faqs.gifSpirit of Holistic Education site – now called One Garden

In continuous development

SunWALK – we all walk the path of our lives in the light of the ‘sun’ of our values and worldview.  The WALK part of the model = Wise and (& Willing) Loving & Knowing

SunWALK is model of Holistic Education – and now includes the spiritual dimensions of education and inter-spirituality.

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions

presented as an extended question and answer interview.

Dr Roger Prentice

EMAIL: onesummit AT gmail dot com


Some Key Inspirations – for RP

“Concepts are delicious snacks with which we try to alleviate our amazement.”

A. J. Heschel, Man Is Not Alone p.7

“The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of mystery.” Anon

“Education is what is left after you’ve forgotten everything you’ve learned.” B.F. Skinner

“A teacher should teach what is new by resurrecting what is old.” Confucius

“We should never be ashamed to approve truth or acquire it, no matter what its source might be, even if it might have come from foreign peoples and alien nations far removed from us. To him who seeks the truth, no other object is higher in value”.

Rasa’il-Kindi (810-873) Arab philosopher & physician.


The diagram-logo-mandala of the SunWALK model of holistic education


The 3 primary ‘colours’ of the human spirit represented

as Arts & Creativity – yellow; Science & Criticality – blue; Humanities & Caring – red.


NB Introduction – the key to this booklet

Everyone has a model of education in them. If you answer the questions in this booklet for yourself you will go a long way to articulating your own model – to compare & contrast with my answers.

The FAQs are questions that I have been asked in classes or conversations – or questions that help articulate what is meant within the SunWALK model of education. The booklet is occasionally revised with new questions added.

I have given my answers but for many readers the questions will prove at least as useful as what I have to say. When you have your own answers to all of the questions asked you will be well on the way to articulating your own model of education.

It is possible that those marked * might give the deepest insight into the model. Eventually all key terms will be linked to a) a supporting article or academic paper, and b) a ‘primary author’ i.e. a practitioner or writer who contributed in a major way to a particular aspect of our understanding.

I have attempted to present the answer here in reasonably everyday language to make the ideas as accessible as possible. Many of the issues are dealt with in greater depth in other content in the site http://www.spiritofholisticeducation.org.uk

Please send additional questions or alternative answers to rogerprenticeATbigfoot.com replace AT with @


Why create a new model of education?

What goes on currently in schools doesn’t seem to me to be preparing children for the future they are likely to face – or the world’s needs as they will then be. Nor does it incorporate past wisdom – both educational wisdom and wisdom of a more general nature. Dissatisfaction is widespread. Learning should be a joy, a life-long commitment to one’s own development and to the development of others – as natural as sitting down to a good meal with friends and family.


So what for you are the weaknesses of the present system?

There are so many. Developing countries of course struggle with providing basics. I will mention just some of those that particularly concern me from a UK/Western holistic perspective:-

Homes, communities and the school are, too often, not enabled to work effectively as a team in support of children. The youth service continues to be massively under-resourced. Schools are not used effectively as local centres of learning for the whole community. The experience of education is fragmentary not holistic, and seems arbitrary and removed from real concerns of the learners. Education is excessively material in its outlook. Education still seems to operate on a mechanistic world-view. It seems to be focused not on the world of tomorrow but on current, or even past, perceptions. So often what I see in school is criminally shallow and superficial (e.g. some children seem to suffer the crassness of endless worksheets).

Children are excessively loaded with spurious tasks at the same time as being under-challenged in all the ways that matter (including the ways that matter to them). Morality is a bolt-on extra as opposed to being integral to everything. More and more in the UK education is excessively centralised and dictatorial. Teachers, for spurious reasons of politicians, are kept in a continuous state of turmoil through constant change for dubious reasons. Far from developing teaching as a profession there has been a continuous de-professionalization of teachers. These are just some of the concerns that need to be transformed to create education that can effectively develop the kind of young people the world will need in decades to come.


What’s the model for?

To help people realize their own model of education, & understand other peoples models

To provide teachers with a tool with which to plan, manage & evaluate their teaching – holistically – and simply.

To provide a framework for bringing theory and practice together –

To enable teachers to practice theory and theorise their practice.

To provide a framework for integrating various forms of research.

To provide a means for bringing together modern science and ancient wisdom.

To create a protest against cynicism and what Ken Wilber calls ‘flatland’ …………..

To provide a model centred on the Human Spirit and the Spirit of Being Human.


What is your SunWALK model of education based on?

It starts with the view that children are whole human beings – not incomplete adults. It is a human-centred model in which children are taught within a unified whole of stories – their personal stories and the story of their school, community, nation and humanity as a whole – along with the story of science, mathematics, literature and so on.

More fundamentally it starts with a process view of the world. Our world is a complex set of interlocking energy systems – from the weather and water cycle to our economic and energy systems. But each human being is also a complex of systems – physical, psychological and spiritual. Each child, and teacher, is an energy system within a whole set of energy systems even in the class and the school. In the West the best term for the energy that flows through each child, and teacher, is the life-force. They are quite simply alive, alive with the human spirit that flows through them. At its most basic education is about the ‘task challenges’ and interventions teachers make to this flow of life-force or human spirit.

