Education is a mess – is there an integrative way to teach?

I have updated an introduction to the SunWALK model of human-centred studies; 

SunWALK: Summary of the main meanings of the components represented in 
the model and its ‘logo-diagram-mandala’ – providing a teacher’s process model 

 

sunwalk-logo

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SunWALK: Summary of the main meanings of the components represented in 

the model and its ‘logo-diagram-mandala’ – providing a teacher’s process model

Give me a brief introduction:

SunWALK grew out of reflection on many years of teaching children and adults and particularly a period of five years teaching in a RC middle school – theorizing my practice via a PhD and practising my theory day-to-day.

SunWALK simply says that the quality of all of our lives will be higher if we undertake all education within the framework of deepening our humanity.  

Deepening our humanity is a matter of developing technical competencies within the chief dimensions of the human spirit; Caring (the Humanities), Creativity (the Arts) and Criticality (the Sciences & Philosophy) – all in local, national and world Communities.  These are the ‘4Cs’ of the model – 3 intra-personal, 1 inter-personal.

We and our one planet will be better of if all of the technical stuff, from learning to read to Masters degrees in engineering, take place in the context of humanization/the 4Cs.  This requires international, national, school & classroom commitment to deepening the best of being human as the context for learning the technical.

We can’t afford to have character and morality and compassion as hoped-for accidental outcomes.  Moral Education, PSME, RE etc. don’t work as bolt-on extras.  They need to be the general context in which competencies are developed.

It is a model based on the energy flow of the human spirit – that is the given. That is physical, mental and spiritual energy that flows through all living human beings.  

That energy, the human spirit, is the true ’stuff of education’.  With the best of the past teachers need to equip children to face tomorrow’s challenges which will always be a mixture of new problems combined with eternally recurrent problems.  Building all education with will be the medium with which the teacher works to nurture and challenge balanced development.

Today we have lost the balance between specialization, and whole-systems thinking and acting – SunWALK model brings into harmony the best of ‘Western’ & ‘Eastern’ world-views. 

OK – so what’s the ‘Sun’ and the ‘WALK in the model’?

The ‘Sun’ = the individual’s spiritual inspiration & values sources – accumulated and ongoing, as operating internally and as expressed in speech and behaviour. 

WALK = Willing & Wise Action through Loving & Knowing – here seen as the general goal for education, and as the interiority, character and behaviour of the student. 

The model/logo combines a range of sub-models including the following:

a) An ‘interior’ model of the human spirit – in relation to ‘the world’.

b) A model for re-positioning education within being & becoming human – in the world with others.

c) A general model of the curriculum – for primary, secondary and higher education.

d) A framework for the analysis and evaluation of teaching episodes or projects.

e) A model of education that makes non-faith-specific spiritual and moral education intrinsic to all learning.

 

THE MODEL AND THE PROCESS IN ONE (long) SENTENCE: – 

The SunWALK model of spiritualizing pedagogy sees human education as 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 [1]’of 

Caring, Creativity & Criticality processes, all undertaken in the light of the 

‘Sun’ of chosen higher-order

values and beliefs, using best available,appropriate 

content.

These underlined concerns are central components and focuses of the practice and theory in the model. 

This is an intense combination of theory and practice.  It automatically requires the teacher to practice their theory and theorise their practice – dynamically as practice-based research.  It automatically enables the classroom to be connected to the school & community as a whole and to e.g. a relevant department in a university.

It attempts to suffuse all teaching with the demands, challenges and joy of being human in the world with others.  But it seeks to bring together the Whole and the parts, the ineffable and the concepts – not just concepts because as Heschel (1971:7) says, “Concepts are delicious snacks with which we try to alleviate our amazement.”

The diagram/logo/

The outer ring of the SunWALK logo combines two dimensions:

1 ‘Community i.e. the social,interpersonal dimension of interaction with other individuals or groups.

2  ‘Cultural sources’ including such dimensions as the traditions, the political & the legal.  

