An inspiring article on biocultural diversity education efforts in various parts of the world, titled Biocultural Education: Connecting Nature and Culture, was recently posted on the website of The Christensen Fund (a long-term Terralingua supporter). One of the education projects featured in this article is the Language Apprentices program of the Saanich people of British Columbia, with whom Terralingua has collaborated in the production of illustrated storybooks of traditional stories in their native language. Terralingua Director Luisa Maffi is also quoted in this story.
She describes a biocultural approach to education as “much deeper than the cultural or linguistic content of the lessons being taught”, and as being about “how to teach in a way that picks up on the high value traditional cultures place on interactive, relationship-oriented, and place-based learning.” She adds: “Learning cannot be just something that you do with your mind. It has to be something you do with your heart as well. Learning by meaningful experience, learning by doing, learning from your elders.”
This is an approach that is nearly non-existent in mainstream education today, and that is the gap that Terralingua’s Biocultural Diversity Education Initiative seeks to fill.