When children move from their first teachers – parents, siblings, friends, community, TV etc – they arrive in school as human beings with a set of capabilities more or less than the average for their age. But ‘the average’ represents the greatest development in learning they will ever master – including walking and talking, caring and creating and being critical. By then the life-force as a flow of ‘raw, undifferentiated energy’ has already been socialized into a unique, complex and whole human being. Of course teachers will, inevitably, often wish that families had done a better job in socializing their progeny!


What is the focus?

The focus is on how the teacher uses her/his consciousness and capabilities to nurture the consciousness and capabilities of the pupils. The radical shift is from knowledge as ‘stuff out there’ to interiority, to cultivation of the human spirit as it flows within each individual – and between individuals.

The SunWALK model for much of the time has a ‘teacher’s-eye’ view. The model is a dialogic management system – for the teacher to manage the deployment of her/his spirit in dialogue with pupils – so as to develop capabilities from within the Caring, Creative and Critical triad. It is a model centred on The Human Spirit and the Spirit of Being Human.


Are these three – Caring, Creative and Critical – ways of organizing knowledge or kinds of thinking?

In SunWALK at the most fundamental level it is neither of these. The model shifts the focus from knowledge as ‘stuff out there’, to knowing as a state of being of the learner. It also shifts the focus to the flow of the human spirit through and between the learner and the teacher – the parents and siblings being the first teachers. The Caring, Creative and Critical gradually emerge from the flow of the human spirit – through socialization – rather like the primary colours (and the others) emerging from white light via a prism.


So is caring the same as the affective dimension in psychology?

Caring is that dimension of being human that focuses on other-centredness. It is internalized through the love we receive. When we don’t receive such love – as described in the classic – Child Care and the Growth of Love by John Bowlby – we start to develop characteristics that make loving difficult. The roots of caring lie in the bonding and interchanges between the mother and father and their child.

Caring in the SunWALK sense moves from the perception of others needs, through empathy and compassion, into actions of caring. Caring is the moral voice, and the moral voice in the act of caring for another’s needs. Affect is not confined to ‘being in the Caring mode’ but it is likely to be fairly intense when caring – unless moderated by (some essential) professional ‘distancing’.


Is Creativity in SunWALK just the creation of novelty?

Although creativity does have a wider application than simply expression via the arts it helps keep things clearer if we confine it to expression of the subjective via an art medium.


And is criticality concerned with the opposite – the objective?

Yes the attempt to distance the observer from that which is observed has value in helping us to experience reality in the scientific mode. Subjective expression is real, its just a mode that speaks in a different way. Subjective reality can help us just as much. The subjective tells us about life from the viewpoint of individual experience. Objective truth helps us stay in touch with reality via measurement, generalization, repeatability and so on.


So Caring, Creativity and Criticality are entirely separate inner dimensions?

Socialization – which is different commands or challenges or repeated patterns from our environment – cause the three to become specialized ways of engaging with reality. However the three at root are one – the human spirit, the life-force as heart-mind.

The singleness of our ‘interior world’ is a vitally important idea in SunWALK. Much is written about the separation of mind from body in post-Enlightenment thinking. However I think the head-heart separation is of far greater consequence. There are no separate organs for head and heart in our interior as experience there is simply ideas that have affective charges and feelings that transmute into ideas. I came to this conclusion before I was told of the following;

‘We use ‘heart-mind’ to translate xin. This is because the philosophical psychology of ancient China did not use a cognitive/affective contrast in their talk of well-honed human performance…’ (page 97)
Hansen, C. (1989) Language in the Heart-Mind, in R.E. Allison (ed.) Understanding the Chinese Mind, Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, pp. 75-123.

‘The common translation of xin as heart-mind reflects the blending of belief and desire (thought and feeling, ideas and emotions) into a single complex dispositional potential.’ (page 20)
Hansen, C. (1992) A Daoist Theory of Chinese Thought, a philosophical interpretation, Oxford: Oxford University Press.


* It sounds as though the Caring, Creative and Critical are different ‘voices’ in which the learner speaks?

Precisely. Ken Wilber talks about these three voices as the I WE and It voices – everything we communicate is in one of those three.

A child’s drawing or the dance s/he does is in the subjective I voice of Creativity. When s/he learns to care for others through a toy bunny, or through stories, the communication are in the WE voice of Caring – “Ahhh, poor bunny we’ll put a bandage on and make it better.” In analysing and making distinctions, “I like the green one. The horse is bigger. One, two, three, four, five, six.” This is talk in the objective IT voice of Criticality – which in the adult world creates and draws upon what we call the Sciences – and which regrettably the MWM has, fundamentalist-like, asserted is the only valid and valuable way of knowing and of engaging with reality. SunWALK wants to see the other two voices established, or re-established, as balanced and complementary modes.

