like, yeah, of course you need to know the theory and of course you need to know how to reliably and validly, like, measure what you’re measuring with certain batteries and such but I think what often happens in psychological research, or just think in general is researchers are coming in as if they are, like, solely objective, and you need to understand this objective stance that you have. What is your positionality as a researcher? What do you bring to the table, what are your preconceived notions and such and I think that’s really important to teach students in general, outside of psychology as well, like, what is your positionality in the world and how do you have an effect on others? Or what do you bring to the table? And that aspect as well.
And I think it’s really important what you said earlier about having students ask existential questions in the work that they do not just like passively receiving information, and I think that’s like what a lot of the traditional modes of learning are, and I like I as someone who’s just just recently graduated university the first few years of my university career was how do I just get the grade, how do I just get the grade? And like I’ll just take the information and then regurgitate it back. But I think there has to be something about like, what kind of learner am I and how can I learn collaboratively as well?
0:18:15- Linda: I would love to experiment to get rid of the grades and see how that helps to really focus on the learning process itself and not on the outcome. And of course we also need the outcomes. I do understand why the grades came in and as much as you do need the content bit yeah, that magic zone is also about daring to let go of the program that you were supposed to finish that day. But if something happens, if there’s some issue that attracts a lot of attention in the heads of your students or there’s something happening in the larger community, I think teachers should have the freedom to adjust the program and just step into whatever is happening and use that energy to learn something that apparently can only be learned at that moment. And there should be space and curricula to also have that type of learning experience, because then it’s more about becoming a responsible member of a community than about just becoming. Whatever the degree is you’re in.
0:19:38 – Anna: I agree completely. I think this idea of the emergence that can happen in a classroom whether because, yeah, there’s something going on that occupying the hearts or the minds of the students, and it’s about being present and it’s about responding to that, to being really responsive, and so much of, as you said, this magic of learning happens when we are present in more holding space, but not for us to be brilliant, but for the students to be safe and then brave and then brilliant because they are right.
0:20:11- Linda: If we can foster and stir that kind of a space and the preparation I wrote it down is adding heart and soul to the content, to the cognitive part, to the dialectical and pedagogical knowledge and the actual content.
0:20:28 – Anna: Yeah, and that’s brilliant Throw your whole being into the process and recognize the other, the whole beings that are there, and I just I feel like that such.
I mean it is about holistic understandings of people in a lot of ways, and I agree that that permaculture can give us a different kind of framing around that and I really like what you said about if we can recognize the diversity and richness of all these different plants in the garden or students in the classroom and have this really rich, fertile held space.
That’s really nourishing. Education could be so different, and I think that we’re in this really unique time where, because of AI, it sort of ends like really rapid rethink that we’re having to do about, like, what is actual learning? Like if content and knowledge can be found and produced so easily, what is actual learning then? And at least in our, in our university, we’re having conversations about what is deep learning, what are the qualities of that and how is it different than just you know, creatively writing a good prompt and getting knowledge? And so I’m wondering if you can, if you can talk a little bit about this the need to rethink the purpose of education and why it might be like a great time now to really do that, as we are facing so many crises, but also as we’re in this moment of shifting because of AI.
0:21:52- Linda: Yeah, I think both the crisis and the AI part highlights the relevance of embodied knowledge. I read a bit about what you’re doing with embodied creativity and I think complimentary. You can work with knowledge and education as embodied knowledge, because it again, it’s not only about having the information, but it’s more about what you as a person are able to do with it and that you can find it and write the right prompt. Yeah, okay, but that’s something different than having a professional responsibility at a job. And then actually you need to be creative about what is a right solution for a problem and what are the ethics that you need to consider, because maybe it will work technically, but if it’s not ethically right, then you still have those kinds of questions. Yeah, absolutely.
I think AI is not going to solve that for us.
0:23:06 – Kyla: Yeah, so what I’m hearing is there’s like there’s. I think what I’m hearing in a lot of the conversations that we talk about with AI is that, like there’s certain things that AI can do, but there’s a lot that AI can’t do in terms of the human component that goes into the work that we do. And I love what you just said about embody knowledge because, like that’s what we have that AI does not, and able to like, internalize it and process it, and then also creatively do so within a community as well, within this, the match that happens within discussing with other humans as well.
0:23:42- Linda: Yeah, and the sense making and sensing what the needs are, being sensitive to the larger hole, and I think that’s something that, however handy AI tools might be and in what ways they might be helpful and, yeah, I can do a lot of stuff that I probably can’t even imagine I really don’t believe that the heart and soul of embodied knowledge, embodied creativity, making care again for oneself, one another and the planet, it’s no way going to get there. I think I’d really be surprised if it would come to that.
0:24:32 – Anna: I agree, especially as we think about ourselves as a species and just how we have evolved. And it is through community, it is through embodied knowledge, it is through taking care of one another, of the I mean not in this past, maybe 500 years or 600 years, but for lots of people but really understanding a deep relationship that we have with the other beings that we live, with the environments that we live in, and I just I think that, yeah, that is our uniqueness as humans to be creative with that, to work in collaboration with one another in ways that are so surprising. And that is actually what I’m sorry.
0:25:13- Linda: No, no, please go ahead. That’s what I loved so much when I started reading more about indigenous knowledge, because as a child I thought it completely logical to be interdependent and interconnected with about everything. And then in school you sort of learned to put the world in boxes and put fences between things and I sort of put some things aside because I learned, well, that’s not the way you’re supposed to think about the world. And as I started reading more about indigenous knowledge, I was really sort of relieved. Okay, I was not crazy. Maybe this is a more in my head, a more logical way in thinking about the world, about education. So then sort of all the pieces of the puzzle came together.
0:26:12 – Kyla: I love what you said about how your initial reaction, or just what you thought, just how you made sense of the world as a child, was this innate sense of interconnectedness and interconnectedness and, yeah, that just really touched me. Now I’m just processing it in real time because it’s something that so naturally comes to us, of course, as children, because we are learning as we go and I’m not a parent but I like from what I know of parents, is like you’re stewarding this child but you’re still taking care of them and their sort of interdependence with it is. So you have to make space for allowing their unique skills and talents to come out, while also, like you, learned from the child as well, like this interconnected lens as well. So, but it’s wild how we’ve switched that to this hyper-individualistic, siloed off learning styles in education.
0:27:10- Linda: Can I ask you a question, anna? Because I was what I just told you about how we saw things as a child, and it came back to me later, when I was in my PhD and that is still something that puzzles me that when I had a meeting with my supervisors, we sometimes had moments that we were with the four of us three supervisors in me and I sometimes felt that if we were together in a room, not talking, still something happened in terms of knowledge transfer, and of course, that’s not something that can be measured and well, that all. But how does that resonate with you, with your work on creativity and in the arts?
0:28:02 – Anna: Completely, and this is part of one of the reasons that draws me to embodied creativity, because there’s brilliant work with cognitive creativity and it’s measured in really different ways.
It’s often held within the discipline of psychology, but there’s something that happens and especially speaking from someone in the arts, and this kind of embodied knowledge transfer the ways that we read other people’s energy and posture and the information that we take when we enter a room and we can feel the vibe of the room.
So I think that it’s one of the things that draws me to these really hard to articulate but also really felt among lots of people, among artists, but even just among really people who are sensitive and know to open themselves up and pay attention to the ways that our bodies are always receiving knowledge, whether that you know in different disciplines, talk about it, our gut reactions to things, but also the ways that people’s bodies and they communicate to us long before our rational brain can actually make sense of it.
And so I’m really curious in embodied knowledge and embodied creativity, like how we can talk about that. Are there frames or languages that we can put around that to actually be able to speak about that? And that’s where the four e-cognition theory gets closer to it, and I know that I use it in a really particular way or I choose to understand it in a particular way, but it does help to explain how artists use embodied knowledge in a really creative way, which I find. I don’t know if that’s really answering your question, but I agree with what you’re saying, that there’s different ways that we communicate that are beyond language. Yeah, I find it so intriguing.
0:29:52- Linda: I would love so much to understand how that happens. As I said, I do know when there is a magic sound, when you’re interacting with people and teaching, but I still can’t explain. If you do A, b and C, then it’s going to happen. Yeah, there are some things that you, but it’s still so abstract that being present, being pulling there using hard and cell, yeah okay, but what do you do when you?
0:30:22 – Anna: do that I know and this is where the research on meditation and mindfulness might help also to explain, because I think what you’re saying is absolutely true in my experience that the times when it happens is when you can be really present and focused in the moment, responding to whatever’s happening, but not like drifting away into different thoughts or even just thinking ahead or thinking back. You really do have to be present in that specific moment.
