ecl Catalyst, Orla Hasson, and ecl Research Director, Mia Perry attended a conference in Cork, Ireland, offering a workshop experience in holistic working. Not having worked together for some time, they used the session as a forum to bring their two practices together, in part as an experiment, but also because they felt that their respective bodies of work easily lent themselves to the objectives of the conference.

They facilitated a workshop titled: Every student’s a country: Teaching the whole child. It was attended by about 20 people (graduate students all the way through to seasoned professors) in the field of language education and the arts.

The workshop seemed to be a real success. Participants entered into the work willingly and were curious about and engaged with the systemic approach that was newly introduced to them through the facilitated exercises. Many agreed that taking the time at the beginning of the session for a short guided meditation/relaxation was a significant, unexpected and positive experience. Many language teachers also shared a great deal of interest in how the approach afforded ‘second language learners’ easy access to learning as a group. They could see that their first languages can be incorporated and honoured, and participants’ home countries, cultures, background and feelings can be brought into the learning space.