Creative Praxis artwork. Hands working on pottery.

Perspectives on Regenerative Education from the Networks of Inquiry and Indigenous Education (NOIIE) with Judy Halbert and Linda Kaser

In this episode, we are honoured to host Dr. Judy Halbert and Dr. Linda Kader, co-directors of the Networks of Inquiry and Indigenous Education (NOIIE) and leaders of the Transformative Educational Leadership Program at the University of British Columbia. Our conversation takes us into the world of regenerative education and the transformative power of the Spirals of Inquiry. We explore the potent themes of transformation, personal growth, and discovering one’s identity and purpose. Within the conversation Judy and Linda’s commitment to equity in education shines through as they share their vision – every learner graduating with dignity, purpose, and options, along with an ignited curiosity about the world. Through compelling anecdotes of individuals who have evolved within the network, Dr. Halbert and Dr. Kaser bring to light the transformative and regenerative potential of inquiry-based education. 


Judy Halbert and Linda Kaser

NOIIE on Facebook and YouTube

Episode Chapters

(0:00:20) – Transformative Learning and Regenerative Education

Dr. Judy Halbert and Dr. Linda Kaser promote equity and quality for all learners through regenerative education and Spirals of Inquiry.

(0:16:06) – Six Stages of a Spiral Inquiry

We discuss the spiral approach to engaging teachers and principals, and the six stages of the spiral approach.

(0:21:35) – Networked Education in British Columbia

Network educators, early childhood educators, meaningful connections, and catalytic effects are discussed to pursue important values.

(0:25:51) – Catalytic Affiliation and Regenerative Education

Identity, purpose, growth, and fear are discussed to explore transformation.

(0:36:47) – Hopeful Perspectives on Regenerative Education

Dr. Halbert and Dr. Kaser explore regenerative education, cyberbullying, racism, loneliness, gender understanding, transformation and personal growth.

(0:43:23) – Connecting With Guests and Providing Resources

Network educators promote early childhood growth emphasizing individual identity and regenerative education.


0:00:20 – Anna

Welcome to Creative Process. 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 am Kyla Mitchell-Marquis, an undergraduate honor psychology student focusing on gender and sexuality at the University of the Fraser Valley and a research assistant for the podcast. 

0:00:38 – Anna

I’m recording today on the beautiful and shared territory of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam nations. Our work also takes place on Stó:lo territory, and I think this recognition is important as we are exploring what regenerative education means and how it’s practiced. We are speaking to people from all over the world whose work exemplifies or brushes up against ideas of regeneration, but my own understanding of regenerative education was spurred in part by the Indigenization work I’ve been part of on Stó:lo territory and also a desire to more deeply understand and feel connected to land and place. Our guests today are educators whose commitment to indigenization is incredibly inspiring and, while they may not use the term regenerative education, their work resonates with many of its principles. 

0:01:26 – Kyla

We are joined today by Dr. Judy Halbert and Dr. Linda Kaser. They are the co-directors of the Networks of Inquiry and Indigenous Education, NOAAI for short, and lead the transformative educational leadership program at UBC. Linda and Judy have served as teachers, principals, district leaders and seconded directors at the Ministry of Education. They consult extensively with school systems and internationally. They are deeply committed to achieving equity and quality for all learners and to networking for innovation and improvement across systems. There are now 10 international networks connected to the work initiated in BC. 

0:02:00 – Anna

Judy and Linda were identified by the big-chained organization as pioneers for their work with NOAAI and in 2019, along with Debbie Leighton-Stevens, they were awarded the Smallick Prize for the enhancement of public education in British Columbia. They are the co-authors of Leading Through Spirals of Inquiry, the Spiral World Playbook, Spirals of Inquiry for Equality and Quality, Leadership Mindsets, Innovation and Learning in the Transformation of Schools and, with Helen Timperly, a famework for transforming learning in schools, Innovation and the Spiral of Inquiry. Welcome, Judy and Linda. We are so excited to speak with you today. 

0:02:38 – Judy

Well, thank you very much for inviting us. 

0:02:42 – Kyla

Excellent To begin. Transformative learning can mean a multitude of things, but can you please explain from your perspectives and discuss your work on the Spirals of Inquiry? 

