Can somebody with a PRI PDC (verified) give a PDC certificate to a newbie?

Discussion in 'Jobs, projects, courses, training, WWOOFing, volun' started by Biochar, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. Biochar

    Biochar Junior Member

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    Hello everyone, I have a question for you: I've met a person with a PRI PDC (verified on the PRI official website) but he's not a verified teacher according to the website. He claims that he can give me a certificate in permaculture PDC, because he reckons that everybody that holds a PRI PDC certificate can give for free a PDC course. And still according to him only teachers can ask for money in exchange for a PDC course. Is this correct? And if not, can he release any kind of valid certificate or not at all?
    Thanks in advance!
    :)
     
  2. Biochar

    Biochar Junior Member

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    Anyone knows the details about this? This person I know has his own farm and is applying the permaculture principles on his property since almost three years.
    Thanks!
    :hi:
     
  3. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Biochar,
    Pretty much anyone could offer a course and at the end provide a certificate of some sort. The question is what is the quality of instruction?

    My understanding of the PRI is that once you've received your PDC and spent some time practicing Permaculture design science, you need to prepare your coursework/presentation material and send it off to be evaluated as to whether it contains the information as included in the Bill Mollison's PDM. If the coursework is acceptable, the PRI will appprove you as an instructor. To be a certified instructor, I believe you'd need to take the PDC instructor's course.

    All-in-all, these processes are meant to help ensure that each PDC contains all of the essential aspects of Permaculture design as defined by Mollison in the designer's manual.

    However, even obtaining instructor certification will not guarantee the quality of the instruction, only the content ... remember that effective teaching is an art as opposed to merely imparting information.

    So your question begs a few questions from me:
    1) what personal value do you place on obtaining a Permaculture Design Certificate?
    2) what personal value do you place on obtaining comprehensive, interesting instruction (in the company of like-minded folks) on how to think and apply Permaculture design concepts and techniques?

    I guess what I'm asking is whether you want the knowledge or the piece of paper?? While your friend can provide a piece of paper, only you can evaluate whether they can provide the knowledge.
     
  4. CraigMackintosh

    CraigMackintosh *****

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    To see if someone has been accredited by the PRI, you just need to go to their profile on www.permacultureglobal.com, and look for the PRI PDC Teacher badge. If they don't have that badge, they're not an accredited teacher.

    If someone wishes to apply to be a PRI PDC Teacher, they can see all the criteria for doing so by going to their profile on www.permacultureglobal.com (or creating one if they don't already have one), and then on the lower right side of 'My Profile', they should click on "I'm a PDC Teacher", and then after that clicking on "Apply to be a PRI PDC Teacher". This takes you to all the criteria, and the two-stage system for submitting an application.
     
  5. Biochar

    Biochar Junior Member

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    Hi 9anda1f , I'm glad you replied to my question and sorry for the late reply but I'm already on the site where I'm learning and living the permaculture way and my network coverage is very limited.
    So I'll try to reply to your questions.
    For me it's of pivotal importance to get a PDC in both its facets: the piece of paper and the experience (but if I have to choose in between the two I certainly choose the knowledge). Because, as you now, in our society it's important to have some pieces of paper to be considered as a resource (and not just because you know how to do the job, sad but true). I would like to learn as much as I can about permaculture cause I want it to be my way of living. And I would really like to spread as much as I can the teaching behind this amazing way of dealing with life, in all it's components: the relationships with other people, with nature and with a meaning. I'm not interested in money making, if I would be I would have stayed in the pharmaceutical company I was working for, but at the same time being certified would allow me, in the future, to do some workshops, courses to introduce people to permaculture and if you don't have a certificate, again sad but true, most of the people wouldn't consider you as a valid resource.
    This are the reasons why I decided to go to australia to get my PDC. Because here everything started and I wanted to see with my own eyes what people do in the country where permaculture was born. Maybe after this first period in the farm where i'm staying right now, i'll try to go to tasmania as well to meet Bill Mollison.
    What i'm learning here, doing WWOOFING at the farm, it's way more interesting and explanatory than what I could've learned in an online PDC course (which is certified by PRI): i've started with mulching beds, then projecting and realizing irrigation systems (gravity fed by a dam uphill), i've been helping in producing biofertilizers based on soil microorganisms, planting seedlings and sawing seeds, preparing and throwing seedballs, projecting a greenhouse with a timer controlled pump, producing biochar and many other things, (it would be a very long list).
    And so now I have a question for you. Do you really think that having an online course should be an option to get a PDC certificate? I really don't think so. My teacher maybe is not certified by PRI but has a young and beautiful food forest, dams and swales projected by himself, animals both wild and domestic and many other practical examples that together with the reading and commenting of Bill Mollison's book (and other books Sepp Holzer etc...) are helping me in getting experience in this way of living. So I don't know if, after this period, the certificate he'll give me will be acknowledged by PRI, or if I'll have to go and get an official one by some recognized teacher, but I evaluate a lot the way I'm learning, my going to live with people and to learn by doing and studying at the same time.
    I hope I had replied to your question.
    I don't want to sound polemic, but lately I think that in our society people are more interested in money making than everything else. Many of the courses to become certified in permaculture are ridiculously expensive and I think less important, in terms of practical knowledge, than a field experience. Nowadays permaculture is widespread all over the world and almost everywhere you can meet people that are doing amazing things with the landscapes they live in. We should be more eager to meet, to do, to swap ideas than to get the piece of paper, I totally agree with you and I would rather put a limit of significant experience in time (let's say 6 months), practicing permaculture, than a money one ( 1500$ week course, 1000$ for the online one, this are prices I've found when I was searching for a course). This way only people with money will be teachers. And that's not fair share. It's just not fair.
    I'm looking forward to see what do you think about my point of view.
    Thanks for your time.
     
