Participatory Learning – a Bridge to the Future


by Hiroko Katayama

For many years my community has been experimenting with different approaches to education as we know that modern society is in crisis. Having forgotten or dismissed our traditional values of sharing and connection with the land, our education system has created a culture where children and the adults they become are isolated from, and in competition with each other, consuming unnecessarily, and disrespecting the rest of the natural world.

In January 2018 I discovered an inspiring solution to this almost overwhelming situation – the Training of Trainers, a 3-week training in Mindful Participatory Facilitation. I joined 32 participants from 11 countries in Thailand for this programme, led by Pracha Huntanuwatr and Jane Rasbash.

Participatory Learning is an exciting new way to learn. Participants help create the content and shape the learning process, realising what they are capable of, empowering themselves through active participation and learning what true leadership means. Participatory facilitation also builds group trust through the use of tools such as deep listening, observing the present moment, respecting all voices and speaking leanly.

Having joined the ToT in Thailand I return to my As-One Network SUZUKA Community in Japan with much more confidence, with greater awareness and with new skills to serve our experimentation with different approaches to education.

On the beautiful seashore of Ban Nok in Thailand I not only learned new skills for myself; the group learned and grew together, becoming close friends and creating a valuable network of global practitioners. We are all on the same path – it is supportive and energising to know this.

Education is the key to the future. ToT Thailand is spreading the knowledge and skill of how participatory learning can be a bridge, a way forward to create healthy and empowered individuals in a thriving, co-operative society now and for the future.


Hiroko Katayama, As-One Network SUZUKA Community, GEN-Japan Representative and an Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) organiser in Japan.



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