0:02:55 – Judy

Well, how about starting with a hard question? You know, I think our whole careers have really been dedicated to ensuring that every kid has a fair chance, and I think that the goals of the network really reflect that. So our first big goal is that every learner will cross the stage with dignity, purpose and options, and for us, that’s just central to everything that we do. So dignity meaning that no young person in any of our schools has been on the receiving end of anything racist, homophobic, sexist, you name it that they’ve been treated with dignity and that they’re known for who they are. The second is that they have, through schooling, they can, see a path for themselves as adults. They have a purpose in life, whatever that may be, but there’s, there’s a kind of a destination through school. 

And the third is that they have genuine options, and we’ve seen for far too long primarily Indigenous learners being channeled into courses that limited their options rather than opening them up. 

So we’re really determined to make sure that secondary schools create options, not limit them. So that’s, for us, that’s transformative. Our second big goal is that every learner, adult and young person, will leave our settings, whether our classrooms or our schools, more curious than when they arrived and it is heartening for Linda and I to see teachers who are towards the end of their formal careers just become alive through this work and we just find that really exciting and we’re seeing real progress in terms of growing curiosity, more curiosity, supporting schools. And our third big goal is that every learner, young and adult, will gain an understanding and respect for Indigenous ways of knowing and that through that work of deeply understanding the stories and the richness of our, our history and our heritage in British Columbia, that we will work together to eliminate racism in our schools. So if we have systems where every learner is crossing the stage, where everyone is leaving more curious and where we are making strong gains on eliminating racism, that’s transformative from our perspective. 

0:05:27 – Anna

I find that really deeply meaningful so many different levels and one of the things that you’re really highlighting is this idea of a sense of purpose and being curious about your own self as a learner and how that is really so important to take you wherever you want to go in life. However, you want to express yourself through life, and so can you give us some examples of the ways that your work really helps to foster that curiosity, but also that meaning and purpose for students? 

0:06:02 – Linda

Yeah, I want to want to start just with with an example. I think one thing that’s really great is to ask people what their purpose is. And I was a principal on Stolo territory at Pat’s secondary and there were these two young men in chef training 12. We had an excellent, world-class chef at the school and they were going downtown to learn how to do fancy desserts. They were going to diva at the Met as part of their training. So I stopped. These two boys were brothers and they were of Stolo ancestry and I said what you know, what are you doing in chef training and why are you going downtown? And this one young man looked right in the eye and said oh, dr Pazer, I want to create a meal with my brother. I want to create a meal for the elders that they will remember for the rest of their lives. And I still can’t say that without tearing up like it was such a moment for me and what a great purpose. And that young man now, I believe, is a chief and when I follow him he is doing just remarkable things around the truth and reconciliation work. So I think you know we tell that story often because that’s what we want. We want young people leaving with that sense. 

And you know you asked about the spiral process to. We have lots of evidence now because we have whole chunks of systems, including our own, where people have been using a spiral living process over, let’s say, a five to seven year process and they are making really strong gains in both quality and equity. And they those schools we were just touring some of them last week with some of our visitors they are just beautiful places to be in and I think when you see a place where all of this comes to life and where people do understand the spiral framework is a way of moving, thinking forward as a collective with with strong learner voice and strong teacher voice. We want that too. It’s incredibly encouraging and it’s really exciting Like we hadn’t been able to have a face to face conference for several years due to the health situations and the energy 300 people in a room Honestly, I just want to say grooving and I’ve probably identified me in a particular demographic, but there was just a vibration that was just like a positive energy force over the three days that we were together in various ways. 

And that is so exciting because I think for the very first time I felt in BC. We’re going to meet our goals. It might take us 10 more years, but we are definitely there. We’re definitely at a different place than we were 10 years ago, when we were just thinking about gee. We should read an indigenous authored book. There’s a move, and I think we’re all part of it, and that regenerative thinking, of course, is part of it, because the indigenous ways of thinking are what the globe needs right now. 

0:09:32 – Judy

And let me give another two quick examples. One is from Prince Rupert and it’s Charles Hayes Secondary School and they have been part of our transition studies. So we’ve had some targeted funding to support improving transitions for indigenous students over the last six years and Charles Hayes has been a key part of that and they’ve applied sort of SimChan thinking and SimChan culture to how do they welcome students into the school. And so now it’s become a community feast when the great sevenths move into grade eight and it’s really, you know, it’s fantastic because it’s not just sharing a meal, a community meal, but it’s also understanding all of the history and the richness and the significance and the symbolism of feasting. And then they’ve really worked hard to bring Somaliic language into the school. It’s being taught in the school, there’s lots of visual representations, so it’s a very different place and at the kind of root of our work on transitions are three terms it’s being, belonging and becoming, and so it’s around creating that sense of strong identity that every learner is known and valued and cared for. The second is that they have a sense of belonging to the community and the third is that they’re becoming more as a result of their experience in school. And then the other. 

