Embodied Education: Reflections on Sustainable Education

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Some years ago I wrote an entry for UNESCO’s Encyclopaedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS)entitled “Sustainable Education: Imperatives for a Viable Future”. The present paper and presentation will explore the thinking that lead to this article and link it to my own endeavours as a teacher in a wide range of settings: university, secondary, primary and instrumental music. Throughout I will be linking my own life journey as a teacher of over 20 years to the literature that has informed and shaped my reflections. In a sense profiling my intellectual DNA. This is in many ways a personal exploration or meditation on what it means to try and teach from what I call a neohumanist paradigm commited to holistic sustainability.

The presentation can be seen as an example of embodied futures thinking that is explored through a narrative presentation drawing on my own experience and practice. The environments encountered will include Sarkar's neohumanist schools, Montessori schools, Suzuki music pedagogy, Holt's democratic schools, the current development of an online PROUT College (www.proutcollege.org)and finally my experiences teaching undergraduates at university.

In essence I will be seeking to demonstrate the need for teachers to embody, albeit imperfectly, the stance they take in the educational arena in their own lives. In this I take to heart the well known phrase from Gandhi: Be the change you want to see in the world.


Keywords: Sustainability, Neohumanism, Tantra, Futures Study, Epistemology, Phenomenology, Dialogue, Praxis, Critical Pedagogy, Critical Spirituality
Stream: Environmental Sustainability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Embodied Education


Marcus Bussey

PhD Candidate, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, University of the Sunshine Coast
Maleny, Queensland, Australia

My central interest is in developing transformative teaching processes that generate sustainable life values and skills in students, their families and the community. I have taught in holistic environments with both a spiritual and social focus. Neohumanist futures education is a central theme in my intellectual and practitioner life and I have just finished editing a book with that title with Sohail Inayatullah and Ivana Milojevic. I use creative and interior processes to open children and their families to the possibility of social and personal change that validates sustainable life choices. My work builds on critical pedagogic methodology, extending this field through the application of critical spirituality. My interests are in trans-civilizational dialogue in which I use various categories (linguistic, social, aesthetic, etc...) to challenge assumptions that close down future possibilities. At present I am particlularly interested in contrasting the work of Gilles Deleuze and Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar as a set of coordinates for this civilizational dialogue. A new book on educational futures will be out next year. Here are the details: Alternative Educational Futures: Pedagogies for an Emergent World
Bussey, Inayatullah & Milojevic, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, 2008

Ref: S08P0204