Pedagogical experiments for sustainable futures

This blogpost is an edited version of the newsletter we sent out in September 2023. We are posting it as a blog as we feel it does a good job of summarising our new(ish) focus at LearnJam, and how we arrived at this place. We hope you enjoy it.

Thank you for opening up this page and arriving on our site. May we suggest you take your shoes off while reading, to feel your feet on the carpet, floor, grass, mud. We hope you feel welcome here and learn something from what we are sharing.

Following an intense, transformative and challenging period of reflection in the face of the polycrisis (metacrisis?) in which we find ourselves, we have a new focus for our learning design skills and energy at LearnJam.

In this post we invite you to:

  • 💭 Consider the role of learning in polycrisis
  • 🌱 Read about our participation in challenging GCSE and A-level economics
  • ⚡️ Join our pedagogical experiments

💭 The role of learning in polycrisis

Deep down, most of us sense we’re living in an unsustainable mess, but find ourselves unsure of how to confront this reality. Instead, society guides us to ignore the mess and carry on with our daily routines of production, consumption and individualism.

What do you sense that indicates we’re living in an unsustainable mess?

We were confronted by the full, undeniable reality of the climate emergency via a learning experience called The Week, and felt compelled to act. We thought we wanted to answer the question “how might we as learning designers help to address the challenge of climate change?” but we quickly learnt that the climate emergency was not the root problem, but rather a symptom of the flawed systems that define our modern way of living.

We are coming to understand and accept that our era of “more” must come to an end, as the true cost of endless growth and consumption is becoming impossible to deny. We believe it is time to embrace new stories and new possibilities, and to imagine and experiment with radically better ways of being on this planet. This is where we have decided to direct our skill and energy at LearnJam.

Our question to answer is therefore:

How can (un)learning experiences help us imagine and transition towards radically better ways of being on this planet?

If this question interests you, we’d love to talk!

Book a call

Meanwhile, we are exploring this question by designing, developing and facilitating (un)learning experiences and pedagogical experiments – both our own and in collaboration with partners and clients.

You can read more on our updated website. 

🌱 Challenging GCSE & A-level economics

The economics that young people are taught today does little to question the exploitative, extractive features of neoliberal economics. There is no mention of planetary boundaries, endless growth, the commons or unpaid labour carried out in homes everywhere, every day.

Last month we carried out a design sprint, in collaboration with Doughnut Economics Action Lab and Jennifer Brandsberg-Engelmann, to create and test a proof-of-concept for a course in Regenerative Economics – to challenge existing mainstream courses at secondary school level.

The Regenerative Economics prototype is now in development.

Our hope is that the Regenerative Economics course acts like a wildflower, taking root in even the smallest of cracks and spreading seeds to change the way economics is understood by young people around the world.

If you also believe we need a course in regenerative economics, we invite you to sign the open letter.

⚡️Join our pedagogical experiments

As well as collaborative projects, we have created three of our own pedagogical experiments that you are able to be a part of.

> Co-learning at the end of an era.

A weekly online co-learning hour, where we explore and discuss a resource that aims to shift our perceptions and help us imagine radically better ways of being on this planet, hosted by LearnJam. The sessions are supported by an optional WhatsApp community group.

Over summer 2023, we did an initial season of this experiment and engaged with materials by Bayo Akomolafe, Timothy Morton, Vanessa Andreotti, Alexis Shotwell, and Mikaela Loach. We have reflected on the sessions and made some tweaks to the format.

Join us on Mondays, from 9th October until 11th December. Sessions will last one hour, from 12pm – 1pm (UK time).

If you’re interested in joining any session, complete this form.

> You Are Nature: experiments in entanglement

You Are Nature is a pedagogical zine / mini workbook with gentle, reflective activities that invite you to reconsider your relationship with “nature”, designed to play with the way you perceive and interact with the world around you.

We hope that by chipping away at the illusion that we humans are separate from each other and from nature, we can begin to imagine radically better ways of being together on this planet.

Printed and delivered seasonally. Free (for now!).

​Request the autumn edition here (until the end of November 2023).​

> Midwinter rituals

A three-part group experiment in rekindling and creating new anti-consumerist midwinter rituals. Running online, December 2023 to January 2024.

Join us as we explore the impact on people and planet of how we celebrate Christmas, New Year and other winter events in the UK.

Let’s more deeply understand the violence these consumerist rituals inflict on other humans and the more-than-human world, and sit with the grief and discomfort this may cause. Let’s then cast our attention backwards, or sideways, to midwinter rituals lost, othered or being left behind, in the hope that they may act as inspiration for something new.

With the support of the group, we will each craft an experiment for a new midwinter ritual for the Christmas and New Year period 2023 / 2024. We will return in the new year, as the days are slowly getting longer, to reflect on how our experiment went, how we feel, and what we want to do next.

​Read more about midwinter rituals​

We’d love to hear from you!

We’d genuinely love to hear your thoughts on our new focus, and how this newsletter has landed with you.

Or if this newsletter made you think of anyone, please forward or let us know, as we would love to connect with people working in this space.

Email us

With love and care,

The LearnJam Team

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