In childhood these three voices are often used in a single narrative as a child ‘narratises’ with toys by externalizing her/his inner narrative “Here come the aliens, but they are lost and one of them is hurt. Superman/woman flies to help them but there’s another problem……” Story is what grabs people because we story our lives from a very early age. We internalise stories and we externalise our own story, or stories. (And some would say we live out the story or script that we believe applies to us.) Story is what enables us to make a whole of all the things that happen. SunWALK suggests that there are powerful positive reasons for storying education, for making it a story of stories.­­


* Are the 3Cs hardwired or a matter of socialization?

All three voices, I, WE and IT voices are developed via socialization. However, there seems to be value in recognizing that the brain does function in particular ways – the left hemisphere is particularly active during certain activities and the right during other activities. The most amazing demonstration of this was a UK TV programme (Horizon?) in which a pianist was put into a scanner with a keyboard across his chest. When he played scales all the activity was left-brain.

Simply one to one correspondences are probably foolish given that brain research is still in its early stages of development. However it seems to me that the left hemisphere dominates in the case of the IT voice, the right-brain in the case of the I voice, and the caring voice uses both whilst it is ‘heart-driven’ through the identification that comes through compassion and empathy.


There’s another ‘C’ contemplation – how does that fit in to SunWALK – is it connected to just one of the three inner dimensions – caring for example?

Contemplation really refers to a state of mind that applies to the heart-mind as a whole and is therefore at the root of all three of the inner dimensions.


What does holistic mean – isn’t it another bland new age term?

Holism is a relatively new term – coined in a book in 1926 by General Smuts. It refers to ‘factoring in’ a sense of the whole and to ensuring a balanced support of all aspects of the individual’s life.


What do you mean by a ‘human-centred model’?

The SunWALK model is based on a view of what it is to be human. That view states that our humanness lies not just in what we share with animals but in those attributes that we have that animals don’t have, or that we have to a far greater extent. These qualities are frequently called virtues or higher-order values.


What is the SunWALK model of what it is to be human?

Our definition of being human is as follows; We are (positively and fully) human in our caring, creativity and criticality – which we develop and express, in community.

As with the ancient Greeks the SunWALK model ( summaries are here ) places three cardinal virtues at the centre, Truth, Beauty and Goodness – with Justice set above all three.


But you seem to be suggesting that it is particularly useful to see the 3Cs as a primary framework of mind with which to teach – is this the case?

Precisely! The three Cs are seen as the primary modes through which we engage with reality: a) morally-caringly b)creatively-subjectively and c)scientifically-objectively.


Where does justice come in?

Justice conditions all three – as an attempt by the individual to be fair in all things it assists our attempts to see reality clearly. It is a prime example of how a virtue enables knowing – a scientist who ‘cooks the books’ hides or prevents truth.


So SunWALK is just another ‘virtues programme’?

No virtues in some programmes can be seen as commodities – ‘stuff’ that is ‘out there’. The whole point of SunWALK is that it is about the dynamics of interiority , about how the teacher – and progressively the learner herself – creates learning challenges that involve the individual deeply from the inside, with the life that flows through her/him. Real involvement engenders strength of will and sense of satisfaction.


Sounds a bit like Tai Chi – is it?

Tai Chi is a perfect metaphor for how I see the flow of energy through each child and teacher. We are dealing with energy/the life-force/the human spirit – with engendering it, with strengthening it, with balancing it, with gently disciplining it, with leaving it be when no good can come of another intervention. Tai Chi along with circus skills are seen as ideal forms of exercise along with dance and drama (not excluding sports but with cooperative activity balancing competitive activity).


Is ‘interiority’ the same as consciousness in SunWALK?

I guess it is a metaphor for the ‘space’ in which we are conscious of events and experiences. Such events and experiences include the immediate and also experience that we are able to recall at will. There is also of course deep stirrings that only come into consciousness- clothes in symbols and dreams or as the seed-corn of creativity. De-generacy is described as the need for great and greater stimulus to create a given response. Movement toward the opposite – ‘generacy’ – is indicated in these well-known lines:

To See a World in a Grain of Sand

And Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the Palm of your Hand

And Eternity in an Hour.

Wm. Blake – from The Auguries of Innocence, lines 1-4.


If it’s human-centred model what is the teacher supposed to be doing?

Unlike the UK system – in which primary school teachers have had 200+ attainment targets – the teacher is tasked with just three concerns. This is seen as nurturing capabilities that flow from, or combine, Caring, Creativity and Criticality – developed in community;

SunWALK: is a model of what it is to be (positively and fully) human

We are (positively and fully) human in our caring, creativity and criticality – which we develop and express, in community.


Does SunWALK subscribe to a particular philosophy or religion?

SunWALK is designed to enable a very wide range of belief systems to come together. For SunWALK it is what you do that matters not what label you have. If you behave with Justice, Truth, Beauty & Goodness you are on the Way. One of the greatest evils in our world is the suffering and killing done to people simply because they hold a different set of beliefs. Whether you are a humanist, Marxist, an ‘eclecticist’ or a person of religion if you walk with Justice, Truth, Beauty & Goodness you are ‘on the Way’ so far as SunWALK is concerned. Beliefs are only a way of reading the world – it is our actions that count.

SunWALK presupposes drawing on all of the latest relevant research but it also seeks to draw in the wisdom of the past.


