PERSPECTIVES guest lecture series 1
LEARNING AND TEACHING LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE | TRAINING OR EDUCATION?
Mr. Shishir R. Raval, PhD.
This seems to be the age of Asia. The nature and pace of “economic growth”1 in large parts of Asia and, especially, India are unprecedented. Such single minded growth often negatively affects the ecologies of landscapes, livelihoods, and lifestyles2 . Urgency and anxiety seem to be in the air as this dynamic process unfolds. Landscape architects, in conjunction with decision-makers and other professionals, will need to meet the trials and prospects of the 21st century and help shape a more holistic and hopeful future by design. Educating and engaging the current and future generations of students and practitioners of landscape architecture is thus a big challenge and opportunity. The purpose of this initial note3 is to instigate a serious and sustained deliberation that would lead to some consensual direction and appropriate action for learning and teaching landscape architecture at different levels.
To begin with, we need to reflect upon the purposes, contents, and structures of what shall we learn or teach. This, in turn, demands us to think about what kind of end result we want through learning and teaching. Also, it requires us to determine which kinds of attitudes and approaches will help us achieve the desired end result. Therefore, it is necessary to consider whether training or education is the way forward and what types of judicious combination of these will be prudent and necessary in India and other Asian countries.
What are education and training and what are their purposes?
Etymologically, from its Latin root, “e-ducere”, the word “education” means: “leading out or drawing out the latent powers of an individual.” 4 Dictionaries tell us that, as a verb, it is teaching a particular skill, type of behavior or performance through practice and instruction over a period of time. In the early verb sense it means to cause (say, a plant) to grow in a desired, predetermined shape.
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