“Self-Reg Global envisions an international movement equipped with the science of Self-Reg and united by the commitment to potentiating the potential of every child, every human being. Self-Reg Global aims to collaborate with international partners to spark, inspire and resource deep learning and practical application of the science, ethics, and practice of Self-Reg across contexts, communities, and countries.”
The above vision may in some ways sounds a bit ‘lofty’ but it serves to remind me of a small international project that was initiated by a group of teachers in Christchurch New Zealand, who after reading the book “Neurons to Neighbourhood” realised, as educators, this was an invitation to think beyond educational theory and to explore human development and learning from an interdisciplinary perspective.
In 2006 the group decided to send, by way of a request, an invitation to several researchers from the international community for guidance and support. They only received one reply – from Dr. Stuart Shanker of York University in Toronto – inviting the educators to explore the concept of how human beings develop and learn from a scientific perspective, as an addition, to their present understanding of human development and learning from the perspective of education.
The first scientific theory he suggested, was to set the stage for these educators to transcend their personal pedagogy to incorporate the science underpinning ‘relational health’ the study of how respectful, reciprocal relationships are a critical aspect of the daily living and learning of human beings.
A basic principle of DS highlights how the ‘living world’ is too complex for any one factor to determine an outcome, so with guidance from Dr. Shanker the educators explored the concept of ‘interconnectedness’ with people, nature and their daily surroundings. This view of the ‘living world’ explained how multiple factors influence each other in mutual simultaneous ways and that our basic western educational perception of individuals ‘as separate entities’ needs to be replaced with a focus on relationships.
This holistic vision of human development highlights how an event within daily living and learning has a purpose and a contribution to make towards the positive or negative development of individuals. Holistic development implies that all humans have the same basic need for physical and psychological safety.
The penetrating influence of this new learning of how to foster the development and maintenance of a healthy and more desirable network of relationships – supported the educators in both their professional and personal interactions – by developing personal values for reflective decision making it became an avenue that could lead to positive social change, so this became a daily aspiration for the educators.
The realisation by educators that we are all part of the ‘Spirit of Oneness of Everything that Exists’ connected the educators with a word Maori people use; AROHA. New Zealand educators are very fortunate to be influenced by Maori pedagogy. AROHA is what grounds and connects us all – it is not something you receive only when you are worthy or behaving appropriately, but the expectation is that the individual, as they engage with other people and nature, will become aware of and accountable for their daily behaviour and actions. Where there is AROHA individual differences and cultural diversity are to be found as enriching and exciting. Each person respecting and caring for others engenders a climate of goodwill and support.
This small group of educators spent two years studying and being guided by Stuart Shanker – firmly believe that their efforts did indeed encourage and inspire Dr. Shanker to develop, what is known today as the MEHRIT Self-Reg Process, which has international members – who daily practice The Self-Reg Process. This knowledge is their guide as they prepare children, parents and other people for a changing world where – experiencing ‘acceptance, respect and opportunities for identifying their personal gifts and talents, will create safe and secure environments for all individuals.
Dr. Shanker’s reason for supporting this small group of educators in 2006 became a pathway for his personal vision to be explored.Today his personal vision has become the inspiration for this new international movement to be launched.