The three major divisions of the arts,sciences and humanities are here thought of as the stored, yet potentially dynamic, accumulation of knowledge and beliefs and procedures – everything from galleries to written laws of physics that the individual can draw upon or be influenced by. This is the ‘stuff out there’ rather than the interiority of consciousness in which there is the perpetual flow and re-shaping, focusing de-focusing etc. of heart-mind.

In SunWALK everything within the inner circle = a representation of ‘interiority’, i.e. human consciousness – the human spirit. 

The human spirit is presented intra-personally as 3 ‘voices’ – 3 modes of being & of engaging with reality & of knowing.

The three emanate from the singleness of ‘heart-mind’, consciousness.  

They are presented (metaphorically) as the ‘primary colours’ of Creativity (the yellow of inspiration), Criticality (the blue of reason) & Caring (the red warmth of love). 

Creativity is the ‘I’ voice of subjective engagement via an artistic medium – it is concerned with subjective knowing and is particularly related to the core virtue ‘beauty’ and its products are of course ‘the Arts’. 

Criticality is the ‘IT’ voice of objective engagement which enables progress in the Sciences ( & Maths., Philosophy and ‘critical’ studies). It is concerned with objective knowing – and it is related particularly to the core virtue ‘truth’.  The products of course are the sciences and technology  – but also philosophy and critical studies.

Caring is the ‘WE’ voice which enables moral engagement – for progress in the moral domain and in service of others. It is concerned with social knowing – related particularly to the core virtue ‘goodness’ and to ‘the Humanities’. 

All three of course need to be conditioned by the pre-eminent virtue of justice.  All students need to have these ways of engaging with reality developed in a balanced way.  High technical competence combined with moral dwarfism leads to ……

The physical dimension is seen as the instrument for the flow of spirit in all of its forms – e.g. via dance, drama & PE and sports.

Each individual develops her/his I, WE and IT voices, the 3Cs, via socialization, starting in the family, the local community and then later in formal education. A sense of justice is seen as paramount intrapersonally as well as inter-personally i.e. it enables us to engage with that which is beautiful, good or true with balance, clarity & due weight.

The essential process in all 4Cs is multi-level dialogue. In the case of the individual dialogue is seen as meditation, reflection and inner-talk. In the case of groups it is dialectical process via consultation.

The ‘Celtic’ knot that surrounds the central shield indicates that the 3Cs are simply aspects of the one human spirit– the flow of ‘heart-mind’.

The white shield at the centre represents the meditative state in which there is no ‘focused’ engagement via one of the 3Cs – and in which there is relatively little of the interference or chatter that we experience in the unquiet mind. 

This can enable us to ‘go beyond ourselves’, i.e. transcend our normal knowing – any of the 3Cs (I, WE or IT modes), as gateways, can be a pathway to the transcendent and to subsequent improved insight into reality.

The black dot at the centre is the ‘well-spring’ of consciousness. For artists (and great scientists) it is the Muse. For religionists it is the voice of God within (albeit distorted by the dust of self). For non-religionists it is the inner source of spirit as energy & inspiration – the bits of realization and insight that come to us for which we don’t make an effort.

Educating the human spirit is seen as nurturing, and cultivating, the life-force which culminates in the developed human who, through higher-order consciousness, realizes abilities from within Caring, Creative or Critical engagements. 

Teaching is seen as nurturing and cultivating what is normally present, almost from birth, & certainly by the time we go to school – namely the flow of spirit expressed in nascent forms of Caring, Creativity, and Criticality – in Community with others. Holistic Learning takes place when the learner uses Creativity, Criticality and Caring – in Community – inspired by higher-order values – in dynamic combinations such as Creativity providing texts for criticality – which then, via dialogue, produce/attract the spirit for more creativity.

In SunWALK spirituality is not a dimension; it is the model as a whole. In SunWALK moral education is not a dimension – it is intrinsic to all of its praxis. 

The SunWALK logo can also be seen as a mandala, or even as a plan drawing for a fountain or an ‘arts centre of light’!  