Why do you write SunWALK in that funny way?

To emphasize the two components – ‘Sun’ and ‘WALK’.


What’s the ‘Sun’ then?

It is a symbol for the source or sources of inspiration in a person’s life – which they have internalized. Conscience, at basic levels, is the internalized voice of parents, culture and teachers. Inspiration gives us energy or will to achieve things – through right action.

We get inspiration from friends and family members as well as from Heroines and Heroes. The important point is that inspiration is supposed to lead to action, right action.


And the WALK bit?

The WALK part of the model addresses two concerns. First the general goal – which is a journeying rather than a destination – toward the perfect functioning of that individual – against whichever set of high-order criteria is agreed on. Such criteria are seen as centred around virtues – justice, truth, beauty, goodness and all other such virtues – but there is also the idea of effortless development toward perfection. Most of us are acutely aware of the gap between what we are, and do cf. perfection – Heschel says that it is in this ‘gap’ that our humanity lies (SEE his book Who is Man). But still the idea of moving toward our perfection is vital, and vital as a goal within education (perfection is relative, not absolute).


Sounds pretty un-scientific to me – is it?

The model sees science and scientific method as vital, but rejects the ‘fundamentalist” assertion that science is the only way to know and to relate to reality. Science and reason and philosophy are the defining characteristics of what we mean by ‘Criticality’, but there are other ways of knowing in Creativity and Caring – and Community – because positive experience in them open us up our, i.e. widen and deepen our consciousness. The three ways of knowing that are characteristic of the three discourses in Caring, Creativity and Criticality support each other, stimulate each other.


Have you created a curriculum?

Yes – as a curriculum framework. The heart of the SunWALK model of moral education is virtually identical to SunWALK as a general model of education. Core detailed curricula will be developed.


You don’t seem to say much about ecological matters – are they not important to you?

Everything is based on a world-view that includes ecological sustainability and fair trade. Ideally children with their parents, plus professionals, would build, cultivate and care for their own school. There is relatively little about the ecological because firstly others are doing it so much better. Secondly there is my focus is on putting ‘being positively and fully human’ at the centre of education, and then raising incrementally what is meant by ‘being positively and fully human’. I see this raising of consciousness about what it is to be fully and positively human as a necessary pre-cursor to major shifts in ecological practice, care of animals, peace-building etc.


What sub-models are there within SunWALK?

In addition to a model of ‘what it is to be human’, and sunwalk as a ‘model of moral education’, SunWALK includes the following sub-models:

a model of aesthetic theory, creativity, a model of caring, a model of criticality, community, holism, holistic education, learning, teaching, meaning-making, spiritualizing pedagogy, storied development, constructionism, de-constructionism, modernism, post-modernism, motivation, affect, knowing & knowledge-creating, wisdom within a holistic model of education, inspiration within a holistic model of education, higher-order values, world-views and belief systems.

There may be more!


What does your model say – in a nutshell?

We need a paradigm shift from largely ignoring the person and character of the individual, with focus on dealing with knowledge as ‘stuff out there’, to concern for development in which all ‘technical learning’ is carried out in the context of being and becoming fully and positively human.

We are wasting the potential of so many of our children. So much of what our children are given treats them as dumb and fails to nurture the wisdom and skills with which life has already endowed them. To create a future worth living in we need our children to have education that maximises their capabilities to contribute effectively to society – as well as earning their living and gaining personal meaning.

To this end we see it as vital to place all ‘technical’ learning within a humanizing framework.. By ‘technical’ I mean everything from arithmetic and basic literacy through to advanced engineering and pure science. The humanizing framework is seen as the development of capabilities within a framework of ‘Caring, Creating and Criticality – in Community’.

Caring, Creativity and Criticality correspond to the Humanities, Arts and Sciences – and to the ways of knowing, types of discourses and voices that correspond – the ‘I’. ‘WE’ and ‘IT’ voices.

Balancing and interweaving the Caring, Creativity and Criticality, (I, WE and IT voices) enables all lesson to have moral and inspiring dimensions.

This quotation – “The job of the natural scientist is to make the discoveries; that of the technologist to develop applications; and that of the humanist is to suggest whether, how, and under what conditions the work of the other two ought to be applied.” (Werner Heim, Biologist.) – is fine but SunWALK looks to all teachers to have a reasonable command of moral and creative discourses as well as the discourses of science. We mustn’t educate people into believing that moral and humanistic concerns can be left to some other group.

As a single, albeit complex, sentence the SunWALK model of spiritualizing (or humanizing) pedagogy sees human education as:

nurturing capabilities through the storied development of meaning, which is constructed, and de-constructed, physically mentally and spiritually, through Wise & Willing Action, via Loving and Knowing – developed in Community, through the ‘Dialectical Spiritualization’ of Caring, Creativity & Criticality discourses, all undertaken in the light of the ‘Sun’ of chosen higher-order values and beliefs, using best available, appropriate content.


Second Interview – some more questions

Would SunWALK work in poor, developing countries?

Wherever people care for each other, make critical judgements and create art and take inspiration from some spiritual source or sources – and do so in communities as well as individually – the SunWALK model ought to have value.


