Professor Paul Clarke
"We need our teaching – and the conditions we generate for learning – to be informed and guided by nature, its systems and solutions."
When it comes to taking people's brains for a walk, there is none better than Professor Paul Clarke. And given his work helping education help save the planet, none more important.
Paul has an impressive background in education both in the classroom and as an academic, as well as supporting the world of business to face up to its responsibilities when it comes to ecological and environmental matters. A challenging and incredibly knowledgeable presenter, he speaks quietly but carries a huge stick - if we don't get our act together it will soon be too late.
His current projects take him from China to the Falkland Islands/Malvinas to Moldova to Manchester and, for a recent international conference appearance, he was described as 'a heady mix of pragmatism, creative zest, spirit, vision, love and a deep dive into natural systems thinking, ... a wild and wonderfully unique treasure who continually surprises, inspires and leads on the connections between the human and more than human world.'
With such an impressive CV under his belt, in recent years Paul has turned his not inconsiderable brain power to the changes that education needs to implement in order to equip children and young people with the awareness to make a difference that just might save us all.
And they are some very profound changes indeed and are not easy listening for those thinking we can carry on pretty much as we always have been.
We first bumped into Paul when Independent Thinking founder Ian Gilbert met him visiting an ecological centre on one of Hong Kong’s many beautiful, wild – and threatened – islands. Paul was on the way back to the UK from Pakistan where he had been working on behalf of the British government. Since that time, Paul’s work at governmental, local and school level has taken him to China, Moldova, France, the US, the Falklands/Malvinas Islands, Uganda and on several occasions back to the Australian outback where he is involved in a long-term project that combines exploring the teaching of the indigenous population there with, importantly, identifying just how much we can learn from them.
In his straightforward, thoughtful and quietly impassioned manner, Paul is working with an increasing number of schools across the world, linking them up to explore how a global network of equally impassioned educators and young people can make a difference locally and globally.
It is a difference that needs to happen not just at a practical level, but at the level of our own human consciousness, challenging our place in the universe and requiring schools to revaluate the things they teach that serve to give humans an inflated sense of where they are in the great cosmic pecking order.
This is no ten tips to improve your exam results and get Ofsted off your back – it is far more important than that. If you understand - or want to seek to understand – how important, then Professor Paul Clarke is the man you need to listen to.
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