  6. Biochar

    Biochar Junior Member

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    Hi CraigMackintosh, thanks for the explanation, I will ask my friend to do so, he's going to get a certificate as a teacher as well soon, but just the one that allows you to organize workshops cause the one to be a certified teacher to hold courses is thousands of dollars. This is what I know through searching online and talking to people, if you know something more, please update me.
    Thanks again!
     
  7. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Biochar,
    It sounds like you've found a great PDC instructor and locale, and your course is a hands-on education within an established system based on Permaculture design. This might be considered to be the epitome of a PDC ... similar in fact to how courses are run at Zaytuna. Seeing and working with actual guilds, dams, mulching/composting, and animals integrated within an agroforest can impart a level of understanding not easily achievable through an online PDC and I agree that in such an environment, your Permaculture coursework will come alive!

    However I also believe there is a need for Geoff Lawton's online PDC in that, while definitely not a hands-on experience, Geoff goes into such depth on all the aspects of Permaculture and the Designer's Manual that the extra time allowed by studying week-to-week is needed to assimilate all the information, ideas, and design techniques. I was fortunate to take my PDC from Geoff and Darren Doherty, and although I was already somewhat informed about Permaculture, the actual 2 week course was a life altering experience. Then I recently signed-up my partner for Geoff's online PDC and was continually stunned at the quality and quantity of information presented ... far in excess of what can be realistically be taught in the traditional 2 week course.

    Notice I am speaking strictly to Geoff Lawton's online PDC ... I cannot vouch for any other online courses. Geoff's online course has the added benefit of giving a high-quality PDC to many folks around the world who could not in any way find the time for a 2-week intensive. In these times of ... well, crisis, getting Permaculture into the minds of as many people as possible is a crucial step towards shifting the balance of the world's thought patterns into awareness of how humans can live on our planet in a sustainable and symbiotic fashion.

    You say
    . I might propose that this is what happens when those who've taken their PDC go out into the world and begin to pollinate Permaculture concepts. This is the main reason that Permaculture is so rapidly expanding worldwide; it's an infectious idea and is spread through human contact!

    In closing, I will also mention that not one person has ever asked me whether my PDC was PRI certified, only whether or not I've taken the course. With the quality of environment and instruction you seem to be getting, I might think that you'll spring forth from your course and begin using Permaculture design principles throughout your life spreading the word as you go and accomplish. Please keep us updated on your progress and ideas. I think you're well on your way!
     
  8. Biochar

    Biochar Junior Member

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    Hi 9anda1f , thanks for sharig your ideas with me. Today I've started building my first dam with my friend (of course we were not driving the excavator, but guiding the excavator guy sometimes is as hard as that ;-) it had been exciting. Actually the only good source of information, except from some good boos about dams building, it was Geoff Lawton video on "harvesting water" o I agree with u that it can be helpful to have some online material. I hope that people that have the online PDC will start soon to do practice and get involved in some permaculture group, that's all I'm concerned about.

    I'm really happy with this adventure of mine throughout australia in search of other people involved in permaculture. So far so good!
    I'll keep u up to date.
    Cheers!
     
  9. grantvdm

    grantvdm Junior Member

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    Thanks Craig for information. I was sitting with the same question, but just reversed... I have a PDC certificate (from 2013 online PDC with Geoff) and have been coaching and training a friend in permaculture the past couple of months. Currently, I think I am the only person in Namibia (emphasis on 'i think') with a PDC certificate, and we were wondering how I could get him (my friend certified).