How and it what ways does SunWALK ensure rigour?

The intensity of engagement via the three modes of Caring, Creativity and Criticality when managed by a skilled teacher produce a very high degree of intellectual rigour – skills develop as a consequence of that intensity.


Does the concept of flow have other meanings and resonances in SunWALK?

Yes. Included are the notion of time and time passing of the universe as a whole as being an enormous set of what Wilber calls ‘holons’ – all set within a nest of other holons and each a process, a flow. When we try to support a child in her or his learning we try to make the minimum necessary interventions, of just the right kind, in order to maximise development.


Why is there a photograph of an old bridge on your website?

I took this in Dumfries in Scotland on a misty day. For me it has resonances of connection and connectedness, of people connecting with each other, of passing from one paradigm to another and so on.


What is the spirit of CARING in SunWALK as a holistic model of education?

The spirit of caring is to be obliterated in automatic response to another’s need. See also the work of Nel Noddings and those who have agreed and disagreed with her.


And what is the spirit of CREATIVITY in SunWALK as a holistic model of education?

The spirit of creativity is the individual soul singing its song – singing here meaning expression via any medium.


Does ‘dialogue’ have particular meanings in SunWALK?

It is the engagement of two, or more, souls each with the other in pursuit of insights concerning truth, beauty, goodness or justice. It is a dance of the human spirit – a gavotte perhaps! At the individual level it is the question and answer of the spirit in meditation that eventually gives way to egoless oneness.


What does SunWALK say about singleness and the BALANCING of DUALITIES?

We experience oneness when we lose (our sense of) self. Beyond dualities is singleness. However I have concern that the pursuit of such singleness can be selfish. We need experiences of both singleness and of oneness. From the oscillation between these two we gain insights. In the MWM mythos, heart-knowing, has fallen out of use. The re-balancing that education needs concerns issues like re-storing mythos to a healthy balance with logos, heart-knowing the head-knowing.


In particular why do you pay so much attention to mythos and logos?

In the loss of mythos or heart-knowing is loss of, at least, half of our humanity.


You seem to imply that ‘inspiration’ is a synonym for spiritual – can it be a satisfactory synonym?

Yes, because belief systems clashing with each other are the cause, or the cover for the cause, of most human suffering. If your beliefs lead you to walk in truth, beauty, goodness and justice how can I be other than happy. If they cause the opposite how can it be other than a bad thing?


The Spiritual as ‘Sources of Inspiration’ in Being and Becoming Human – what does that mean?

Our psycho-spiritual self needs food just as much as our body needs food. Such food comes from a heightened sense of being, from relationships, from achievements and from culture. But such nourishment needs to go further than self-satisfaction, it needs to enable us to better serve others. Of course if you prefer to stay miserable stay selfish! As more than one great soul has said, give peace a chance – if it doesn’t work you can always go back to war!


*Content doesn’t seem very important in the SunWALK model?

The highest possible quality of content is vital – but content is the fuel of education not the fire. The fire is the engagement of dialogue and the expression of the human spirit. Too much content or lifeless, soggy content kills the spirit.


How does the process of identification figure in your model – is it primarily as influencing through the teaching being a model?

Identification takes place through imaginative engagement. The quality of our heroes and heroines determine the quality of our experience. Children need protecting from those whose purpose is to keep their souls shallow whilst giving money to the manipulators. These people dominate in Western society and they are as dangerous as other predators on children.


What part do Empathy, Compassion, play in your ‘education of the Human Spirit’?

It is through empathy and compassion – perhaps taught through care for toys or pets – that we can identify for others and want to be of service to them. Such fellow-feeling is the only reality that can create a meta-set of ‘universalizing values’ to transcend the disease of exclusivity that comes with so many belief systems. We must each children to see in others themselves – teach them to look in the eyes of the person opposite – what do you see – eventually they realize they can see themselves.


In what sense are Texts and Contexts the core dynamic in (Holistic) Education?

Texts – video, dance, images, film as well as writing – are what we study. Contexts are the yang to the yin of the text. It is nonsense to say as Derrida apparently did that there are only texts. Jacques Derrida: Il n’ya pas de hors-text. [There is nothing outside the text]. RP Yes there is – there are the contexts we choose and the contexts that are imposed.


Is SunWALK essentially a meaning-making view of education?

Yes, paying attention to the quality of the meaning-making that children are helped to make, and the quality of the meaning-making that they are asked to de-construct is right at the heart of the model.


What part does Metaphor play in the model?

Metaphor is the language of the spirit. Literalistic language is the language of narrow objectivity – as well as the language of fundamentalism.


How is Truth viewed if you have three ways of engaging with reality?

Objectively, subjectively and morally-culturally. In my thesis I referred to these three as ‘the objective-reasoning-scientific’, ‘the subjective-creative-mystical’ and ‘the social-others-centred’ ways of knowing, seeking truth and engaging with reality.


You seem to place much more emphasis on knowing compared to Knowledge – why?

Knowing is ontological and relational and active. Knowledge as it is used in the old paradigm is stuff-out-there, isolated and inert.


