A little more about how the Apprenticeship and Practitioner training are delivered:
Our training is designed in two stages- the Apprenticeship of 2 years which teaches people the competencies to become a Community herbalist who wishes to teach about herbs in their community and promote the use of herbs for wellness as part of health sovereignty in their community.
For those who wish to become a Practitioner herbalist with the ability to diagnose and extemporaneously prescribe, formulate and dispense medicines to individuals after consultation there is a second stage. The 3-year practitioner training teaches the additional competencies needed for this level of practice.
Because most people who want to train with us are drawn to the training because they love plants the first year of the Apprenticeship focuses on learning about the plants, and how to work with them. This includes how to identify them, grow them, make medicines and foods with them. We also teach about plant connection, natural resonances and ways to work with the plants relationally, using tacit knowledge and nonverbal communication to listen to them and understand their meanings.
In the second year of the Apprenticeship, we start to explore the human condition, social justice psycho-emotional approaches to health and matching plants and people.
All the assignments are formative rather than exams and tests and benchmarking. We follow a model of participatory education which helps students overcome educational trauma, engage in a process of de-schooling and find out their own learning intelligences and the best way to learn for themselves.
Engaging with our child self helps the whole process
We use progressive elaboration to induct students into the learning process. We teach many ways of researching plants including relational methods, organoleptic's, and others. We do also examine reductive methods, peer review material (and the pros and cons of this- although we do not start this process until 2nd year). We encourage experiential and kinaesthetic research as well as literature reviewing and other methods.
We do not use any PowerPoint delivery in the first two years although there is some in the practitioner training for those who wish to progress to that. This is because PowerPoint has been shown to put people into a passive learning mode, expecting data dumps rather than encouraging curiosity, exploration and the engagement of imagination and poetic approaches to learning.
The courses are not about learning by rote but use storytelling, reiterative methods and experiential exercises to allow the evolution of knowledge that the student owns which will hopefully grow into wisdom.
All our courses are in a blended learning format.
They include face to face intensive workshops, video lectures, course notes, zoom classes, discussion threads and the careful guidance of mentors and tutors. There is a generous degree of self-directed study with suggested exercises to help this. Students are encouraged to read and explore and ask questions- the person who asks questions does not lose their way. Although there is a schedule for learning we understand that life happens and that sometimes people need extra help, encouragement or to spread their learning over a longer time and we are all there to give support and encouragement answer questions and generally help the student become the best herbalist they can be with a good degree of autonomy and sovereignty. At the same time, we know that learning in the community works best and so does the continuation of the community connection after studying so we view all students and graduates as part of our community.
This RSA Animate was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA's Benjamin Franklin award.