SunWALK is a major shift to a process view of the world, of being human and of educating our young people. It rejects a worldview that is limited to the mechanistic, the ‘human-as-computer, the fragmentary and the materialistic; seeking instead modelling that is based on flow/process, holism and the spiritual.   

SunWALK is designed to enable teachers and students to become agents of change to transform a world that is still operated as atomistic, mechanistic and materialistic into one that is holistic, dialogic, and derived from the best processes and products of the human spirit.

The SunWALK logo and model of education Copyright Roger Prentice 1995 & 2009

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SEE ALSO these allied blogs –

 Human-centred courses –

 Dictionary of Concepts

Home is HERE i.e. my ‘meta-blog’ -The ´1000 ways …of Celebrating the human spirit

 

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Dear Steven Pinker: on language, concepts and beyond.

Dear Steven Pinker

Thanks for a very enjoyable lecture.  (17mins 41 secs)

You clearly know more about language than I will ever want to know!  

My problem is with what I sense is an assumption beneath the lecture.

To me the assumption feels something like this.  Human ‘internality’ is mind. Mind is concepts.  Concepts are very closely related to items of language.  

An alternative is this – internality is conciousness and movements in consciousness.  Perhaps ‘heart-mind’, ‘xin’ in Chinese is a better label – so that we don’t pin feelings to inferiority and inferiority to particular groups. e.g. women or ‘new men’.  

Heart-mind itself can be seen much deeper than concepts or feelings – the stillness beyond the agitation of the mind as in Tolle’s  ‘Stillness Speaks

Perhaps then we could say that ultimately language is the means by which we (might/could/should) come to understand that human reality is beyond language?

Thoughts on art No. 1: The Turner Prize, The Stuckists and what do we want from artists.

“Art is worth the consciousness that it raises.”

The Turner prize stinks say the Stuckists.  

The Turner prize is great say others.

What do they, and we, want from our artists and their art?

‘Thoughts on art No. 1’ – in a nutshell:  

Just what do we expect from an artist?  What do we have the right to expect?  Are we asking too much?  

In a world of increasing billions of communications isn’t an artist that informs you just a little bit more about

a) being human,

b) his/her being human

c)  or being human in the world with others worth his/her salt?

This is another way of saying that art is worth the consciousness that it raises.

For example two artists help me experience space differently and think about it differently are  Rachel Whiteread and Antony Gormley

 

'Ghost by Rachel Whiteread.  The presence of a room without the room, a memory that fills a space such a room occupied.
'Ghost by Rachel Whiteread. The presence of a room without the room, a memory that fills a space such a room occupied. WikiPedia

 

 

Space, (ghosts of) people in space and the inner space of people.
Antony Gormley's 'Domain Field' Space, (ghosts of) people in space and the inner space of people - and memory.

 SOURCE

 

Of course the two artists I chose are somewhere between very good and great.  But even if they were students showing just single pieces of their work it wouldn’t make any difference.

The gain was in and  around –  ‘space – being human – memory’ – i.e. a deepening and widening of consciousness. 

Whiteread and Gormley –  are both important to me for reasons other than  ‘space – being human – memory‘ but just for extending, deeping, enjoying the resonances of that area, “Thanks – many, many thanks –  I’m so glad I came across you.”


What’s the difference between spirituality and religion?

What's the difference between spirituality and religion?
What's the difference between spirituality and religion?

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How do you answer the question above?

Below is how far I have got with this issue.

Spirituality is how we relate to the unknown and unknowable – to Ultimate reality – and the meaning and motivation we derive therefrom.

Our worldview, as a consequence, is how we ‘read’ the world. Our worldview includes that of which are conscious, plus that which derives from enculturation.  Becoming more fully conscious of Oneness, and acting accordingly, is our purpose.

Religion is the agreed set of relationships, teachings and customs held in common with any religious group of which one has membership.

Progress in spirituality is measured by regularly bringing oneself to account – in relation to the standards of your spirituality, world-view and religious group/s (if any).