Why do you factor in some sense of the unknown and unknowable as well as the known and knowable in your model?

It helps us in trying to develop humility!


What does your term ‘Spiritualizing Pedagogy’ mean?

It means that the purpose of the model is seen as the nurturing and develo0pment of the human spirit, particular the 3Cs in community, through the deployment of the teacher’s human spirit. This is very different to memorising information or even skills – both of these are vital but are secondary to the development of 3Cs higher-order being and doing.


It seems that you are saying that character education is more important than intellectual prowess – is that the case?

Yes. Character education is primarily an American term and they have done a lot of good work, but some of it seems superficial. However, whenever educational work seems superficial – in the UK or USA or elsewhere – it is because the process method and content are underpinned by an inadequate sense of what it is to be fully and positively human. Deepening understanding of what it is to be human enables the process and experience to go deep – just compare a PFC (Philosophy for Children) lesson with a photo-copies worksheet lesson.

Treating children with a bad content, a bad environment, shallow processes etc is like keeping animals in a cage and feeing them on nothing but popcorn. We know now that animals thrive on having space, a stimulating environment, challenges in order to get their food and so on. Children are not less important than chimps or tigers!


What part does wisdom play in the SunWALK model?

We need to give ample space for children to express their own wisdom, here the wisdom of others (including their class-mates) and test both in the furnace of dialogues. Do we think by excluding wisdom we will produce wise citizens?


You speak of children’s wisdom – are you saying that it is archetypal?

I’m not sure – I sense that there is such a thing but it may or may not be quite as say Jung presents it. Perhaps it is the product of the sub-conscious mind that works on all of the inputs and throws up symbols or the seeds for creativity. Perhaps it is more as Polanyi presents it – tacit knowing.

Whichever of these – or perhaps all combined children must in order to become strong and whole and wise must have plenty of opportunities to express the wisdom they have and to hear the wisdom of others. This is a very powerful moral force – perhaps the most powerful – as is philosophical inquiry as part of what I call Holistic Inquiry.


What is learning as a sub-model in SunWALK?

Development of the human spirit.


What is teaching as a sub-model in Sun-WALK?

Nurturing learning in the 4Cs, using the 4Cs.


How do you see higher-order values functioning within your model?

A heart that is resonating well enables the reason to develop.


Are virtues the same as values?

Virtues I tend to think of as higher-order values. Values extend to include preference – I prefer vanilla ice cream, but that’s not a virtue.


Why are awe and wonder important in the SunWALK model?

They are what we experience when we stop experiencing self.


In what sense does the curriculum have to be dynamic for the development of capabilities?

Inert education produces inert and alienated people.


What does the term STAKEHOLDER RELATIONSHIPS mean in the governance of a school community?

Educational stakeholders are all those upon whose well-being the life and success of the school depends. Ideally a school should belong to the whole community within its catchment area. Governance of course includes authority and empowerment of stakeholders – through the various forms of representation and consultation – which should seek to balance the interests of all stakeholders.


To whom can we look for deeper insights into Holistic Education?

I would start with Parker Palmer, Abraham J. Heschel & Ken Wilber.


How does will fit into the model?

When we have the right ‘pull’ (attraction) and the right ‘push’ (integration) we have plenty of will. Disorders can be eliminated by the ordering of shifting to a new frame (as NLP friends would say). The best example I ever saw was a woman crippled with self-doubt and agoraphobia who became an activist and public speaker – to support the men-folk during the miner’s strike. A new cause re-ordered her!


Surely motivation is more than the individual’s will power?

A stimulating environment, challenging tasks and a loving, disciplined teacher enables the development of will-power.


Does SunWALK constitute a model of leadership?

Yes those who lead need to lead in the 4Cs, using the 4Cs – for a properly integrated development of the 4Cs.


Within SunWALK how is the physical dimension of education integrated?

Although I see no reason to eliminate competitive activities to such as sport I do see a very strong case for physical expression other than the competitive. In particular dance, tai chi, drama and circus skills are vital forms of developing physical confidence and capabilities.


So the New Circus is a metaphor for teamwork & embodiment in SunWALK – or is it more than that?

Much more – please see my paper on The New Circus and Holistic Education on the website here.


Does the idea of ‘storying’ education include such subjects as Maths and Science?

Yes although these subjects can seem a long way from the narrative they can be presented as taking place within narratives of challenges to solve problems.


In using your model are you making a general case for models and model-making?

Yes – particularly as an aid to self-understanding. In the case of MA students a lot of the reflection is a matter of making explicit the knowing that they have developed in the ‘blood and bones’ but which needs to be made explicit – and tested against ‘public theory’.


Would it be true to say that the model is a complex of methods?

Yes – the methods relate to the 4Vs as different ways of investigating reality.


What’s reality?

Subjective truth, objective truth, moral-cultural truth – combined in a virtues perspective (not excluding humility!).


Action, Activism and Behaviours – The WALK in SunWALK

The Willing and Wise in WALK relate to Action – it is better that action be willing than forced, and it is better that action be informed by Wisdom. It also refers to the preference for ‘action’ in the form of experiential learning and in the snese of ‘service learning’.


