Utilizing an Ecological Worldview in Design Pedagogy: The Yestermorrow Model

By Charles Taze Fulford III and Richard Sheridan.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

David Orr (2002) recognized that “the design of buildings and landscape is thought to have little or nothing to do with the process of learning or the quality of scholarship that occurs in a particular place. But in fact, buildings and landscape reflect a hidden curriculum that powerfully influences the learning process” also, Orr (2004) advocates that “authentic learning engages, educes, encourages, and enthuses, instead of rote learning; real education encourages spontaneity, insight, and reflection. Its aim has always been whole persons who are capable of thinking critically and living with compassion, energy, and high purpose.” The Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Warren, Vermont, has for thirty years now, addressed design in a fundamentally different construct than that of traditional schools of design, utilizing both the surrounding built environment and human spirit to help students become more aware of their impacts on structure, place and environment. The combination of collaboration and a campus that has evolved to include examples of designs done by students in the very buildings they live, learn, build, and reflect in, have led to a unique educational setting. Instructors at the school use details and techniques from the buildings and surrounding grounds to teach with what Sterling (2001) calls an Ecological View of Education. Sterling lists core values such as “participation in all dimensions of the sustainability transition – social, economic, and environmental, inclusion and value of all people, integrative understanding, faith in people, and ecological sustainability” as part of the educational paradigm of the Ecological view in comparison with “selection or exclusion, competition, standardization, faith in the system, and modernity” in what he describes as the “Mechanistic worldview of Western civilization.” Curriculum, evaluation and assessment, management, and community are all also part of the process of determining the philosophy of design teaching.

Keywords: Pedagogy, Ecological, Paradigm, Sustainability

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.227-238. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.982MB).

Prof. Charles Taze Fulford III

Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi, USA

C. Taze Fulford III ASLA, MArch, LEED AP. Taze is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at Mississippi State University teaching classes in Community Design, Introduction to Landscape Architecture, Senior Design studio, and Introduction to Computers for Landscape Architects. His research interests include Regenerative Communities, Design Pedagogy, and Creativity.

Prof. Richard Sheridan

Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island, USA

Professor Sheridan has had more than 30 years of professional practice experience and teaching graduate and undergraduate landscape architecture and architecture students. He is licensed as a Landscape Architect in Arkansas and Indiana and has practiced throughout New England for the past 22 years. Professor Sheridan has had extensive experience in strategic planning, systematic thinking and achieving common grounds and goals within interdisciplinary groups in outreach projects. A consistent theme in his years of teaching is the importance of participation in community sustainable outreach programs.


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