[permaculture] official certification

Cory Brennan cory8570 at yahoo.com
Fri Oct 22 19:24:50 EDT 2010


Every PDC I know of gives a certificate at the end of the course saying "Permaculture Design Course" and none of them say "trainee."  I was told by my teacher that I should apprentice for minimum two years to become a teacher, but not a designer. I personally felt I needed to apprentice longer than that before I took on teaching a full design course. But I did some designs well before I finished the two year apprenticeship and did pretty good. I knew when to go to people more expert than me if I had a question about something. I also had a pretty good idea of what I didn't know, and boned up and reviewed it, etc. I feel that jumping out there and starting to design increased my learning rate tremendously because I had to deal with real world situations and see what failed and what worked. 

I tell my students that they get the certificate when the course is done but that is only the beginning of their training.  I try to make clear what they still don't know at the end of the course and I try to make it real to them throughout the course that permaculture is a science that embraces many specialty sciences such as climatology, biology, etc, etc, etc. We offer apprenticeships and also encourage them to apprentice with others, to get multiple viewpoints and experiences. 

From my viewpoint, I knew so much more about conscious, sustainable design at the end of the course than the people i was designing for that I could call myself certified, compared to them. I also did the course over six months and read some of the key references during that time - in a two week course it's harder to do that. 
I appreciate the depth of experience and skill that permaculturists with decades of experience have and am well aware and respectful of the difference between them and a new graduate. 

While I understand how much a new graduate doesn't know, I also can appreciate how much they do know compared to the average person. My goal as an instructor is to make sure my students actually know what a permaculture design needs to incorporate and are willing to go to experts (native plant specialists, natural builders, more experienced permaculturists, etc) to get the info they need in order to properly do the design. In my experience, I've never seen a new graduate take on a major project on their own. They do seem to know their limitations for the most part and partner up. A lot of them don't do anything beyond their own gardens. 

While I resonate with what you're saying, Toby, and I feel I understand why you would want to make the point, I just wanted to put in a plug for letting people have the certificate as I think overall it may do more good than harm. You may have had different experiences than me and if so, I'm listening. 

Cory 


--- On Fri, 10/22/10, paul wheaton <paul at richsoil.com> wrote:

> From: paul wheaton <paul at richsoil.com>
> Subject: [permaculture] official certification
> To: "permaculture" <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Date: Friday, October 22, 2010, 3:47 PM
> The awkward part of all this is that
> there are PDCs that are billed as
> becoming a certified permaculture designer.  Like the
> one I took.
> Before attending the PDC I told people I was taking it to
> become a
> certified permaculture designer.  And afterward I told
> people that I
> was now a certified permaculture designer.
> 
> A couple of years ago I mentioned this on this list and
> heard this
> same thing:  "no - taking a PDC does not make you a
> certified
> permaculture designer."   So I double
> checked:  the ad was still up
> for the class I took and it still said I would be a
> certified
> permaculture designer.
> 
> I can see the need for more levels of certification. 
> I would really
> like to support that.   And I think that if
> you stick to saying that
> completing a PDC does not equate to a CPD then you will
> punish the
> people that are in the know and reward the people that are
> not.
> 
> So I hope I'm not pissing anybody off by saying that I'm
> going to
> assume that if somebody says "I'm a certified permaculture
> designer"
> I'm going to assume that they have completed a PDC and
> nothing formal
> beyond that.
> 
> As for the bit about two college classes vs. a
> degree:  Well, in the
> java world we have a SCJP (Sun Certified Java Programmer)
> and there
> are a bunch of one week courses (typically less than 40
> hours)
> designed to get you to pass the exam.  And this is
> considered one of
> the toughest exams.  And then they have other, more
> advanced, exams
> for stuff like "Sun Certified Java Architect" and the
> like.
> 
> To move forward, I would like to make the suggestion of
> embracing the
> flaw that has occurred and building on it with things that
> are a bit
> more clear.
> 
> On Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 12:45 PM, Toby Hemenway
> <toby at patternliteracy.com>
> wrote:
> > Beeja and everyone,
> >
> > A note of clarification: Taking a PDC does not make
> you a "certified permaculture designer." It's an
> introductory course. I urge people not to say that, as it's
> a false claim. My PDC certificate from Mollison says that I
> was now a "permaculture design trainee," and that's what the
> certificate means. It is the first step toward becoming a
> designer, which, in the system BIll set up, meant that after
> two years of additional, full-time work or its equivalent in
> design under a mentor, you could then receive a diploma in
> permaculture design, and then maybe call yourself a
> designer.
> >
> > The PDC, at 72-100 hours or so of class, is roughly
> the same amount of class time as two college courses. If you
> took chemistry 101 and 102, you would never call yourself a
> chemist, right? (Ka-BOOM!) Same goes for the PDC.
> >
> > BTW, attachments are always scrubbed from this
> list--there was no attachment. Good luck with the course, at
> any rate!
> >
> > Toby
> > http://patternliteracy.com
> >
> >
> >
> > On Oct 17, 2010, at 6:26 AM, b e e j a ... wrote:
> >
> >> Hello Fellow Earth Lovers,
> >>
> >> For those of you interested to become a certified
> Permaculture Designer, we
> >> are hosting another course this November in
> Darjeeling on 14th -28th. This
> >> is the longest running PDC course happening in
> India for the last 7 years!
> >>
> >> Come join the fun and help spread the awareness of
> sustainable lifestyle
> >> design!
> >>
> >> Attached is the flyer and registration form.
> >>
> >> Hope to see you there!
> >>
> >> Warm Regards,
> >> Ameli
> >> ...
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