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Pedagogy for Restoration

Addressing Social and Ecological Degradation through Education


David Krzesni

Pedagogy for Restoration seeks to understand the conditions leading to the destruction of Earth in order to discover pedagogy for restoration. As we degrade the planet we degrade ourselves and as we degrade ourselves we degrade the planet. Moral development and socialization significantly influence our participation in, construction of, or resistance to the systems of oppression that degrade us. The process of restorative education recognizes that humans are fundamentally good and moral and seeks to promote healthy moral development. We must help students meet their basic needs, center their own identities and experience, and simultaneously emphasize community and relationships to help them find a sense of purpose. These efforts facilitate social and ecological restoration by allowing students to reach a physical and emotional place that is conducive to learning and self-efficacy so that they may engage with whatever issues they find important in their own way and on their own terms.
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Chapter 6. Pedagogy of Basic Needs


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[When someone is] chronically and extremely hungry…Utopia can be defined very simply as a place where there is plenty of food…. Life itself tends to be defined in terms of eating. Anything else will be defined as unimportant. Freedom, love, community feeling, respect, philosophy, may all be waved aside as fripperies which are useless since they fail to fill the stomach. (Maslow, 1943)

Making sure that students have their basic needs met, including emotional needs, must precede any educational effort. Not only do I know this tacitly, in my gut, to be morally imperative, it is explicitly and empirically true (as I will show). Therefore, education must become a healing process before it can become a learning process (cf. Duncan-Andrade, 2010, on education as a healing process). All educators need to think more deeply about our role as healers: to serve our students and to promote their well-being in any way we can. We must assist our students in reaching a place where they are physically and emotionally prepared to learn.

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