My Teaching Approach (EPICA)

Below is the teaching methodology I use for my walking experiences, workshops and classes.

1. ENRICH the Learning Experience with a Whole Body Approach.

Checkeres handmade by Ezequiel Torres

I teach in a way that is multi-sensory.

On my walks and in my workshops, we listen to sounds (and music), touch materials, pay attention to scents, and learn about visual cues, symbols and signs. We learn through the act of moving. We discuss the ways in which the trauma of inequity shapes how people move through a landscape; we also learn how gestures and movements can serve as acts of resilience. I also build in opportunities for hands-on creative learning and interaction with others.

“If people are highly successful in their professions they lose their senses. Sight goes. They have no time to look at pictures. Sound goes. They have no time to listen to music. Speech goes. They have no time for conversation. They lose their sense of proportion — the relations between one thing and another. Humanity goes.”

Virginia Woolf

2. Teaching as a PROCESS of Unfolding.

I help you begin a journey, but you will continue on your own, empowered with new knowledge and awareness.

I create space for you to make your own connections; you arrive at your Aha moments one step at a time. Open your awareness to mind/body interconnections as well as your connectedness to other people. Discover how you are already part of the natural world. You will also start to recognize your links with people far beyond the here and now–across the span of time (past/future) and in different parts of the world.

“The first mystery is simply that there is a mystery, a mystery that can never be explained or understood, only encountered from time to time. Nothing is obvious. Everything conceals something else.”

Lawrence Kushner

In my classes and workshops, I find that small group discussions and dialogue help spark this “unfolding” process, too. Through this process, you both gain knowledge and gain awareness of how to continue learning through increased awareness and consciousness, no matter where you are.

3. Create a Space of INSPIRATION and Welcome.

World Cafe

I am very attentive to fostering an inclusive, welcoming and shame-free space for shared learning.

When I speak about white supremacy and whiteness (and I do), I do not shame “white people.” I think it is demobilizing, reproduces an “us vs. them” dynamic, and does not advance the cause of equity and justice. Moreover, I do not treat Othered people as victims absent any capacity to resist, to subvert, or to creatively survive, even in the worst of circumstances.

In my teaching, I always incorporate inspiring examples of resilience, solidarity and regeneration in the natural world and among humans specifically. Learn lessons that will help you and others in the present and future.

“Maybe journey is not so much a journey ahead, or a journey into space, but a journey into presence. The farthest place on earth to journey is into the presence of the person nearest to you.”

Nelle Morton

4. Highlight the CONNECTIONS between Roots, Routes and Relations.

I teach mindfulness and attentiveness to your surroundings (the here and now). Then I share stories that spark reflection on what we don’t readily see.

“The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are out there.”

Yasutani Roshi

Learn about the seemingly invisible local, global and historical forces and relations that impact the environment, influence and divide (or connect) humans, and contribute to how we perceive “nature,” ourselves and others.

5. Build Critical AWARENESS by Unpacking Single Stories.

After spelling out the dominant “single stories” that we hear about people and place, I explain how they were made and how they link to older, enduring and powerful ideas about nature, ancestors/bloodlines and gods/spirits. During historic moments such as the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, settler colonialism and the Industrial Revolution, powerful groups re-interpreted these old stories in ways that served their own interests. They needed to justify violent domination of the environment, the body, women, and Othered people, with an emphasis on cultivating anti-blackness.

“Everything begins in mysticism and ends in politics.”

Charles Pegúy

I confront these myths not only by sharing historical facts but also by drawing on the findings of contemporary science. Moreover, I re-examine those ancient ideas about nature, ancestors and spirits. I demonstrate how many of their core teachings about nature re-affirm how connected we really are to the Living Earth and to each other, as part of whole systems.