Site Navigation

Detail Mentor Profile: DARRELL LETOURNEAU

Graduate Institute for Transformative Learning


Darrel Letourneau

University of Victoria, M.Ed. 1999.

Over 30 years as an educator from Kindergarten to Graduate School (classroom teacher, librarian, enrichment/gifted, Ministry of Education curriculum development and assessment, school administrator for both neighborhood and online schools); Founding member of the SelfDesign Learning Community and SelfDesign Graduate Institute, the Nanaimo Chapter of Computing Using Educators of BC, Technology Intensives (web-based workshops for professionals) and Digikids Summer Computer Camps; Founder of a Distributed Learning online elementary school and True North eLearning consulting practice. Currently a faculty member Academic Program Chair for the SelfDesign Graduate Institute as well as Certificate Director and board liaison (to the SelfDesign Learning Community in British Columbia) for the SelfDesign Foundation.


  • University of Alberta, Early Childhood Education Certificate. 1984.
  • University of Victoria, B.Ed. 1982.
  • University of Victoria, Early Childhood Education Certificate. 1982.
  • Red Deer College, Associate of Arts. 1980.



Main Interests/Focus Areas

SelfDesign, evolutionary parenting, educational change, eLearning.

Nanoose Bay, BC


SDGI Courses

SD 500 Principles and Praxis (3 credits) First Year Residency

Learners in this course explore the three intellectual traditions that have informed the development of SelfDesign: holistic education, developmental and humanistic psychology, and systems theory related to autopoiesis. They investigate humans’ capacities for directing their own unfoldment at every age from birth on, that is, our capacity for designing self. Then they are introduced to the SelfDesigning praxis and tools and begin to develop understanding and skills that will empower them to employ these tools.

SD 532 SelfDesigning: Creating and Realizing the Field of Infinite Possibilities

We are in nature and nature is in us. We are neurologically programmed to learn together and from each other and to exist, connect, and thrive in human communities. How can we know ourselves deeply and connect and contribute to our communities in meaningful ways? Starting with no-thing at the center of the SelfDesign Mandala, learners will explore SelfDesign’s unique ontology and epistemology and learn how to create and open the field of infinite possibilities, both within themselves and in the context of their own communities.

Building on cognitive science U Theory by Senge and Scharmer, Varela’s gestures in enhancing awareness, and Block’s structure of belonging in communities, learners will explore SelfDesign’s unique embodiment of sensing, presencing, and realizing through conversation, multimedia expression, SelfDesign models, improvisation, and art. Using powerful questions and finding their personal call-to-service in their own communities, learners will examine themselves and their communities as living systems and explore how we can re-imagine and transform fragmented communities, including virtual communities, into powerful and harmonious sources of ongoing connection.

Directed Studies

SD 505—Deb Martens—Where do I go from here? A Personal Journey of Discovering How to SelfDesign My Master’s Degree to Harmonize with the Natural Rhythm and Occurrences in My Life—Directed Study with Darrell Letourneau


Fall, 2015—A Path Less Trodden with Darrell Letourneau

Darrell will share both a personal and professional journey down a road less traveled — that of a parent and educator deeply immersed in Alternative/Integral Education for over three decades. Rather than traditional school settings, Darrell’s four children have always learned at home–as homeschoolers, unschoolers, original SelfDesign learners and pioneering online learners. As a parent, he continues to enjoy exploring a multitude of “in the moment” adventures in the constantly evolving process of natural learning he and his partner pursue together with their children, two of whom are now young adult learners.

As a young teacher working outside the mainstream, Darrell had a most enriching experience “learning about learning” during four years in an alternative school modeled on the original Summerhill school. Since then, he has continued to advance the cause of Alternative Learning as an educator and Learning Consultant from Kindergarten to College. A member of the founding group of the ground-breaking SelfDesign Learning Community in BC, Darrell will embed his presentation in the context of SelfDesign’s remarkable growth over the past 14 years as an online community, including the establishment of the SelfDesign Graduate Institute.

This webinar highlights several principles from integral education that can guide our understanding of how we can nurture our own learning and that of our communities through principles and practices that unfold our capacities as learners, community members and global citizens.



Inspiring Ouotes

  • “To be a true teacher, you must be a learner first.” –Senge
  • “Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” -Asimov
  • “The servant leader is servant first.” -Greenleaf


Publications/Presentations/Professional Projects

  • Certified Google Educator
  • Mathletics Online Learning ( Master Class for (February, 2015)
  • SelfDesign Learning Plan Handbook and podcasts; Created and developed 1600+ pages for SelfDesign Learning Community site (
  • Computer Using Educators of BC Provincial Conference Presentation and Workshops: “Merrily Down the Stream—Effective Use of Streaming Video in Online Learning Environments” and “Hoax on You—Critical Thinking and Skill Development in Online Environments in Relation to Information Literacy in the 21st Century”
  • Videocasts for SelfDesign Learning Community: “Learning Plans” and “SelfDesigning: A New Element for the World”
  • SelfDesign Learning Community Presentation and workshop “Being Human in a Virtual World”
  • Presented 250+ workshops on SelfDesign, Curriculum Differentiation, Gifted Programming, Drama, Playground Games, Math Games/Strategies, Computers, LEGO Robotics, Web-based training for educators and business professionals
  • Research Thesis: “Electronic Deluge: Computer Technology and Teacher Transformation”


First Day of School for Our Son

It’s a rite of passage in the waning days of summer. The smell of leaves in the crisp, autumn air. New clothes. New school supplies. Packing the first lunch box of the season.

Earlier this month, we took our son for his very first day of school. Janet packed his (surprisingly large) lunch and with some nervousness, we walked him up the sidewalk to the school. He was very excited!

This is a near universal experience for parents. It arouses a range of feelings: excitement, pride, trepidation, anxiety at separating as they take their first steps into the world….

One thing that may be different in our case is that our son is 17 and his first day of school was at university.

You see, our son never attended public or private school. Instead, he learned at home with us and from mentors in our community. As a mother, Janet knew that school wouldn’t be the best place for him by the time he was two years old. It’s not that he couldn’t attend public or private school, that he had such exceptional learning needs that he couldn’t be accommodated in the school system. It’s that this ‘rite of passage’ seemed unnatural to us and so we began to question it.

It was such a joy to see him learn and explore as a baby. After 5 years, it seemed unnatural to interrupt this passion and obvious success as a learner and turn him over to someone not in our family. We couldn’t bear to send this precious little guy with an insatiable appetite for learning off to an institutional setting that might break something in his spirit. Since the day we decided not to walk him into Kindergarten class, it’s been a joy watching our son SelfDesign- and compose the symphony of his life each day.

Over the years, he has had time to play and explore the world in ways he wouldn’t have the time to do otherwise. He learned to create computer games, not just play them. He has worked as an online computer consultant in a variety of capacities, from programmer to website designer to tech support. Most importantly, he had time to explore his passion- music- in a variety of ways. He has enjoyed lessons and theory from formal classical training to garage bands. He has run his own home-based music studio since he was 13 and has developed some business sense along with the social acumen to relate to his customers, who are of all ages. He has his own recording label and enjoys all the creative aspects that go along with making an album from scratch- lyrics, music, recording, editing, album design, publishing and performing. He has found a passion that will always bring him- and others- joy. And we are proud that he has learned the ideal of community service– he is now returning the gift of music by volunteering his time and energy at fundraisers and benefits. He is a success by many measures. Perhaps the greatest of these is the enthusiasm and passion with which he enjoys learning.

Initial publication, SelfDesign Global Community website, 2008 (