    I've just got a few concerns with the current system:

    - Cost for teacher is too much; I am still paying off the loan i took to do the PDC (all worth it though!!!) and wonder how long it will take me to be able to afford to get teachers certification.
    - Access to teachers in my area is non existent; as i mentioned i think I'm the only person in Namibia with a PDC certificate. Will the PRI send someone to our country to evaluate our teaching skills? As we will definitely not be able to afford going to another country to co-teach for 50hours with a certified teacher.

    I think my above concerns will slow down the rate at which teachers in Africa will be brought to the forefront, and as such slow down progress of permaculture on this continent.

    I love permaculture, but the "money for everything' is killing my moral. I understand all things come at a cost, but when we make prices we need to consider the average income and expenses of households all over the world.
     
  10. CraigMackintosh

    CraigMackintosh *****

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    Hi Grantvdm

    Our reviewers for PRI PDC Teacher applications commit to doing some reviews, for special circumstances (like those you speak of), at reduced rates. You can mention this to whoever intends to apply. The Mollisons gave up on their teacher registry due to the cost in time involved. It wasn't financially sustainable. Even our system is not financially sustainable, as yet. Perhaps it will be if we have many dozens of registered teachers, but not yet! For now we subsidise it via other aspects of our work. Even the application system (i.e. www.permacultureglobal.com) is one big subsidy - in that it was through 1000s of hours of my own donated time, and cash injections from Geoff Lawton's teaching work to pay for developers.

    As we live in the over-developed world, everything we do is in this economic context, and it all costs. But, yes, we aspire to provide access to all.

    So, if your friend follows the steps in my earlier post, and reads the criteria for applying, and thinks he's ready to fulfill the terms of the application, then he should go ahead and apply, and then follow up with an email to me - editor (at) permaculturenews.org - stating his reasons for requesting a discount, and we can take it from there.

    Processing applications is a time-consuming task - but it's essential if the PRI accreditation is to ensure high standards in teachers. But we will do our best to accommodate your friend if he's up to such standards.

    Best wishes
     
  11. grantvdm

    grantvdm Junior Member

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    Thanks a million for the reply Craig!!

    You are doing a great job!! Thanks for all the hours you are putting into the system. Your work is highly appreciated by myself and many permaculturenews followers.

    I will be visiting my friend this coming weekend to do some design work, and will get back to you ASAP.

    In the end, we need to get the practice of permaculture spread as fast and as wide as possible and ,agreeing with you, to the highest quality as well; ensuring we have covered the the whole Designer's Manual.

    Thanks again.
     
  12. CraigMackintosh

    CraigMackintosh *****

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    Welcome. Don't forget - there's always the option to get a PRI accredited teacher to go to Namibia to teach and get the ball rolling. That teacher can help mentor your friend into becoming a registered teacher.
     
  13. dyllos

    dyllos Junior Member

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    Hi Biochar

    From all the reading I have done, your friend cannot issue/give you a certificate because you have not done the theory in a formal way i.e. followed a 'course' based on 72 hours which overs the curriculum of Bill Mollison's. Anyone who has completed a PDC can teach a PDC of the 72 hours. PRI recognition is just that - recognition by an organisation/body. Just like certification for organics, tertiary qualifications, and so on is done by a certifying body. Whether the person teaching the PDC charges money or not is irrelevant. If the person did teach you the theory in a more formal way in order to issue you a certificate, then it may be worth them making this open/available to public scrutiny so that your certificate is given credibility. Otherwise, no one may want to take a course you offer.

    Here is the PDC I recently taught that I have made available online - I have tried sharing this through permaculturenews, but to no avail as yet. The link for the files is near the bottom of the page.
     
  14. dyllos

    dyllos Junior Member

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    Hi grantvdm,

    please see my other comment in reply to Biochar - you can teach the PDC yourself (because you have done the PDC). Your friend can take your course (along with as many locals as you can get to commit) and get certified. Hopefully you already have some practical experience to support your teaching? Teaching the PDC is daunting - I know - I have recently taught my first one (most of it anyhow). Because it was so much preparation, I decided to share it with anyone who may find it useful. I think it could make it a lot easier to help someone like yourself to deliver their first PDC. If you don't feel up to the PDC - start shorter - perhaps an Introduction to Permaculture course over 2 or 3 days? you can also include guest presenters who are 'qualified' to help deliver the PDC - technically the whole PDC does not have to be taught by PDC graduates only. As long as the qualified people cover the curriculum content.