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Etymological issues:

The English word “religion” is derived from the Middle English “religioun” which came from the Old French “religion.” It may have been originally derived from the Latin word “religo” which means “good faith,” “ritual,” and other similar meanings. Or it may have come from the Latin “religãre” which means “to tie fast.”

Doing your own research:

A very good starting point is provided by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.  See HERE

The definitions I like best from this source are;

George Hegel: “the knowledge possessed by the finite mind of its nature as absolute mind.”

Paul Tillich: “Religious is the state of being grasped by an ultimate concern”

Others are;

The Religious Tolerance group tell us that David Carpenter has collected and published a list of definitions of religion, including:

Anthony Wallace: “a set of rituals, rationalized by myth, which mobilizes supernatural powers for the purpose of achieving or preventing transformations of state in man or nature.”

Hall, Pilgrim, and Cavanagh: “Religion is the varied, symbolic expression of, and appropriate response to that which people deliberately affirm as being of unrestricted value for them.”

Karl Marx: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

Don Swenson defines religion in terms of the sacred: “Religion is the individual and social experience of the sacred that is manifested in mythologies, ritual, ethos, and integrated into a collective or organization.”

Paul Connelly also defines religion in terms of the sacred and the spiritual: “Religion originates in an attempt to represent and order beliefs, feelings, imaginings and actions that arise in response to direct experience of  the sacred and the spiritual. As this attempt expands in its formulation and elaboration, it becomes a process that creates meaning for itself on a sustaining basis, in terms of both its originating experiences and its own continuing responses.”

He defines sacred as: “The sacred is a mysterious manifestation of power and presence that is experienced as both primordial & transformative, inspiring awe & rapt attention. This is usually an event that represents a break or discontinuity from the ordinary, forcing a re-establishment or recalibration of perspective on the part of the experiencer, but it may also be something seemingly ordinary, repeated exposure to which gradually produces a perception of mysteriously cumulative significance out of proportion to the significance originally invested in it.”

He further defines the spiritual as: “The spiritual is a perception of the commonality of mindfulness in the world that shifts the boundaries between self and other, producing a sense of the union of purposes of self and other in confronting the existential questions of life, and providing a mediation of the challenge-response interaction between self and other, one and many, that underlies existential questions.”

My final question – “Why are there so many religious intolerance groups?”

To read the full article by the Religious Tolerance group go HERE

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True achievement, success and happiness lie in being fully and positively human –

through our caring our creativity and our criticality –

developed via service to the communities to which we belong.

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All postings to this site relate to the central model in the

PhD. Summaries are HERE

Perennial Philosophy, or mysticism, in one sentence

 

j0182665

Perennial Philosophy, or mysticism, in one sentence

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“We can be happy, and serve others well,

if we realize our true Self

by detaching ourselves from the egotistic lower self –

through our step-by-step becoming aware

of the stillness beneath the noise.”


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This is the mystical core of all of the great world wisdom traditions.


If you don’t have the time to delve deeply into one or all of the religions read Eckhart Tolle’s The New Earth and do this course presented by Oprah Winfrey – HERE


Roger’s ver as at Nov 30th 2008


What’s your version?

Back to the Eckhart Tolle discussion – intellectuality & the mind are as spiritual as prayer & meditation

sun-and-plant

In the context of discussion with contributor ‘Patrick’ I offer a contribution to the issues I raised concerning the brilliant Eckhart Tolle. I do this via a beautiful poem that describes, with exquisite simplicity, the mystical experience of non-duality, or oneness. The poem is by the renowned Chinese poet Li Po;

The birds have vanished into the sky,

and now the last cloud drains away.

We sit together, the mountains and me,

until only the mountains remain.

Li Po (701-762)

IMHO

1 Clearly for Li Po there was, to start with, on that occasion, duality.

2 I’m assuming that Li Po returned from non-duality, back in to duality – unless he sat there until his bones turned to dust.  I assume he returned in order to do the laundry, chop wood, carry water.  Of course he would now do them on the bed-rock of enhanced consciousness derived from his mystical/aesthetic experience of non-duality.  Both wings of being human would be beating – as he scrubbed and carried and chopped. Enlightenment is now – if we let it.