0:30:50 – Kyla: What comes to mind is being in that flow state. Right, I think if anyone has I assume all of us and people listening as well has been in that space, whether it’s through I’ve experienced it through painting, I’ve experienced it through dance, I’ve experienced it even just in conversation with people where there’s just this synergy of we’re connected. We’re so connected and things are flowing and things are going and it’s just like sparks are flying and it’s such a magical place to be. You feel so energized by it and sometimes I find myself craving that time. And there is sometimes where I try to intentionally go into a space again, whether through art of some kind, and maybe it’s just not that time. Sometimes I’ll try and I’m like nope, there’s a resistance. I don’t know why there’s a resistance, but I don’t know.
Not gonna happen. Left on the wrong side of the bed, I don’t know.
0:31:42- Linda: It’s even more beautiful when it happens with multiple people, because it’s just like then. I think it’s even more special because if you’re only dealing with your own head and really getting into something, okay, that’s really well, a small version, but upscaling it to including multiple people, I think that’s yeah. I think it’s great that it’s a possibility, and I think framing education in a regenerative way and using the permaculture principles can actually help to do it deliberately.
0:32:28 – Anna: One of the things that Like when you’re talking about this synergy that can happen in a really big group also related to this idea of permaculture or regenerative agriculture and regenerative ed, that we have this diversity of beings.
I’m really thinking about interdisciplinary collaboration and the ways that that synergy can happen in interdisciplinary spaces, like as much as there can be friction, which can be also good, but it can also, you know, hold things a little bit.
But when we’ve been in spaces and Kylan and I worked on the Creativity Lab project, which was very interdisciplinary, cross community and we brought people together for these deliberate kind of encounters of interdisciplinarity and idea generation and when you can find that thread that is affecting all disciplines or all people and we can start to see how each little individual perspective contributes to this greater flow of ideas, and there’s an excitement that is really not tangible necessarily, but you can feel it. The whole room feels buzzing and alive and energetic and things are just kind of like pinging off on another. And so I’m really interested in your work on interdisciplinary collaboration because I think that there’s also potential there and I work in that space too. I love the classes that are interdisciplinary that I get to teach and the projects I work on that are interdisciplinary. So I wonder if you can share a little bit about your experience with interdisciplinary collaboration, if you see any residents between regenerative education or permaculture principles and interdisciplinary collaboration.
0:34:07- Linda: Yeah, as you were describing it, it reminded me of the work of Suzanne Simard finding the muppetry on how the micro-reisa and how the connections in the web in the soil actually is connected and how that works. And I think in interdisciplinary collaborations, depending on how the collaboration works, we’re mainly finding the right language to actually have that synergy and have the sparks flowing. And I’m sort of comparing it across situations and also in multi-role collaborations, as we followed redesign teams of students, teachers and researchers who redesigned a part of the curriculum. And right now I’m working on a project where in living labs, in the ideal situation, students, teachers and professionals collaborate on a project or whatever. They have a shared goal and the students are students and having something to do for their program, being taught by the teachers, but they’re collaborating with the professionals and kind of working in hybrid situations where they are not only learning but also collaborating with the professionals or people from the neighborhood and trying to realize an innovation.
But we’re still struggling there because sometimes it works out really beautifully and people find each other and then you have the synergy and it works out really nice.
But we’re still trying to find out how to make that happen because there’s so many times of things like people being busy, having a hard time finding actually the time to do the collaborative stuff and then we get time again, which is also, I think, a really important factor in this, because when you’re in the flow and there’s a synergy, it does something with your experience of time. So I’m also still struggling with that how to actually use time to create these magic sounds, because on smaller scales and in smaller moments, I think in many instances it works. If people are committed to a shared goal, it’s going to work. But really getting to the point when you’re collaborating with people from an education institution and a partner from outside the institution, which both have their own interests and their own logics and their own deadlines they need to meet, it can be really, really can be a struggle to make it work, even if the commitment is there.
0:37:39 – Kyla: I hear what you’re saying about the time branch or the lack of time that you have with it, because it’s like, how do you put a time frame on generating creatively right?
Because, especially if you talk about getting into that flow state, getting into that synergistic state, it’s not something, as we’re talking about, that can just be turned on and off and through the work in our creativity lab, we had like was it four hours for like one half of the lab and there was one day we had like a six hour day and that’s a commitment and like we were like thankful enough to have a good number of people come out. I think we had an original goal of like 30 or so, which would have been beautiful, but we like ended up having ranging between 10 to 20, depending on the labs that we had. But it is a commitment and for people to take time out of their day and busy schedules of professors and community members as well. But, like, when it does happen but often people only have like an hour and maybe they can only do it through Zoom and it’s, I think, like the interface, technological interface, of doing work like that, not that it’s impossible, but it definitely is more restrictive as well.