The other example is a more recent one, and that’s from N’Chaco Lake School District, and Dustin Louis, who’s a professor at UBC, and Leona Prince, who’s the district principal of Indigenous education in N’Chaco Lakes, conducted a very important study around what was happening in the district. 

One of the key things was the development of a diversity course at the grade eight level, because one of the things that was identified was that there were many, many, many incidents of racism that the young people, the kids, were experiencing from other kids, and so they needed to tackle it at the kid to kid level and introduced a course that was quite controversial initially, but with the absolute tenacity and support of the district leadership and the teachers that were involved in developing the course, it’s up and it’s running, and every grade eight young person in that district is learning really, really important lessons, and they’re seeing a couple of outcomes. 

One is that incidents of racism being reported are declining, and the second is that over the last few years they’ve reached parity in graduation rates for their Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners, and that is a very important accomplishment in a rural district that has communities spread out, and so we kind of look to them as an example of what can happen when districts work as a network, take the spiral of inquiry seriously and really, really listen to the experiences of their learners. 

0:12:49 – Linda

Those are fantastic. Sorry, go ahead. Well, I just you know, just to deepen that. I think one of the things that we’re really proud of is that the people who came behind Dustin and the Indigenous partnership there well, I just want to say that they had three goals. They wanted to improve completion rates. They wanted to make sure that every young person felt at home in the culture, because it’s mainly Indigenous population. And what was the third one? 

0:13:22 – Judy

Well, it was around identity and belonging that they saw themselves reflected in the curriculum and they felt a sense of connection to the school Right. 

0:13:29 – Linda

They felt safe there. Yeah, so those three indicators are powerful indicators and I can remember 10 years ago, an educational assistant, an Indigenous cultural support worker, a fabulous person. She made the first move in a school to build a smokehouse in a school that had nothing like that and we talked about okay, how are we going to show that this work over the years is going to make a difference? We came up with a postcard strategy that young people wrote what they knew about the local Indigenous people at the beginning, which was nothing or negative stereotypes, and at the end. And what they knew at the end was so fantastic that they ended up having a school assembly and inviting the local chief to share the postcards with them. 

You could feel the change over time and you could see it in the writing that the young people did at the end of the year. And really that started with Nikki Arnold stepping forward from her role as a cultural support worker, supported by network members who believed in her and believed in the work, and that was a decade ago. So you can see, if you stick with it and keep doing what seemed perhaps at the beginning to be small things postcards and smokehouses but that you can end up with a diversity course, and you can end up shifting a population and even having indicators. Like one of those lead educators, her husband is now the mayor of the biggest town in the district, and you know that makes a difference too, because you’re building a community that’s going to embrace the population that belongs there instead of other, less pleasant alternatives. 

0:15:19 – Anna

So powerful and responsive, as you said, and embedded in local context, celebratory, creative these all things that are coming to mind. So I have two big questions, maybe the first I would really if you can explain a little bit, even briefly, about the spiral of inquiry process, and I love how it happens over. It can happen over such an extended period of time. This change does take time, so if you could talk a little bit about that. But then also, I’m just curious if there, if the networks are the end, the spiral work has. Does it happen in higher education? Does it happen in early years as well? Just curious. So, however, you’d like to answer. 