In this world – the contingent world, the world of duality, the ‘Kingdom of Names’ – the complementarity of duality and non-duality is the key. Duality is not a curse, or a failing. When in dynamic inter-relation with non-dual experience it is heaven and perfection. Without non-dual experience it is hell, including the hell of relativity. The purpose of life is not just transcendence and timelessness – it is also immanence and being in time, moment by moment. Complementarity is the key.

3 The non-duality or mystic state is the same as the state of creativity (or the truly aesthetic experience).  We are ‘taken out of ourselves’ as we say in modern parlance.  Art  and ‘religion’ are not similar, they are the same – as Coomaraswami says.  It is the forgetting of self, a loss of ego boundaries, a letting go and letting God etc.  But the artist as well as the mystic comes out of the non-dual state back into the dual state. – and s/he becomes someone who lives with what s/he has created. What s/he has produced might even be a bit of a shock – a bit like the dumb panda who jumps when she sees that something is moving on the floor beneath her i.e the cub to which she has just given birth.  The artist becomes nurturer/appreciator/critic – more or less. They in duality are the left-brain evaluator (criticality mode) to complement their non-dual right-brain creativity mode. Complementarity is the key. One mode, and only one mode is in the foreground at any one time. Duration is from milliseconds to hours in the case of non-duality.

4 The question is are both states normal, desirable and, if the term is acceptable, God-given, i.e. both part of the life’s teaching-machine from which we are supposed to learn.  Or is one state bad, immature, to be got rid of, so that we can be non-dual 24/7?

5 Intellectuality is not the same as intellectualism, just as individuality is not the same as individualism.  In both cases the first is normal, healthy, proper, desirable.  In both cases the second is excessive, unbalanced, undesirable and pathological.  The same difference incidentally exists between sexuality and sexual-obsession. Tolle IMHO makes the mistake of not distinguishing between ego and the egotistic. He also can give the impression that he is trying to invalidate mind per se instead of distinguishing between true mind and the neurotic egotistical mind, trapped as it is by attachment.

Awareness, raised consciousness, is true mind. True mind is ‘xin’ heart-mind, interiority bathed in the light of the intellect and the warmth of true love, without attachment to forms – derived from the complementarity of the modes of duality and non-duality. ‘Without attachment to forms’ doesn’t mean without love of forms. Forms are the means (the only means) by which we can come to understand the essentiality of formlessness.

True love as Tolle says is realization of oneness – complementary to which is the glory of diversity.

God loves our celebrating diversity with Him as much as wanting us to realize oneness.

The one who is awakened is a one as well as a not-one – the Buddha was not non-Buddha – at least as a gateway, a pointer.

Spirituality or transcendence or consciousness is not increased by a diminution of intelligence, or more correctly a diminution of intellectuality. The intellect as enlightened heart-mind is the human spirit. Enlightenment comes from realization of the true Self, as opposed to self, that is the eternal. Unlimited Whole, the Silent One, God the Father, God without Name, the Nameless One etc.

Complementarity is the key. Yin is lovely only in the balanced presence of yang – and vice-versa.

6 ‘Before all else, God created the mind.’ (Koranic tradition)  The intellect is the supreme gift of God to man, the pinnacle of the way in which we are made in His image – providing we realize that all rivers flow back to the one Ocean, from which those parts also have their origin. Complementarity is the key.

7 The fear and misunderstanding of the term ego. The ego is simply the part of the self – the dimension or mode – that deals with immediate reality. As such it is neutral – like the heart or lungs or kidney. Whether it is healthy or diseased – now that is a different matter. The ego is as much part of the enlightened one as with the crass self-obsessive.

God celebrates His Creativity in the uniqueness of me, as well as in His Creation of our species.

We believe what we believe – some we choose to believe, some is ingrained.

The happiest of worlds is one where we can believe different things without feeling an obligation to kill each other! Complementarity is the key.

The ultimate sickness is to know who you are through knowing who you hate.

Enough

Namaste!