Integrative Education (IE) Conference 2022
By Katie Simpson
On the 3rd and 4th March 2022, Crossfields Institute hosted practitioners and students at Emerson College for the very first Integrative Education (IE) Conference. With a total of 41 attendees, the two-day conference provided a valuable opportunity to gather and discuss the current experience and future of integrative learning.
Lou Doliczny opened the event, which began with a discussion of Crossfields’ seven Principles of Integrative Education (see https://crossfieldsinstitute.com/about). This laid the foundation for practitioners to reflect on their experience of delivering and assessing the IE qualifications in a series of curated workshops.
Our speakers for the event included Jonathan Code, Helen Morris-Ridout and Peter Simpson. Jonathan’s talk involved sharing three stories on the theme of ‘fire’ alongside the question: how should we live? Jonathan invited us into our imaginations, to reflect on the stories that he presented, with a focus on integrating place and purpose in education. As a recent PPIE graduate, Helen spoke to us about the principles of permaculture, making a thoughtful case for shifting education away from an anthropocentric centre, towards a system of integrated learning with an ecocentric heart. Finally, Peter talked about the practice of not-knowing and the opportunities that uncertainty can offer us. Bringing together themes of meditation, critical thinking and creativity, Peter guided us to reflect on both our professional and personal experiences of not-knowing.
In addition to the practitioners, it was a privilege to be hosting 17 students, aged 14-16, all at various stages of the IE qualification. Not only did this give an opportunity to share their learning experiences but it provided a chance for IE students to meet one another and feel a part of something bigger. Jules Ellison and Katie Simpson coordinated a series of youth-focused workshops that encouraged creative reflection on the students’ experience of IE. Students also took part in a fire-lighting workshop with Jonathan Code. Practicing patience, teamwork and self-reflection, our young people managed to get several fires burning, one of which was used to light the fireplace in the main conference room.
At the end of the first day, students reflected on some key messages from the recent publication of Sir Ken Robinson’s manifesto, Imagine If. This stimulated an insightful discussion on creativity and empathy and led to an exploration of young people’s role in the education system. In the final session, IE students shared with the whole conference their visual representations of what an IE graduate should look like – an inspiring end to a wonderful time together.
If you are a learner or a parent interested in registering for the IE qualification, please contact us. If you are a centre interested in running this course as part of your curriculum, please contact us. If you would like to learn more about these qualifications, please see the following pages on our website: