Education Policy Consultation
Welcome to this Education Policy consultation from the Permaculture Association.
We want to create an inclusive, welcoming and diverse educators' network – one in which a diversity of approaches is celebrated. We also need to ensure that for some aspects, namely awarding Permaculture Association certificates, work with the Open College Network, and being a Diploma Tutor, there is clarity about what levels and types of competence are required.
The Permaculture Educators' Network is open to anyone with an interest and passion in educating people about permaculture. Within that, sub-sets can form that can do particular things. There is room for everyone.
Another important consideration is ensuring that the students – the people we ultimately serve – are clear about what they can expect from different courses and teachers. A clear policy helps us to communicate this well to them and gives people confidence to make that essential booking!
I hope this consultation can help to start a rich conversation amongst permaculture educators, and identify the ways that we can work together more effectively to achieve common goals.
So please do let us know your thoughts about how we can make the Permaculture Educators' Network as open and inclusive as possible, and also give us your views on the specific requirements that we need to agree around teaching different courses.
The Association Policy on who can teach was last updated in 2000, and published in the "Permaculture Teachers' Guide":
"Who can teach?
- Only those who have graduated from the 72-hour PDC are eligible to teach permaculture
- Teachers should have two years practical experience before taking on the role of lead teacher within a course. Gaining a diploma is clear evidence of this. However [PDC] graduates can take on an apprentice role during this time. It is therefore recommended that those wishing to teach find an experienced teacher who is willing to provide apprenticeship or training."
In the intervening years, much discussion has happened at national and international level about whether "2 years practical experience" is a sufficient measure of a lead teachers' competence. In particular, a general agreement was reached by the Council of Europe that lead PDC teachers should hold the diploma.
While the UK Association policy has never been changed, it has become a widely held belief that lead teachers must hold the diploma to be able to award PDCs, and this has become something of a de facto standard.
Meanwhile, UK Government legislation has changed so that it is now mandatory to hold at least a PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) qualification to teach a course that is funded in whole or in part from the public purse.
(NOTE: even teachers operating privately might unwittingly be funded by the state if one of their learners has obtained funding support.)
At the same time, apprentice teachers have repeatedly said they want more clarity on how to become a permaculture teacher.
The Draft Education Policy
The draft policy on who can teach is below: see "draft education policy for consultation" in the Document Download section of this page.
It attempts to set out a simple framework for a teachers' register with various roles, each with associated essential and recommended qualifications. Underlying the framework is the principle that teachers should hold the qualification higher than the one they are leading a course on: to lead an intro course, a teacher should have a PDC; to lead a PDC, the teacher should hold the diploma and so on.
The policy also proposes a criteria for handling exceptions and the mechanism by which a teacher can advance from one role to the next.
We hope that this will give greater clarity to the question of who can teach what, give aspiring teachers a clearer apprenticeship route, and most importantly support the quality of education provided by teachers issuing Permaculture Association certificates.
Consultation Process & Timescale
Please review the draft policy below and email comments to [email protected] with the subject line: "Education policy consultation response"
There will be 3 rounds of comments:
The first tranche of comments will be collated and posted in the document download section of this page on 16/12/2013.
Respondents will then have the opportunity to comment on (or in the light of) the first tranche of comments; the second round of comments will be posted here on 13/01/2014.
A third round of comments will be collated and posted here on 17/02/2014.
Any final comments will be accepted until the 25th February 2014. After this, the education working group will consider all of the submissions and present the final policy on March 31st.
Any questions or comments on the process should also be sent to [email protected].
We look forward to hearing & sharing your views!