Beliefs and World-views

Everyone has a set of beliefs as part of an overall world-view. These values and world-view may or may not be the same as the faith group and/or communities to which the individual belongs.


Is SunWALK Postmodern?

Yes, in the way that Ken Wilber applauds post-modernism:

1 Reality is not always a pre-given, but in some significant ways is a construction, an interpretation

2 Meaning is context-dependent and contexts are boundless

3 Cognition must therefore privilege no single perspective.

SEE Chap. 9 in Wilber’s The Marriage of Sense and Soul.


On the other hand your model sounds modern so why do you still show respect to age-old philosophies and religions?

One answer is that those world-views contain many valuable insights even if they are couched in terms that are strange to us today. We need to find those insights that are most valuable and re-apply them.

For example the MWM (Modern Western Mindset) – and here I’m thinking of the view that says only that which is rational and scientific can be valuable and truthful – denies mythos or heart-knowing.

There is a saying from the Middle East (?) which says that the longest journey in the world is from the human head to the human heart, and the shortest journey in the world is from the heart to the head.

Secondly, we can’t know who or what we are if we don’t know where we’ve come from. A sense of the past and what is behind – as well as a vision of the future – is essential for navigation. Perennial wisdom and philosophy is a gift from ages past and it is too slow, expensive and painful to discover everything ourselves from a zero base!


Have you created a curriculum sub-model?

The curriculum flows from the framework of the model of education and from the model of what it is to be human.

We look at each age level/maturity level to nurture standards of capabilities –without having too much of the wrong kind of assessment. In age appropriate ways children at all levels are seen as developing capabilities within the Caring, Creative and Critical framework – and to be doing so in Community. Horror of horrors subjects are demoted to being the servants of a) the human development of the individual and group and b) the needs of the community – from the class as a community through the various levels up to and including the human family.


Do you work with schools or universities?

Yes. Several times a year we teach one or more courses in universities and other institutions. Please e-mail me to discuss possibilities at rogerprenticeATbigfoot.com (please substitute @ for AT).


Do people act primarily via reason or emotion?

There is a saying from the Middle East (?) which says that the longest journey in the world is from the human head to the human heart, and the shortest journey in the world is from the heart to the head. Of course its is vital that reason prevails – but with an open and compassionate heart.


In what sense is history important?

We can’t know who or what we are if we don’t know where we’ve come from. A sense of the past and what is behind – as well as a vision of the future – is essential for navigation. But we need a history of humankind as well as a group history and a personal history.


*How do you deal with the moral in SunWALK? – You said the moral is treated as a bolt-on extra

As a curriculum framework SunWALK is virtually identical to SunWALK as a general model of education – as David Carr says it’s virtually inconceivable for education to not have moral import. And Peter Abbs would probably say that education that is amoral = training. Dogs are trained, human beings need to be educated. The point of the SunWALK emphasis on ‘humanistic contextualisation’ is that wherever training is necessary it should be taught in a context of human concern, including its moral implications.

We would see all teachers as conduction discourse that at any one time has a predominance of either Caring or Creativity or Criticality. It will also bring in some ‘necessary minimum’ of the other two forms of discourse modes – regardless of what ‘subject’ might label the activity in the old days. Because these three are all needed for moral development and because we see all teachers as needing some capability in all discourses, even if they ‘major’ in one, all teachers can ensure a necessary minimum of engagement in the other two Cs – whenever one is the primary mode. In the case of doing philosophical inquiry, as the primary process for Criticality, the teacher can a) do that caringly, b) require that the students do that caringly and c) from time to time ask for, or point out, creative possibilities. In my experience this ‘oscillation’ where the Critical feeds the creative which feeds the Critical creates a king of ‘super-learning’.

All forms of discourse are aimed at raising consciousness, but of course consciousness is sometimes raised through a gradual process and by engagement in a variety of activities as well as sudden insights or ‘satori’ or in Kensho (literally, “seeing into one’s own nature”). I am trying to say that the intuitive, the gestalt experience are not just for rarefied individual (mainly males) who meditate for ten years on a mountain. They are part of human nature and we should pay attention to them and make them part of the living discourses of education. Education is like selling in one sense. In selling they used to say that what you talk about sells. Well in education unless the teacher talks about how s/he got some insight – for example from a pupil’s contribution – the children will not start to see having insights as normal. In doing this the teacher is doing more than providing the extended language of such a richer reality of being human, s/he is also creating the social and psycho-spiritual space for the children to grow.


What is ‘super-learning’?

It is the learning that takes place when all of the forms or modes combine effortlessly – it is what I understand is meant by ‘flow’ SEE Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.


With what kind of definition of consciousness do you work?

That of which we are aware in interiority – plus that which we can recall at will – plus that which comes, in dreams or creative impulses, clothed in some symbolic of nascent form. Consciousness is a flow in which we pay attention in varying degrees of intensity to objects. The ‘objects’ can be in the wider world or content that is interior-derived. For SunWALK education from the earliest years must, in appropriate ways, serve to deepen the child’s ability to experience, including experience of the self, and to reflect on that experience and to express subjectivity of that experience as well as recount experience objectively.