0:38:44- Linda: Yeah, and in the ideal of the living labs, then the learning and the innovation really go hand in hand.
But innovation, which where you really need the creativity, then it doesn’t help if there’s only so much time to do it, and I also, my project is not far enough yet to really be able to say something with a whole lot of confidence.
But I do think that the way we organize education in quite strict timelines and with deadlines and we need to have the grades in the administration in time that doesn’t really help to create these open spaces where you can actually allow the magic to happen. So I have experienced a couple of times now that also teachers really want to do that, but in the past years they also needed to work in a quite controlled environment and having to be accountable for stuff. And with good intentions it’s because we want to have high quality education. But somehow we also made the system in a way that it’s no longer, I think, fulfilling its higher purpose in what we now think we need in the world, in professionals taking their responsibility. So I’m ambivalent about that because on the one hand, I see beautiful things happen and I see colleagues creating these spaces, creating magic zones, holding space for students to have those learning processes. So I think you would really want everyone to have, but we’re also still struggling to make it happen.
0:40:53 – Anna: Largely because of the structure. That’s your thing, like the structures that we are creating magic through, like it’s still there. But I think that there is so much more that could happen if the structures themselves could shift, whether that disciplinary boundaries.
0:41:11- Linda: But letting go of the things that we’re used to. That’s also so difficult, and that’s why I like also to use the work of Carol Brett and the basic needs we all have as humans for acceptance, for competence, for predictability. It’s not, it’s logical that we have this need to make sure we are doing the right things, but at the same time, we need to let go of a whole lot of things to allow the beautiful things to happen. So it’s really yeah, what you say the boundary crossing between different perspectives on education and the responsibility of higher education institutions, responsibility of professionals what is actually needed to be able to fulfill your responsibility?
0:42:08 – Anna: And it’s really changing world, like we’re entering an era that I mean.
I know that we’re always entering new era, but it feels very dire right now that we really need to rethink how we have been operating, and the education system has been set up to sustain specific economies and ways of functioning as a, as a system, that just don’t serve us anymore.
We can’t sustain these systems. They need to change, and so I think higher education has this incredible responsibility to be part of that, as hard and as very as it can be, and I think, yeah, as you said, like crossing disciplinary boundaries is one way finding commonalities that run across all of us, focusing on these existential crisis questions that the crises are bringing up for people. I think it’s it’s so that is also our ethical responsibility is to teach for the future that we’re not to be blind to it, and we have a lot of great knowledge out there, so I don’t understand why we don’t use it. But so I’m curious if there was one thing that we could that we could do now, like institutionally, if we could actually create a shift in the structures, what would you think that would be? Would it be ungrading, getting rid of disciplines and focusing instead on these kind of becoming fluent in different competencies. What do you think might be a first step toward that shift?
0:43:42- Linda: I’m glad you’re asking for a first step, because it was a really big question and I was thinking about.
Well, I can’t answer that. I would love to have an answer, but I don’t. What I do think is that bringing trust back into the system, trusting teachers to be wanting the best for the students, to be able to provide them with rich learning experiences that will help students transform from wherever they started to being a responsible professional in a community. And can I show you a bit? Of course that’s not going to work in the podcast, but I still would love to show you a picture.
0:44:33 – Anna: And we can put it in the show notes. We can make sure that the audience not to see.
0:44:37- Linda: Where’s the and this one share screen? I think you should see. You know. Yeah, yeah, I get Only recently I started actually using this in a redesign team I am collaborating with and I noticed that I was quite nervous about actually showing this with the word love at the center and opening the conversation with them about this A few years earlier.
Also, talk with another colleague about how both she and I felt that we just need love in education. But can we use that word in this context? Okay, she and I could use it in a conversation with the two of us, but we were really discussing is it okay to use this in other context as well? And from the conversations that I had with my students, I really was struggling with the fact that it’s kind of weird that you you know this is this is hesitant in using this word because it’s so central to our functioning. And Well, I’m still struggling a bit with that, but as the sapling grows, gaining confidence in just saying out loud yes, we do need more love in this world.