0:16:02 – Linda


0:16:03 – Judy

I’ll start with explaining the spiral briefly. So it came about, you know, as a result of case studies that Linda and I had gathered through the early days of the network and we knew we knew that we needed to engage teachers and principals and support workers through curiosity. So so that was. That was the start. We became aware of the work of Helen Timperly from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, who was doing some really important work around literacy and using a, an inquiry process that was kind of similar to ours. But we thought what if we put our ideas together and blended her from what she learned from research and what we’d learned from the, the practice of teachers across BC? And we spent about two years doing that, hashing out the ideas. And it looks relatively simple when you look at the spiral image and the six stages, but behind that is quite a lot of thinking and a lot of work to get the language as clear as possible and represented in a format that that really spoke to teachers. So there’s six stages to the spiral, but at the heart of every stage is coming back to the question what’s going on for our learners and how do we know? So it’s not making assumptions about what’s going on for the young people that we serve, but really listening to them. So the scanning stage, which is the first stage, says you know what’s going on, and and we ask schools to start with two key questions. The first one is around belonging. The second one is around a cognitive agency or metacognitive agency. So the first question is can you name two adults in this building who believe you’ll be a success in life? That’s a very powerful question because we need to have some discussion about what success in life means prior to asking the question. And it is also an indicator of belongingness, and so we know that if, if young people don’t have at least one adult, they’re, they’re less likely to have a great experience, so we have to do something about that. So that’s number one to kids feel a sense of belonging. The second question can every young person from kindergarten to grade 12 or post-secondary say what they’re learning in a particular area and why is it important? So, for instance, what are you learning about well-being and your own well-being and why is that important right now? What are you learning in math, problem solving? So those two key questions are the start and there’s a, you know, myriad of other questions that can be asked, but we say let’s focus first on the first initial go through the spiral, on belongingness and on learner ownership of learning. Then we move to focus where school teams identify one area that if they work on together, will have an important impact on their learners and at that point also to decide what evidence they’re going to be looking forward to let them know that they’re making enough of a difference. 

The third stage is the hunch. Now this is sounds like maybe an unusual term, but it’s a very important stage because it requires, as the spiral requires, us to slow down as teachers, where often our predisposition is to act. We want to fix things, we want to get in there, we want to do it. The hunch stage makes us think about how are we contributing to this situation for our learners. So right now there’s a lot of concern about anxiety and kids’ sense of well-being, and so, as the adults in the school, we need to say, hmm, how are we contributing to anxiety for our learners? Or how are we contributing to this loss of well-being, sense of well-being, whatever it is, but it’s around our behaviors as the adults. That’s the way we start our day. 

0:19:57 – Linda

Reduce or or increase anxiety. 

0:20:01 – Judy

So there’s a number of things that we need to look at. 

Then the next stage is new learning, and this is where Helen Tempele’s work is so important, because she is the first researcher in the world to look at the kind of professional learning teacher professional learning that actually makes a difference to learners which may sound sort of counterintuitive given how much we invest in professional learning. 

But her big finding was teacher professional learning needs to be linked to the learning needs of kids. So at this point we say OK, if we’re looking at reducing anxiety what do we know about that? And improving critical thinking, what is it that we need to learn? So it’s directly linked to the focus area. Then we’re going to take some action. It may be over 100 days we really like the 100 day challenge idea Maybe over a semester, over a year, whatever the length of time is that seems appropriate and then we’ll check to see whether we’ve made enough of a decision difference. So the six stages scan, focus, hunch, learn, act, check are the heart of the spiral and at every point it’s being really intentional, about asking what’s going on for our learners and setting our assumptions and our biases aside. 

0:21:28 – Anna

And taking responsibility as the adults in the room. I really appreciate that, Mark. 

0:21:35 – Judy

There was a second part to that question. 

0:21:38 – Anna

There was. So is this used in higher education in the same kind of like focus networked way? Is it also used in early learning or early years education? 

0:21:50 – Linda

The answer to both of those is yes, but that is in British Columbia. There’s lots of. Actually. What’s interesting is lots of network educators have just recently been promoted into the early childhood expert in their district. So they’re bringing their years of working with the spiral to that level. And we just had this symposium. We had a terrific session by two early childhood educators of one district. They said they start prenatally, they don’t, they don’t bother waiting. Wow, that’s amazing. All right, that sounds really good and you know what. 