    As you can see from my website, I wholeheartedly agree - there is too much expense preventing more rapid spread of Permaculture. How are your Internet speeds there? Were you able to access Geoff's course online or had to wait for the DVDs? my powerpoints are around 100Mb in total so hopefully you can get them if you want them. (I also have plenty of digital resources I have collected over the past few years (esp when I had high speed, cheap access), so message me if you want them sent on USB.) Lekker lekker!
     
  15. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Wow, great website Dyllos! Thanks for posting a link to your PDC course materials!
     
  16. dyllos

    dyllos Junior Member

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    Thanks! you're welcome - if you like the resources, please feel free to share anywhere
     
  17. rowan

    rowan Junior Member

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    Hi Biochar
    I think this is an interesting question in general. I checked on the permacultureglobal.org site and they list 766 teachers and 30 PRI teachers. I did my PDC course in 1990 with people who were taught by Bill Mollison and are not PRI registered. Most of the well known PCD teachers around the world are not PRI registered, and I'd be surprised if they go through the process. When I did my course, anyone with a PDC and two years' experience could teach. To help with quality control it would be good to have some kind of system, but a bureaucracy run out of a developed country is never going to be accessible. In the academic world, quality control is maintained by voluntary peer review. There is no registration, but publication with a voluntary gate-keeping process. If this is good enough for science, maybe something like this could work for PDC.

    I think the whole PDC process is usually far too expensive and it would benefit permaculture and the world in general if it were more accessible. The recent development of online courses is a step in the right direction, but of the two I'm aware of one is still expensive and the other appears to be a form of spam!

    I have long thought that an alternative could work - facilitated group learning. In 1996 I trained as a group facilitator for the UQ graduate medical course. The idea is that the students teach themselves medicine with the assistance of a non-expert facilitator and access to learning resources. When the course started, all doctors in Qld were trained this way. If this works for training doctors, could it work for permaculture? There are important differences. The students have to be highly motivated and capable which they can ensure with trainee doctors as entry is extremely competitive and careers are lucrative on completion.

    I have offered to run courses for a couple of organisations this way, but so far it hasn't happened, and it would be difficult to find the time at the moment alongside my PhD. But anyone with a PDC, good access to resources and some training in problem-based learning could do it. If people are interested I can explain the basics, but there's probably heaps of materials online. Quite a few medical schools teach this way, and it's probably used in other disciplines too.

    I'd be interested to know what people think.
     
  18. dyllos

    dyllos Junior Member

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    Hi Rowan

    I agree that the process is too expensive. Online courses are not new by any means. April Sampson-Kelly has been doing hers for over 20 years. Cost at hers; https://www.permaculturevisions.com/ was AU$600 when I did it a few years ago. There are others too, but not usually ones which you can start any time and do at your own pace.

    I do like the idea of facilitated group learning - please post an explanation of how you think it may work with PDC. The more people who get Permaculture education the better.

    Cheers
     
  19. rowan

    rowan Junior Member

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    Hi Dyllos

    I can tell you how the process worked for the medical course. The students were in groups of 8 with a facilitator and met 3 times during the week (for a semester-long course). At the first meeting they are presented with a problem which they have to solve collectively. They work out what they need to know in order to solve the problem and divvi it up between them. Between the first and the second meeting each student goes away and researches their part of the problem and at the second meeting each teaches the others their part of the solution. They then put it all together and work out what is still missing. The gaps are then also similarly divvied up, researched and shared at the third meeting where they compile their collective solution.

    During the week the students have access to the resources they need to solve the problem. So this would be a lot of the work in compiling the course. For a PDC I think it would be important for that to include local practitioners and site visits. The problems can be developed around the 14 chapters of the designers' manual. That would take about 42 of the 72hrs. Maybe 20hrs could be spent on site visits and practical experience leave about 10hrs of class time for the final design project (which could be incorporated throughout). The self study time would be additional to this.

    It might be more difficult to fit this into a typical 2-week residential style course because of the private study time required. I could see if if people offer PBL as short courses. But it could work in an online format, if students were sufficiently motivated. I've done a web based course myself and was very disappointed by the level of participation of the other students.


    Cheers
    Rowan
     
  20. dyllos

    dyllos Junior Member

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    Thanks for the explanation Rowan. When you talk about meeting; do you mean online or face to face? I was expecting the explanation to be oriented towards online learning, but it seems that at least the students have to be in a face to face environment (esp if doing practicals)? Teacher could be at a distance. Do you think it could work well if everyone was online in different locations (and there were no group practicals at all)? I would also envisage that it needn't be a 2 week block either. What do you think?
     

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