This story appeared in the Alternative Perspectives Magazine
When asked where the concept came from Terri says the SevGen concept has its origins in an intergenerational story of disconnection from mainstream schooling. Terri’s grandmother was forbidden to go to school beyond year three, her father refused to go to school beyond year seven and Terri never felt connected to the learning the school environment offered. She explains how one day walking home from school with her oldest child when he was in grade one, asking her son how school had been that day, and him stating, “Mum have you ever felt like you could unzip yourself and the real you would step out”
Terri says this conversation was the spark that gave fire to her reflecting, thinking, and imagining a different way of being ‘educated’ or as she expresses it ‘grown up’. Her belief in a different approach is steeped in memories of ‘Murri way’ founded on the values of trust, respect, and mutuality, as well as the importance of relationship, caring and sharing, and storytelling and humour. The approach has also been confirmed in her heart watching the results of allowing Murri way to guide the ‘growing up’ of her six children. “All through my children’s schooling years I have been called to task by school classroom teachers, principals and other school support staff- guidance officers and learning support teachers for giving my children so much time off school. In my mind I was giving them so much more by allowing them to spend time with their family in a loving, living, laughing, listening and learning environment. And she says the results are proving her right with her six children all growing up to be successful, creative, talented and caring young people supportive of each other, their community and the planet.
In 2005 Terri began a Bachelor of Education and reflecting, thinking and imagining gave way to researching and writing on alternative education. On graduating she got a job at an Independent School that was going through transition and was under the mentorship of a proponent of self-directed learning. During this time Terri was able to get a sense of the benefits of a self-directed approach and incorporated this into the SevGen vision. In August 2010 the mentor was asked to leave the school and in April 2011 Terri was told there was no longer a classroom position for her at the school. When one door closes another one opens and the rest is history or as David her husband is given to say in loving support “the rest is the future”.
SevGen is short for Seven Generations and is based on the Indigenous ecological thinking that says that every human deliberation must consider the impacts on seven generations into the future. SevGen is a 3E model where ethical Enterprise supports Flow Education which ignites creative Entrepreneurship.
Education is at the heart of the concept. It is a reciprocal, relationship and location based model and as such is emerging as an authentic Australian pedagogy steeped with Murri Way. Terri has coined the term “ Flow Education”. She has taken the concept from psychology flow theory which at its most basic is about enjoyable, effortless learning because the learner has situated themselves in an optimal environment of their own design and is intrinsically motivated and organised by passion and purpose. SevGen will encourage, develop and support a self-directed learning approach allowing each person to take responsibility for their own learning. Education at SevGen will recognise the value of competencies, skills and knowledge, but also focus intently on developing capabilities and personal meta-qualities of ‘what-ever-it takes’. SevGen will be about discovering, supporting and celebrating the personal journey, in a social context, and always for the benefit of the collective which is Seven Generations ecological thinking.
It is stressed however that the SevGen approach does not discount the value of learning from other alternative and more traditional approaches, but rather broadens the concept of a “teacher” to include any person or experience that supports learning.
Terri is in the process of forming an Indigenous organisation that will be able to educate children and adults using the SevGen approach. People are being invited to experience SevGen education and through this, Terri is building grass roots, community government and corporate support and interest in this work. Her ambition is to share SevGen by developing a permanent learning space in the beautiful Mothar Mountain area.