What’s really interesting, I think now at the post-secondary level we’re getting. We’re getting to a place that really, I think in the world is quite exemplary because you know, at our own university there’s lots and lots of spiral work and spiral understanding. It’s, you know, becoming more and more a way of life for the thousand or so people who go through the program. And certainly, you know, there’s a big healthy ID population of young people are being trained and there’s a spiral expert who leads that process. Viu, where we worked for a while, you know the master’s program and the work there is very linked and the Dr Fisher who leads that work is very linked in. She’s a network leader. The imaginative people at Simon Fraser, are very connected to the work and use it and the Dean at University of Victoria is very involved and she’s actually researched the effectiveness of the transition work in schools and she’s actually you know both of you would be interested in this and we’re hoping to have an easier to read paper about the idea that she has documented and named a factor of really strong networks and she’s calling it catalytic affiliation and it’s kind of that notion that as you come together in a meaningful way and become kindred spirits, buddies, whatever term you want to use but she’s using the notion of kindredness from indigenous thinking as those bonds form and as you pursue important big values like equity and quality together, that that causes a kind of catalytic effect, like a really good wind and a sail. It’s. You know you’re going somewhere and you can feel the energy in the room. 

So at our symposium we had Hawaiians, we had Swedes, we had Welsh people, we had people from the Yukon and Northwest Territory and Winnipeg and lots of BC people and a couple of really smart people from Oregon and you could feel the affiliation going and you could feel that it was catalyzing all kinds of action and I think that’s going to end up being a really good contribution to the literature on networks, because that’s we can feel and actually Michael Fulin has just been in touch wanting to know more about kind of BC networks because we can see the differences being made where the work is in depth and over time, you know. 

And going back to that young man who said I want to make a meal for the health, you know, a young person with a sense of purpose like that ends up doing that and I am confident I won’t want to track that young man down and now I think about 40 and I want to say what was the meal? And did you serve creme brulee? But I bet those elders will remember what they made for the rest of your lives. 

0:25:37 – Judy

So just to give credit to it, Catherine McGregor is the acting dean of the faculty of education at UVic and her work has really helped sharpen our thinking. 

0:25:50 – Kyla

That’s so incredible. Yeah, this discussion about catalytic affiliation. It just reminds me of the work that and then I did last summer. It was in the creativity lab and, just like when you get a group of people in a room together, regardless of what discipline or area of focus or where they’re in the community, one of the things that I still promote is so energizing. There was something in the air about just all of us getting together and asking questions, like pushing each other to our brinks of like ask more, ask why, ask, like end this and that, and so I definitely resonate and just we’re just going to pivot a bit to our next question, and in what you do with the networks of inquiry and Indigenous education and the application of the spirals of inquiry, you seem to be promoting change on both the personal, individual level, but also on a systemic level. So can you talk about your experience with this? 

0:26:47 – Judy

Well, let me talk about one of our network leaders who just recently defended her doctoral dissertation. And this is talking about kind of the personal and the system. So we first met her as an English teacher in a Northern BC school and a wonderful teacher, but felt that her destiny was to be an English teacher for the rest of her life, which is a great aspiration. But she became involved in the network. She publicly, at a network meeting probably 10 years ago, acknowledged her Metis heritage and said that prior to being part of the network she had hidden who she was and that she grew up saying that her dad was Mexican rather than Indigenous. And so she started to gain that confidence and became a principal and did a superb job and is now a director in quite a big school district. 

And when she did her her doctoral work was around. You can’t transform a school or a system without transforming yourself. So for us, watching her grow has reflected on the growth that we’ve seen in so many people and that we’ve experienced in ourselves too. That transformation starts with you and it starts with understanding your own ideas and your own identity, your own sort of sense of purpose, your own values, and so I’m not sure that that answers your question, but we don’t see system change without watching people change and celebrating the changes that are made and the growth. 

0:28:47 – Linda

And if we go back to Jim Shan, ways of knowing and the experience and Prince Rupert, I hope they changed the name of their towns. And Debbie Layton Stevens is a scholar and she did her doctorate at Simon Fraser and it’s a beautiful dissertation, filled with wisdom and poetry. And, though I don’t know, quite a while ago she taught everybody in the network that what we need to do as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people is that we need to walk slowly, walk beside each other and be the known face. And you know those words have resonated so strongly. So it’s not. You know it’s. 

And Leona has that same kind of philosophy from her Indigenous tradition Her images of two canoes, one with settlers and one with Indigenous people, paddling side by side to a shared destination. I think these images are so important and as you really begin to live in that way, you know I’m not running ahead. You know, with a sword clear in territory for somebody, we’re side by side, we’re walking slowly so we can absorb what’s happening. And when it comes to feasts or relationships, we’re not saying you have to come to the school, we’re going to be the known face and where the people live it’s. All of those deep ideas are, in our view, transformational and as people learn to live them, everything changes. 

