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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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There is a wonderful essay by Dr Hossein Elahi Ghomshei on the role of poetry to be found – where else –  on the Buddhist SGI website.

The essay starts like this;

The Rose and the Nightingale: The role of poetry in Persian culture

by Dr. Hossein Elahi Ghomshei

Persia has been admired as a land where people walk on silk carpets and talk the language of poetry.

Poetry in Persian culture is not simply an art: rather it’s the very image of life, terrestrial and celestial; the perennial philosophy, the holy scripture, the minstrel, the music and the song, the feast and revelry, the garden, the Rose and the Nightingale, and a detailed agenda for daily life.

In the lyric poetry of Rumi, Sadi and Hafiz you can hardly find a sonnet that does not contain the wine, the bard and the beloved. In didactic and mystical poetry, commonly in rhyming couplets, the same theme of Love runs throughout like running brooks of milk and wine and honey of Paradise as described in the Koran.

The word saqi in Persian literature is the counterpart of the muse in Western culture and fulfills exactly the same service as the muse to inspire the poet, to illuminate what is dark, to raise what is low, that the poet may assert the eternal providence and justify the ways of God to man.

In Persian poetry, as in all good poetry of the world, Love is the greatest circle of attraction and affection, with no one left out of the circle. The story of David, the prophet of Love, who had 99 wives and still yearned after another one, according to religious traditions, is interpreted by Rumi as a reference to the 100-percent nature of Love: If there is a single person in the whole world whom you hate, you are not a lover.

Sadi, in one of his famous sonnets (ghazal), says:

I’m in Love with the whole world, for the whole world belongs to my beloved.

Love is at peace with all religions, all ethnic groups, and all colors, languages, races and tribes, as expressed in hundreds of sublime poems in Persian poetry:

O my Christian beloved,
O my Armenian friend,
Either you come and be a Muslim
Or I will take the girdle and become a Christian.

In the realm of Love, there is no difference between a mosque and a monastery.

You can behold the light of the eternal beloved wherever you turn your face.

–Hafiz
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To read the full essay go HERE
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The Buddhist SGI site is – HERE
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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

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All spiritual teachings are about one thing - what it is to be fully and positively human - the rest is a matter of cultural clothing. RP

Students of Perennial Philosophy, the core mystical teachings that are the same in all religions and forgotten by many or most adherents, might agree that two verses from the Hindu Bhagavad Gita constitute a simple, beautiful and perfect summary of the Perennial Philosophy teachings;

Like two birds of golden plumage, inseparable companions, the

individual self and the immortal Self are perched on the branches of the

selfsame tree. The former tastes of the sweet and bitter fruits of the

tree; the latter, tasting of neither, calmly observes.

The individual self, deluded by forgetfulness of his identity with the

divine Self, bewildered by his ego, grieves and is sad. But when he

recognizes the worshipful Lord as his own true Self, and beholds his

glory, he grieves no more.”2

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Compare these verses with the contemporary re-presentation of the Perennial Philosophy in The New Earth or Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle – different language and cultural clothing but the same message!

Inevitably the ethical implication of Perennial Philosophy is ‘ The Golden Rule –

EXAMPLES:-

BAHA’I:
“Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not.” Baha’u’llah.

BUDDHISM:
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion – Dalai Lama

CHRISTIAN:
And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
Luke 10:25-28

ISLAM:
In his Last Sermon, the Prophet Muhammad cautioned believers: “Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.”

TAOISM:
“Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.” T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien.

see HERE for more examples.

Enjoy these – and dive deep!


Bhagavad Gita Chanted in English HERE
Text of the Bhagavad Gita in English HERE
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NB Try listening to the chanting whilst reading the text – wonderful! – transporting!
Commentary ‘The Battlefield of the Mind‘ on the Bhagavad Gita, by  Swami Nirmalananda Giri, HERE
NB Please use the SEARCH on this site to find more about Perennial Philosophy and all of the other subjects mentioned.

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Antony Gormley with his 'Asian Field' made over five days in collaboration with 300 villagers in Xianxian in China
Antony Gormley with his ‘Asian Field made over five days in collaboration with 300 villagers in Xianxian in China

Art as quintessentially spiritual experience

I want to present a range of artists who mean a lot to me – in the context of a working definition of art, and the view that both the making of art and aesthetic experience are essentially one and the same as mystical experience.

Art is culturally, and personally, significant meaning, skilfully encodedin an affecting, sensuous medium.
(RP’s working definition  – after a definition by Richard Anderson quoted in Freeland (2001 p. 77))

All art is about movement of the human spirit.  Human spirit as heart-mind – ‘xin’ in Chinese.

The idea of ‘heart-mind’ for the singleness of the interiority of inner experience, as opposed to heart and mind as two mythical inner organs, which is the bifurcation of the human spirit that the Age of Reason has left us with, removes any need to argue for or against ‘conceptual art’.  Hoorayyyyy!

I can now love both art that is labelled ‘conceptual’ and that which isn’t, and with luck I get some sensuality, cultural references, significant personal meaning-making and skilfull encoding!

There are a range of reasons for suggesting that both the making of art and aesthetic experience are essentially one and the same as mystical experience. Here are three;

1) Art that really works for you takes you out of yourself – it creates a unitive experience.