Yeah, maybe I’m a bit slow in being a hippie. I maybe that’s not the right word, but I do think it starts with love for oneself or one another, for the benefit as a whole and, from that point, from love, being willing and prepared to take a responsibility. So I think that’s a long learning process for the learning process of your students offering them the comfort zone which is safe enough that you can also invite people into the magic zone and that they trust you enough to go into it with you. And I think that’s also what you really need to be able to live from an inquisitive attitude, because I think, in the end, that is what keeps us from doing the things we would want to do or the things we think we should do being afraid that it’s not the right thing, being afraid to be rejected, that it’s not good enough. So if we can learn how to deal with that fear, I think a whole lot of knowledge and creativity is going to be unleashed and put to use.
0:47:47 – Kyla: And what I love about, and just I’ll briefly describe it to the listeners as well Linda has showed us like a spiral, with like of the magic zone, with like love in the center and then trust on the outside and then expands to this investigative attitude. But I can. What I heard from you at the beginning is like questioning, like how can we bring love into education or how can we bring love into academia and such, and I think I think it’s because, like so many of us only see love as like a romantic love, right, and then it becomes sexualized or whatever. But it’s like I am not going to try not to go in a rant about Bell Hooks, but like Bell Hooks with, but all about love and how. And she talks about communal love, right, and like there’s so much more than just romantic love. There’s there’s the friend love that you learn from friendship.
0:48:33- Linda: So love that you learn from your community is is what is going to be less diversity in the types of love that are around is also one of the sources of regenerative living education, I think absolutely, absolutely, yeah, yeah, no, I think that’s absolutely, that’s absolutely correct.
0:48:54 – Kyla: Like we need, we need to start there in order to gain trust and in order and like there’s this intersecting when I, when I hear, when I saw on the, on the diagram that you showed us, but investigative attitude, there you have to come into it with a sense of curiosity, so the intersection between, like, love, trust and curiosity, and that those are in constant tandem with one another, that’s how knowledge is gained. Just to kind of wrap up, actually in the vein of the investigative attitude, can you describe more about what that is, the investigative attitude and what is it helped to foster?
0:49:31- Linda: I think, is it’s mainly about asking questions, keep asking questions, always realize that you do not know what you do not know. So I think that’s the perspective trying to understand, never assuming that you understand completely that there’s always more to know, there’s always not a perspective. And also, again, about being responsible about what you’re doing in the world, what the effect is of your being creating ripples that extend beyond, extend in effects beyond you can see for yourself. Also, coming down all to relationships and meaning, slash, purpose as the main drivers or sources of the good life. I think and there I also love to use the acronym Karma, because in the Dutch words for those letters, it’s about choosing, and choosing not to do anything, choosing not to say anything is also a choice.
I think you need acceptance of the things that you cannot change or cannot change right now, so that you can choose to focus on the things where you do have some influence. The R is from realize, realizing that you cannot know what you don’t know yet, but also realizing your potential, just making progress, setting the next baby step. M is for the Dutch word for effort and A is for attention, because in the end we’re all together, whether we want it or not in a social learning space and what we do with our attention, as education did again, what’s attention of whom goes to what and what is done with it. That determines what is learned and whether our magic space arises from the synergy that is available. I guess that sort of wraps it up Fantastic.
0:52:03 – Anna: all of these words and the concept behind them are so powerful and thank you very much for sharing that with us. Our last question that we are asking everyone in the work you do, what gives you hope?
0:52:18- Linda: The people, the beautiful people that create magic sounds with everything they have, the resilience I see in people that, despite everything that’s happening in the world, things that are happening to persons, that with how resilient we are. I also see it in my foster son, the power to grow that we have, and sometimes I lose sight of it, but I always, luckily, I’m able to see it again and that gives me. Yeah, I think it’s going to be okay. My biggest question still is all these things. It’s still so conceptual and abstract. I would love to be more specific about it and to be able, of course, from the academic point of view, I would like to be able to pinpoint it, and I still can’t do that yet.
0:53:30 – Anna: Yes, that’s the operative word. Thank you so much for such an enriching conversation. I have so many. My mind is buzzing with lots of different ideas. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today.
0:53:46- Linda: Thank you so much for allowing me this time.
0:53:51 – Anna: You can find our guests contact information and any resources they mentioned in the show notes for the episode. If you want to stay connected with us or learn more about our work, visit my website, annagriffith.ca. There you’ll find additional resources and ways to contact us directly. We would love to hear from you, so if you have any feedback, suggestions or topics you’d like us to explore in future episodes, don’t hesitate to reach out. The Creative Praxis podcast is produced by me, Anna Griffith, with support from Kyla Mitchell and Marquis. Sound editing is done by Brendon George, with music from Wattaboy on Pixabay.
Transcribed by https://podium.page