One of our favorite network leaders she’s now actually our boss at UBC, but she’s been working with the Spanish people for a long, long time, and with Bob Baker in particular, and he’s a big paddler and a big appetite for the Spanish language and culture. And he was just about to go out at a conference and he said you turn to Leona and said I know what you want to say. I know what you want to say, lynn. You want to say just shut up and start paddling. Everybody like get to the action stage. And you know, when you get to that place where you have the kind of relationship with an indigenous elder where you’re friends and you can talk that openly and that comfortably, I think you know you’re living in that. Walk beside me, walk slowly, be the known face and now let’s get something done. And Lynn did her job in indigenous understandings and how we can move systems. So I think that’s to me that’s exciting, really exciting. 

0:31:31 – Judy

And the term from that, the Somaliic term is Hygwilan and it really you know, when you get such a powerful term the other term that we kind of live in with the network is Kuala Lump, which is from the Lillawatt people and taught to us by Lorna Williams then that means uncertainty in the anticipation of new learning and we think that that’s a really important term for people coming into inquiry and coming into the network or working with a spiral that we don’t know what’s going to come out of this and there is some apprehension of an uncertainty at first, but if we are working together we’ll get there. So Kuala Lump, we just love that term. 

0:32:21 – Linda

I think, kuala Lump, above your creativity lab. You know, when people come in, there’s that uncertainty. Oh, I’m going to be creative. You know what’s that going to be like and it’s just such a powerful, powerful idea. 

0:32:37 – Kyla

No, and it is through and within that uncertainty where the real magic happens. And I guess, just speaking personally like I am someone who, and I think a lot of people struggle with this is like when you don’t know what the next step is and you don’t know what lies beyond the path. You, you, you rigor up and you, you just see fear. And then when you’re steeped in fear and discomfort and unease, then it really limits you. But then I found, like the most impactful work that I’ve done with myself or through my learning is like when I bump up against the uncertainty and I just like lean into it and then it just is like a river flowing Right and it’s like thank you in a sense, yes. 

0:33:15 – Linda

I was like the rigor up or lean in. 

0:33:18 – Kyla

Yeah yeah, exactly Right. And like and like any sort of and I love what you said earlier started to jump back for like about success and like. That’s something that I think, like many of us, are trying to figure out right now. What is success, and is there a standard definition of it, or is it something that you need to discover within yourself? And yeah, and any sort of success that I think it’s not. It doesn’t exist within the safety of your comfort zone, it exists within the uncertainty, right? 

0:33:46 – Linda

Yeah, something that really speaks to that. We do think as Canadians, that talking about these ideas before Terry Fox run days is a really good, really good thing because, having taught in mission as a teaching principle, if I ask kids, you know what is success in life? You know some of them would say you know owning a Lamborghini and and you know a hot, fast car and you know we put a lot of energy into having a Terry Fox days and there’s a reason that he’s a Canadian hero and I think that’s a really great time to talk about success in life, having to do with some values that just aren’t all material and have the regenerative scene. You know, maybe it’s pulling an invasive species out of your community as a collective act. That’s the time I think the fall is a good time to have those conversations. 

0:34:43 – Anna

And especially as, as we’re like, I think, hopefully in a moment where we really need to rethink what success looks like within the boundaries of our world or planet, and this idea of regeneration is really evocative for me anyway and, as you mentioned, like it can mean so many different things. So I’m just curious, because your work is so I feel there’s so much resonance with ideas of regenerative, regenerative practices. Do you have any thoughts on that word and what it, what it means to you, regenerative practice or regenerative education? 

0:35:19 – Linda

Well, I love the word regenerative. I think to me it has such a positive edge and when you take it apart and look at the practices, they are all, from my point of view, highly subtle, kind of nature-embracing ideas and behaviors. And I’d like to really. I think the reason we agreed to come on the podcast is that I’d really like to see what you’re doing as a way of building the ethos, the culture that we want, because I don’t think the word has become sort of contaminated A lot of the environmental words do you say global warming or do you say global burning? 

I think we can get lost in some of those discussions. I think there’s thousands of educators in Canada that we’ve met who can get behind the idea that if they’re doing outdoor learning or if they’re doing sit spot learning, that they’re in a regenerative community of practice and that’s where we want to be for the next decade, until we turn this around. So I say rah, rah and more For years in our work, like I started out with young writers, and we just said what do you want to do more of, more often, and I think regenerative language fits in that. Yeah, we want to be in a space more and more often. 

