Integrative Practices- how we step and show up in the classroom matters!

We are living in the nature, without the nature we don’t have our culture.” Heli Aikio, teacher, Sámi musician artist

By Integrative Practices, as part of 21st-century classrooms, we mean the ability to hold, teach, be, and do with students learning. During a time of “wicked problems”, rapid paradigm shift, where the teachers via the power of example, develop beyond any horizontal skills – technical or pedagogical skills, an inner capacity to hold the class. “Integrative Practices” program is also an invitation to approach relational systemic thinking, and move away from the silos thinking and being, source of burnout and learnout in schools, developing from ego-based education to an eco-based education ( Scharmer, 2007). In a research article and dialogue Melanie Goodchild and Peter Senge, refer to this idea ” of making sense of the world“. This is the vision of 21st-century education as we develop humans (citizens) able to hold, lean in, process the divergent and disruption of information, and not freeze not “close in”, adding to critical and scientific thinking the “praxis of transforming self and society” ( Scharmer, 2022).

From IQ to EQ to WeQ

With Integrative Practices, the classroom – students and teacher(s) move individually and collectively from IQ- more knowledge information, to EQ perceiving new perspectives, tapping into diversity with compassion and empathy and dissolving conflicts making thus education and learning possible, to WeQ ( Lonka, 2019) the intelligence of the class, as we practice emerging listening and emergent dialogue. With WeQ the attention of the students and teachers moves from who “got the best idea” ( this scarcity mindset, competitive mindset, or as Lonka called it ” the time of lonely genius is over” to a wider intelligence ( Hubl and Scharmer,2022), there is a wider container to hold new possibilities, imagining different futures. As we practice Integrative Practices, we prepare the inner space for (Hubl, 2022):

  1. New learning/ new updates, as the vision of education, is to have citizens able to make democratic decisions with respect to humans and more than human rights, it is thus the “role” of education to foster in the classroom a container, such a context, where students learn about themselves, the Inner Development Goals
  2. For emergent-relational space, as we say learning happens in the relation, we cultivate trust and confidence. As mentioned in the Finnish guide for assessment, students from the earliest ages have the right to clarify their own ideas and thoughts, as ” we clarify our thoughts (learnings) in Relation with others, we need the others to mirror back ( Scharmer, 2020).
  3. Skillful and artful communication. Developing by practicing in the class engagement pedagogies, and we learn to dap in diversity and multiculturalism, not only live in multicultural context, according to most international organizations like WeForum or OECD, key to 21st-century skills but thrive. We develop capacity “to be better translators between worlds”, ” the capacity to hold as many to think and act in many different ways” we cultivate curiosity ( which is the Open Mind),t compassion, and empathy (the practice of the Open Heart) and courage to act ( the Open Will). We integrate and cultivate this Openness of the Mind, Heart, and Will ( Scharmer, Theory U, MIT). Here is one of the definitions that I love to work with, what it means to practice: being better translators between worlds” which speaks to the multiliteracy and multiculturalism skills, “an invitation to inhabit a sacred space between different ways of knowing” ( Melanie Goodchild, amazing article here)

source Inner Development Goals, transformational skills for Sustainable Development

Multiculturality & Multiliteracy

To follow on the vision of making democratic decision with respect to humans and more than human rights, which translated in 21st century skills based educations, to mention one for now ” that of taking care of one self and the other”, starts with knowing oneself. The teachers by allowing self actualisation and practicing self actualisation as human being inspires confidence ( con-fideo, learning from the heart) to students, they too couragesly can do that and then we develop and use tools in the classroom. This is multiculturality in practice, this is being a global citizen, and we practice Paulo Freire words “The more rooted I am in my location, the more I extend myself to other places so as to become a citizen of the world “ (Pedagogy of the Heart). How do I start preparing myself to open and be curios obout others’ ideas, cultures, way of seeing and understanding the world? I start with oneself, the cutlure, the understory of who I am as a student, as a human, the culture and place I come from. Multiliteracy, is “making sense of the world” in practice, in many different ways, is the process of integrating self and societal transformation.

And we could have not had a more wonderful opportunity to experience Integrative Practice- Leadership in the classroom, meeting and experiencing for some moments Sami language, history, art and music. My guest for this article is Heli Aikio, Sami Inari musician, teacher and also educational books in Sami language creator. There is so much I humbly have to learn and discover about Sami education, language, art, science. Making space in our classroom for more indiginous science and wisdom is essential for teaching with sustainability.

Without Earth there is no life. As we see the world today…we hope we have future, it is not only the future of Sami, or indigineous but all of us” Heli Aikio

Join us in this interview with Heli Aikio, local musician Inari Sami artist, teacher, and school books creator


  1. Listening to the beautiful Livđe, Inari Sami traditional music, and indigenous art with Heli Aikio
  2. A short introduction on the Sami indigenous population and also research
  3. Relational System Thinking, Melanie Goodchild,
  4. Thomas Hubl, “Healing Collective Trauma”, 2020
  5. Integrative psychotherapy in theory and practice, Peter Hawkins and Judy Ryde, 2020 chapters dedicated to teachers
  6. Teaching to Transgress, bell hooks
  7. On Sami traditional poetry art

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