2) The making of art mostly involves engagement that is beyond language and the conceptual.

3) The conceptual is stimulated by the experience but can never adequately render or re-present the creative or aesthetic experience.

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One artist that gives me ‘the full set’ – sensuality, cultural references, significant personal meaning-making and skilfull encoding and the qualities of the spiritual or mystical etc. –  is Antony Gormley.

The Asian Field (photo above) is, quite appropriately, much larger than the ‘Field’ I saw in the Tullie gallery in Carlisle.  The impact of setting eyes on all of the figures staring up at me was a force-field of heart-mind.  Reflection afterwards is endless.

His genius has developed art that is;

Transcendent

Universalist

Community generated and community-generating.

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Source and article on Asian Field HERE

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Below is information from the front page of the Authentic Business website which still offers a wide range of very interesting materials and ideas – as such it deserves wider circulation. Let’s hope that someone might develop it further.

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This site has masses of inspiring and fascinating content but is no longer regularly updated. For more up to date information and inspiration about authenticity for business and individuals please follow the links below.

Authentic Transformation – bring more authenticity into your life and work

Authentic Inspiration – weekly inspiration, podcasts, inspiring books, movies etc

Authentic Guides – business service professionals working with authenticity

Our battles with dragons.more>>

dragonRecently, a cancer victim friend of mine wrote to me of her thoughts and feelings expressed in a short piece of prose. Her piece was called ‘Fighting the Dragons’ and I reproduce here for you…

The law of escalating efficiencies – the power of the fourth be with us!more>>

bulbThe simplest energy efficiency and renewables actions – taken seriously – can carry us right across ‘the energy gap’ – in one single bound! There is so much bad news around climate chaos that it is easy to lose heart. We are so ‘hooked’ on the belief that we ‘need’ vast amounts of energy to live decent lives that we all shun tackling the root of the problem.

A Fairer Way to do Business – the story of a young women embarking on building a Fair Trade business.more>>

remouldRemould – Fair Trade Clothing is run by Cathy Tiffany from her shop in New Mills, Derbyshire. Cathy wanted to sell alternative fashion to local people who had an interest in ethical and Fair Trade clothing. Cathy has recently expanded her range to children’s wear and is working hard to develop her online business to reach a wider spectrum of ethically minded people.

Empathy, a wonderful aspect of EQ emotional intelligence.more>>

passportThe other evening I was at home relaxing watching television and an old episode of ‘Airport’ came on. I always enjoyed the series. It always reminds me of my times of travel and excitement and of seeing people bustling on the concourse and feeling my hopes rising and feeling as though my dreams are appearing through the mist of uncertainty and becoming more solid. Watching the screen you see such a diversity of travellers and then all the staff of Heathrow [it could be any airport really]. The end credits to ‘Love Actually’ always come to mind as well when watching this program.

Raising public awareness in achieving tourism sustainability on the Island of Rhodesmore>>

rhodesPublic participation is a key ingredient to sustainability in tourism. Raising public awareness requires strong political leadership.

There are two fundamental questions that the leaders and those who hold the power on matters of hospitality and tourism on the island of Rhodes should address: (1) what is sustainability in tourism? and (2) why they should raise public awareness?.

This Way Upmore>>

thiswayupDo you ever have the feeling that you’re being lied to about just don’t know what? That there’s something wrong with the way society defines your success, but you just can’t put your finger on it? Do you question that there has to be more to life than getting a job, making some money, working until you’re sixty, then retiring to the country

Learning from othersmore>>
LANCSYou may well have read last October on this web site an article I wrote entitled “A Bridge in Life”. If not, you can still see it or you can even email me for a copy. In the article I wrote about my being a retired Police Officer and the dangers I faced on a daily basis ~ the journey of my life through and from that phase ~ and my soulful expression these days through my work, interactions with people and my written poetry and prose.
What does it take to change your life for the better?more>>
bankseyI am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to meet some of the most inspiring possible people. These people are not famous (yet), they are not especially rich or successful (yet), but they do have one thing in common.
What you don’t yet know!more>>
porscheIncreased land fill taxes. Rising energy prices. Emissions taxes. Unpredictable weather. For most of our lives the environment has been a more or less free resource to be used and abused at will. That situation has changed and that means changes in the way we run our businesses.
A FAIRTRADE REVOLUTIONmore>>

newconsumerNew Consumers change the world via the High Street as Fairtrade becomes a habit of a lifestyle so Fairtrade producers get a fair deal. It’s Fairtrade Fortnight 6-19 March, and New Consumer, the UK’s leading Fairtrade and ethical lifestyle magazine, is celebrating the achievement of new consumers as you continue to fuel a Fairtrade Revolution. You are changing the world, by taking ten small, easy steps to support Fairtrade a proven, practical way to alleviate poverty.

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

PhD. Summaries are HERE

SEE also Learning Motivation for Success

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In reflecting on whether the UK should have a motto to express the national spirit – just as France has Liberté, égalité, fraternité – a wit wrote to the Times and suggested: DIPSO, FATSO, BINGO, ASBO, TESCO. Having a motto was a suggestion from Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

 

For American cousins, cross-cultural analysts and other UK observers a background article and other witticisms can be found at the TIMESonline HERE

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All postings to this site relate to the central SunWALK model in the PhD.

Summaries are HERE

 

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