Results from the GAP (Group Assembly Process) Group Learning for degrowth at the Degrowth Conference in Leipzig 2014
Contents – What to learn for Degrowth?
> Learning should be more focused on skills an competences and less on theoretical knowledge.
> Important skills to be strengthened in education are: critical thinking, creativity, self-consciousness, (non-violent) communication, empathy and sensitivity, mindfulness, dealing with complexity, practical survival skills (subsistence and sufficiency)
> We can achieve this by a better mix of experiences and cognitive understanding → check of deficiencies in the current educational system (evaluation)
> The question of Mental Infrastructures (Harald Welzer), meaning the cultural roots of our beliefs, habits and norms (e.g. self-optimization, the economic man/ homo oeconomicus, knowledge society) should be strengthened. In educational settings, this could be done by:
> > Reflecting our relationships to nature and other human beings
> > Exchanging with radically different views of and relations to the world
> > Reflection on the good life and the goals of society
> > By slowing down (life, education etc.) instead of promoting the notion of the ever fulfilled life
> > By consuming as many world views as possible
Methods – How to learn for Degrowth?
> We should focus more on experience based learning (head, hand, heart).
> Learning settings should be based more on the values of degrowth (open source, sharing…).
> Learning for degrowth should accept paradoxes, controversies and alternative perspectives.
> We need more accessible role models for sustainable living (“kids don’t learn what you teach them, but what you do”).
The big picture – in which system do we learn for Degrowth?
> Promote critical pedagogy: critical thinking for emancipatory purposes allows non-instrumental learning.
> Promote democratic pedagogy: allow democratic participation and decision-making in learning contexts as well as co-determination (= non hierarchical teacher-student relations).
> Promote anti-exclusionary pedagogical practices, tackle patriarchy and gender relations, mix different age groups.
> This implies a (radical) transformation of school.
> All these issues should be strengthened in teachers education.
Controversial/ undecided questions:
> Do we need to focus mainly on processes instead of results?
> What’s the role of mentors/ of support in your learning process?
> Should we abolish schools?
> Education and/or Transformation?
> Subsistence and Sufficiency – Which skills support these attributes of a post-growth culture and how do we have to encourage and embed them further in the sector of education?