The UnSchool Pedagogical Framework

Pedagogy is the art, method and practice of teaching. In the UnSchool Pedagogical Framework, pedagogy refers to a system of knowledge transfer that is based on a principle of shared experiential exploration of knowledge and embraces a collective experience of desired learning outcomes. We see participants as co-creators of the experience and whilst the educator is directing the experience, people are the co-authors of the experience that emerges through the learning journey. UnSchool educative experiences are designed to maximize the likelihood of effective knowledge transfer in a rapid and highly immersive way and are characterized by engagement, activation, experience, equality and action.  

All educative transference should synthesize and frame the Core Knowledge:

Pillars | At the heart of UnSchool programs and practices, embedded in all that we do, are our core knowledge pillars of SYSTEMS, SUSTAINABILITY and DESIGN.

We design systems that maximise social, economic and environmental sustainability through the understanding of the complex interconnected systems at play in the world around us and we design experiences that maximise positive change. 

Method | The change-making approach that our programs and educative experiences promote is our iterative process of MINING, LANDSCAPING and BUILDING. It is an APPLIED approach to designing creative interventions for positive social change. 

Just as we use the Disruptive Design Method in designing interventions to make change in the world, we design experiences and learning journeys that transfer knowledge from one person to others through the same 3-part process.

Methodology | The principles that guide the Disruptive Design Method (and all NOn School educational practices) can be found in the 12 module curriculum. This methodology:

  • incorporates systems thinking, sustainability sciences and sociology along with design approaches to address complex problems.
  • offers fresh approaches to skill development and knowledge transfer.
  • Are the building blocks for an activated change-making professional practice

We use the methodology knowledge sets to help us understand humans, experiences and the complex systems at play around us. All educative experiences draw on a mixture of the elements that make up the methodology, so all educators should have a level of mastery over the core concepts in the 12 units. 

Pedagogy should cultivate UnSchool principles of:

Knowledge Transfer | Our educational experiences demonstrate additive, problem-posing learning rather than reductive learning. It is not a “banking model” of education where teachers deposit information into students, but rather a co-journey into exploring and experiencing the problems of human beings in the world. Agitating the critical thinking process and unlearning prior knowledge sets are critical components of this type of knowledge transfer. We agitate our participants to push through the frothy stuff to activate real creative change within themselves and the world around them. The goals of our programs are to activate and seed creative leadership by  inspiring, engaging, and provoking.

Learning Approaches | Our educational experiences are models of critical analysis, reflexivity and systems thinking. UnSchool Educators should model these key approaches and design experiences where participants can understand and embrace these learning dimensions. 

  • CRITICAL ANALYSIS: Undergo a critical evaluation of personal actions, busting through cognitive biases that impede dynamic thinking to be able to imagine all potential aspects of something (rather than the one-dimensional perspective many of of hold onto by default). Criticality is not about being critical, it is about holding a diversity of perspectives on an issue.
  • REFLEXIVITY: Engage in reflective thinking around pre-existing mental models and the their root relationships, to be able to think dynamically around, in and through the concepts and approaches that are being presented and to question with the intent of understanding.
  • SYSTEMIC THINKING: Constantly draws back on the complex interconnectedness of issues and opportunities, to think through root and connected relationships as well as to see the macro and micro issues at play. Understanding dynamic relationships between intrinsic and extrinsic experiences of the world and leverage these to create systems interventions that evoke change in ourselves and the world around us.

Learning Journeys | The learning experiences we curate are designed to quickly transfer complex ideas in provocative, fun, challenging and sticky ways. They are characterized by dynamic relationships between participants and educators to facilitate a deeper questioning about the world and the role of knowledge. Within UnSchool learning journeys, UnSchool Educators: 

  • Are engaging facilitators of the whole group experience, speaking eye to eye with the community and demonstrating situational agility to ensure the group’s collective needs are met.
  • Understand that participants are responsible for their own personal learning experience within the larger experience.
  • Adeptly get participants to share, learn, contribute and co-create with their group and their wider community.

Experience Design |  The design of the learning experience impacts the mental and physical conditions of the participants. Design is a very powerful influencer --- our comfort levels, perceptions and stress levels all impact our willingness to learn. Designing learning experiences that are the most effective mix of challenge, reward, comfort and discomfort, order and chaos, is part of the effectiveness of the UnSchool Method. As part of the UnSchool Pedagogical Framework, UnSchool Educators design experiences that:

  • Embrace a full experience arc, employing transference theory of tone, frequency and volume not pitch at the right level to the group
  • Avoid long periods of direct instruction without implicated engagement (where the group is asked to actively do something such as respond to a question or talk through a topic etc)
  • Consider all the physical aspects of the learning experience, from the way the room is set up through to the visual aids, language used and the structure of the learning experience.
  • Make sure that energy is managed effectively to maximize the group's efficiency (such as considering breaks, movement, food, etc.).