What is SunWALK in its shortest form?

Teachers need to teach the 3Cs, using the 3Cs so as to develop capabilities that flow from the 3Cs – and do it all in and with a sense of community – the fourth C – using inspiration from one or more sources.


In what sense is SunWALK a research model?

Since SunWALK seeks to function as a holistic model its various sub-models should also be holistic. At its simplest and broadest research is a a matter of collecting information, processing that information and then presenting the results of the processing. All forms of research go through, as a minimum, these three stages. As a research model SunWALK is virtually identical to SunWALK as a model of holistic education in that it suggests that in any form of discourse there can be benefits from allowing a ‘necessary minimum’ of the other two forms of discourse.


Why create BBMofEd?

The Build a Better Model of Education course includes mo model’s concept-elements that others can use as the ‘building-blocks’ and methods for their own models without necessarily coming to my conclusions.


Does SunWALK contribute to peace-building and conflict resolution?

Teaching via SunWALK provides a method for conflict resolution especially via dialogue in which people learn to disagree with views as opposed to the owners of the views.


Can you please explain the value & ramifications of the SunWALK logo-diagram-mandala?

It communicates in a different way – some people are more ‘right-brain’. See also the summaries here.


Why create another model of education?

In undertaking the doctoral dissertation I wanted to record the best that I had found right back to my own teacher education. I wanted to create a vision of the kind of education that I would like my grand-children or their children to have. There are many criticisms of education ( at least in the UK and the West generally). Amongst those that concerned me are the following: fragmentation; a mechanistic world-view; materialistic. For many children contemporary education fails to provide experience that is deep and wide, as well as specialized.

But there is this issue; “Is what we are doing really working – at levels other than economic prowess? Are we producing in sufficient numbers young men and women who are fully equipped to act as agents of change – to take on such challenges as peace-building and conflict-resolution, global poverty, climate change, social justice.


What is the basis of the SunWALK model?

SunWALK is a model of education based on a model of what it is to be human. Children are whole human beings – not incomplete adults.

As such they are embodiments of the life-force – an energy system with a totality of energy systems. The teacher’s task is to support that energy (life-force/spirit or chi/ki) apply gentle discipline and helping to ensure balanced development.


How is the ‘human spirit’ or ‘life-force’ seen?

The human spirit is seen as being socialized into the three main voices in which we speak: Caring Creativity and Criticality.


What does Creativity mean in the model?

Expression of the subjective voice – ‘this is how it is for me, this is how I see and experience it’. I have had a Japanese professor object to the idea – he clearly would prefer that there be no ‘I’ voice at all. I agree that the me-me cult that is part of the rot in the West needs to be eliminated, but I believe that it would be best done via better subjectivity, coupled with better WE and IT voice development – not via attempts to eliminate the subjective voice altogether.


What does Criticality mean in the model?

Expression via the objective IT voice – its exclusivity is likely to be its downfall – it needs to flourish the WE and I voices as well.


If Caring, Creativity and Criticality are all ‘interior’ dimensions of the human spirit how is the ‘exterior’ world seen – as community?

Within the model the ‘exterior’ world is referred to as ‘Community’. Concentrically this includes the groups of the class, the family, the local community, the nation and humankind as a whole. Community is primarily, of course, sets of relationships but each group ‘swims’ in its own culture and has its own social structures.


So SunWALK is a model of moral education, within a general model of education, within a model of what it is to be human?


1 SunWALK: is a model of what it is to be (positively and fully) human

We are (positively and fully) human in our caring, creativity and criticality – which we develop and express, in community.

2 SunWALK: is a model of (holistic) education

The SunWALK model of spiritualizing (or humanizing) pedagogy sees human education as:

nurturing capabilities through the storied development of meaning, which is constructed, and de-constructed, physically mentally and spiritually, through Wise & Willing Action, via Loving and Knowing – developed in Community, through the ‘Dialectical Spiritualization’ of Caring, Creativity & Criticality discourses, all undertaken in the light of the ‘Sun’ of chosen higher-order values and beliefs, using best available, appropriate content.

3 SunWALK: is a model of (holistic) moral education which says:

The SunWALK model of spiritualizing (or humanizing) pedagogy sees moral education as:

nurturing capabilities through the storied development of meaning, which is constructed, and de-constructed, physically mentally and spiritually, through Wise & Willing

Action, via Loving and Knowing – developed in Community, through the ‘Dialectical Spiritualization’ of Caring, Creativity & Criticality discourses, all undertaken in the light of the ‘Sun’ of chosen higher-order values and beliefs, using best available, appropriate content.



NB This section consists of FAQs in relation to the SunWALK model of education – but the questions answered by you the student/teacher will help you articulate your own model of education. You can take this questioning further by going to this ‘starting your studies’ page here.


A sense of the field can be obtained from Roger Stack’s ‘Map’ of Holistic Education see also his blog


Spirit of Holistic Education site – HOME PAGE SunWALK – SiteMap

One thought on “FAQs SunWALK

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