0:36:53 – Judy

And I think when I think of the term regenerative, I think of I’m trying to explain but sort of a plant coming through the concrete that we can bust open the concrete and new growth can come, and I think that that’s. You know, we’ve got some structures within education that are kind of traditional and historical and we need to open those up, and I think that that’s what regenerative education stroke means to me, like that, opening up that new blossoming, the new possibilities, the new growth. And it’s exciting and I love that you’re doing that work and that you’re leading this podcast. 

0:37:41 – Anna

Well, thank you so much, and these are all really hopeful ideas, and I get so inspired again just because it helps to like open the imagination, thinking about regeneration and regenerative education, the possibilities that may be contained within that, and I agree with what you’re both saying, that it’s, it’s, it’s. This regrowth is reemergence at a time when we’ve really, really needed. And so, for our final question, go for it, Keva. 

0:38:13 – Kyla

Okay, okay, Okay. So the final question we asked, which really weaves into what you just said about new growth, opening up and new blossoming and the work that you do, what gives you hope. 

0:38:25 – Judy

Well, it just. I feel incredibly hopeful when I see the work that the teachers and students are doing together. You know Linda mentioned that at the symposium last week there were four young people from Sands Secondary in Delta talking about the changes that they were making in their, their school and on really important issues like they were tackling, you know, cyber bullying and racism and loneliness and gender understanding. I mean, these are kids in grade nine, 10, 11 that are just I thought our future is in great hands because they have the confidence and the skills and the support. And then one of the one of the the young people was at at first year at UBC and he was coming back to be part of this, this group, and he’s off to some UN thing this summer. 

And I just have holy smokes. You know BC teachers are doing a fantastic job because we are helping support kids that have an enormous potential. So I think that’s what gives me hope. The other thing that I love is seeing teachers like the one that I mentioned thought you know she was a English teacher and that was her destiny, but seeing that they have the capacity not only to be a wonderful English teacher but to do have a bigger influence and people kind of their wingspan growing and their, their circle of influence growing as a result of being part of a community. So those are my two. 

0:40:03 – Linda

Yeah, mine is. Mine is somewhat surprisingly related One of one of the ways we we started a network, by the way, linking the Fraser Valley with Metro, so kind of a Metro and Fraser Valley spirit to this work. The first kind of guideline that we established was we’d really like both to have classroom teachers and a principal at the meetings. This was 23 years ago, and we started with 34 schools. When they got to the meetings, though, it was always clear that we wanted everybody to leave their role at the door and just come in as a curious person, and that was a really smart move. We’re going to write a book about networks and we’re going to write about some of these things, because that freed principals, who were very busy people, to just enjoy the meeting and enjoy the thinking together and not be burdened with all those rural expectations. So there’s that spirit. And then there’s the second spirit of. 

I am very hopeful because the graduates of the network, the graduates of our master’s program and TIL, are now taking on more and more senior positions in their districts and in the province and they’re working at universities, and the young woman that Jitty was describing, she is now doing with her institution. 

She and her colleagues are doing how to decolonize your doctoral programs. 

So we’re not in fond of hierarchies, but we really like them when they’re being kind of penetrated by these absolutely fabulous educators who are living in a different way. And another woman who taught us a whole lot is Laura Tate and she’s now deputy superintendent and that’s important. And she taught us when we said, okay, how are we going to do this work? She said, if you want indigenous understandings, make an indigenous friend. So we immediately made friends with Laura and her family. She taught us so much and that’s such a good advice and come back to walk beside me. She’s shown as well, walks with me and be the known face. So that gives me hope because it feels like more and more and more the people who have the values that will actually get us to equity and quality are in charge of money, hiring, how you treat people, creativity and critical thinking all of the things that really, really matter in our learning lives and that I find that totally inspiring and it just gets me pumped. 

0:43:08 – Anna

Me too, and I’m pumped from this conversation. It’s been so inspiring and enriching. Thank you both so much for taking the time to speak with us today. 

0:43:17 – Judy

Well, thank you, thanks Anna, Thanks Kyla, very much for inviting us. It’s been a joy. 

0:43:23 – 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, 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-Marquis. Sound editing is done by Brendon George, with music from Wattaboy on Pixabay.

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