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Quinta do Vale da Lama
Quinta do Vale da Lama
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Odiáxere, Algarve, PT
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Quinta do Vale da Lama

Quinta do Vale da Lama

Odiáxere, PT

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Reflections from Teacher Training with Rosemary

Project: Quinta do Vale da Lama

Posted by Walt Ludwick over 9 years ago

Authenticity - this word has been on my mind since Rosemary spoke of it on the last morning of the Permaculture Teacher Training I took at Vale da Lama, in the beginning of October.

The Teacher Training was a superbly rich experience. I saw learning happening for me and others on many levels, and I have so many insights to share! I could write a post on each topic of the training: designing a learning ecosystem, creating learning outcomes and agreements, communicating verbally and nonverbally with students, and many more. But the greatest insight I had during the course is about teacher authenticity.

As the week progressed, I found myself becoming consciously aware of a million things that I’d always done (or not done!) unconsciously while teaching: eye contact, body language, asking questions, giving concrete examples of every abstract concept, and more. I took the opportunity of having a safe peer group to practice teaching methods and topics I was less comfortable with. I stepped beyond my natural teaching style, and as a result, felt like my lessons were getting more and more confusing!

But on that last morning, when Rowe spoke of how we each need to find our own authentic teaching style, it all came together. I realized that I’d forgotten the simplest instruction for being a good teacher: Be authentic. Be present. Be aware.

In that moment, I remembered why I seek out teachers in the first place: not to get information (I can get that from books), but rather to be supported in an experience of growth. I noticed that the teachers I really value in my life are those who help me take one step closer to becoming who I want to be. They offer just the right balance of challenge, coupled with the information, skills, and practice needed to overcome it, for me to have an empowering experience.

That, to me, is the essence of participatory education. It’s not enough for a teacher to be an expert in a specific field. He or she must develop and refine the skills necessary to design learning experiences for students in a way that allows students to discover their innate power, their potential to be agents of change that re-imagine, re-design, and regenerate their world. Rosemary role-models this expertise in a powerful way that has inspired me and challenges me to continue learning for a long time to come.

Mirka Hlavacova, Student, Teacher Training

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