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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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The Centre of Theology and Philosophy

University of Nottingham

CoTP News || March 12, 2009

BBC2 Documentary: Did Darwin Kill God?

Did Darwin Kill God? — airs tonight!

A new trailer for the documentary can be accessed here (2 min 16 sec).

Airing on BBC2 Tuesday 31st March 7.00pm.

The BBC’s Darwin Season: marking the life and work of Charles Darwin – highlights:

BBC Two

As many of you may be aware, the BBC has launched a ‘Darwin Season’ on both radio and television to commemorate the double anniversary that falls this year for Charles Darwin: 200 years since his birth and 150 years since the publication of his groundbreaking book-The Origin of Species. The received view of evolution’s relation with religion is that the former undermines the latter. Philosopher and theologian Conor Cunningham from the Centre of Theology and Philosophy, University of Nottingham, says this is simply nonsense.

Cunningham who has just completed a new book-Evolution: Darwin’s Pious Idea, which will be published in the autumn, was approached by the BBC and asked to write and present a one hour documentary exploring Darwinism’s apparent impact on Christianity. According to Conor, the cultural war between religion and evolution, most vocally represented by American creationists and scientists such as Richard Dawkins is completely unnecessary and more than that, it is damaging for both religion and science. In his documentary – Did Darwin Kill God? – Conor travels around England, America and Israel interviewing philosophers, Bible scholars and scientists in a bid to discover how this destructive conflict arose, and in the process concluding that it is based on bad science, inaccurate history, inadequate philosophy and even worse theology.

The main purpose of the documentary is to offer a critique of both Christian fundamentalists who reject evolution, doing so, Conor argues, because they display a complete lack of understanding about the Christian tradition, and Darwinian fundamentalists – those such as Dawkins who take Darwin’s theory beyond the domain of science and apply it to all aspects of life, and is so doing undermine the very cogency of evolution as a science. Consequently, Darwinists such as Dawkins are as great a threat to evolution as are creationists. In addition Conor seeks to remind viewers of the orthodox understanding of Christianity’s God, for it is this understanding that makes opposition between Darwin’s theory of evolution and Christianity not only misplaced but impossible.

Also, the University of Nottingham podcast website has added an interview with Conor Cunningham: A plague on both houses (mp3 Friday 13 March 2009; 32.1MB, 34.41mins).

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The persecution of the Baha’is in Iran continues, but protests are mounting;

The EU Presidency has issued a welcome and strongstatement of concern about the situation of the seven Baha’i leaders in Iran.

The EU expresses its deep concern at the grave charges raised against seven Baha’i leaders in Iran. They have been detained by the Iranian authorities for eight months without charge, during which time they have had not had access to legal representation.

The EU is concerned that, after being held for so long without due process, the Baha’i leaders may not receive a fair trial. The EU therefore requests the Islamic Republic of Iran to allow independent observation of the judicial proceedings and to reconsider the charges brought against these individuals.

The EU wishes to express its firm opposition to all forms of discrimination and oppression, in particular on the basis of religious practice. In this context, the EU urges the Islamic Republic of Iran to respect and protect religious minorities in Iran and free all prisoners held due of [sic] their faith or religious practice.

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The UK government has said;

The Government remain very concerned by the situation of the Baha’i community in Iran. The Baha’i faith is not recognised as an official minority religion under the Iranian Constitution and Iranian Baha’is face systematic discrimination and persecution. We regularly raise our concerns about the treatment of Baha’is with the Iranian authorities, bilaterally and through the EU. On 22 January, the EU presidency, with strong UK support, raised specific concerns about the treatment of the Baha’i community in Iran during a meeting with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In this meeting the EU expressed opposition to all forms of discrimination, in particular regarding freedom of religion. Most recently, on 7 February, the EU presidency issued a public statement expressing concern about the deteriorating situation of the Baha’i minority. We have also taken action at the UN; in December 2007 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution about the human rights situation in Iran. The resolution, which was co-sponsored by the UK and all other EU member states, expressed very serious concern about increasing discrimination against religious minorities in Iran and the situation of the Baha’is in particular. We will continue to urge the Iranian authorities to uphold the right to freedom of religion and belief as described in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party.

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Chris Irvine in the telegraph has reported that;

‘The Vatican has admitted that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution

should not have been dismissed and claimed it is compatible with the

Christian view of Creation.’

 
The Vatican claims Darwin's theory of evolution is compatible with Christianity

Gianfranco Ravasi: Monsignor Ravasi said Darwin’s theories had never been formally condemned by the Roman Catholic Church Photo: EPA

Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said while the Church had been hostile to Darwin’s theory in the past, the idea of evolution could be traced to St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas.

Well, well well so truth is one but in different modes – fancy that!

To read the article go 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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cordoba-maimonides-stefan-cruysberghs2
450px-patio_de_los_arrayanes-wikipedia

NICHOLAS WADE in the NY Times reports that;

The genetic signatures of people in Spain and Portugal provide new and explicit evidence of the mass conversions of Sephardic Jews and Muslims to Catholicism in the 15th and 16th centuries after Christian armies wrested Spain back from Muslim control, a team of geneticists reports.

Twenty percent of the population of the Iberian Peninsula has Sephardic Jewish ancestry and 11 percent have DNA reflecting Moorish ancestors, the geneticists have found. Historians have debated how many Jews converted and how many chose exile. “One wing grossly underestimates the number of conversions,” said Jane S. Gerber, an expert on Sephardic history at the City University of New York.

The finding bears on two different views of Spanish history, said Jonathan S. Ray, a professor of Jewish studies at Georgetown University. One, proposed by the 20th-century historian Claudio Sánchez-Albornoz, holds that Spanish civilization is Catholic and other influences are foreign; the other sees Spain as having been enriched by drawing from all three of its historical cultures, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim.

I wonder if the inconvenience of these facts will provide racists and religious bigots reasons to hate more or hate less? 

You can read the full article by Nicholas Wade HERE

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I was pleased to see that the useful list of references in the WikiPedia article on Fundamentalism includes a link to a UK organization called Women Against Fundamentalism.  Let us hope they have more and more success – – and get to nurture sister organizations globally.

WOMEN AGAINST FUNDAMENTALISM (WAF)

high court victory photo

WAF members join SBS and supporters in celebrating Southall Black Sisters’ legal victory in the High Court. Read more at the SBS website.


Women Against Fundamentalism is currently focusing its campaigning on:

  • the role of religion in the British education system today
  • the British Government’s community cohesion and faith agendas

If you would like more information, please send an email to: infoATwomenagainstfundamentalism.org.uk (replace AT with @)

WHO WE ARE

Women Against Fundamentalism (WAF) was formed in 1989 to challenge the rise of fundamentalism in all religions. Its members include women from a wide range of backgrounds and from across the world.

By fundamentalism we mean a modern political movement which is using religion to gain or consolidate power. We do not mean religious observance, which we see as a matter of individual choice.

FUNDAMENTALISM AND THE ROLE OF WOMEN

Fundamentalism is found in all religions throughout the world, sometimes holding state power, sometimes in opposition to it. But whatever their relationship to the state, all fundamentalists see women’s role as crucial in representing and transmitting the supposedly unchanging morals and traditions of the whole community.

Women who fail to conform to so-called traditional family values are portrayed as placing the wellbeing and future of the whole society or community at risk. The control of women’s minds and bodies is, therefore, at the heart of fundamentalist agendas everywhere.

To go to their site click HERE

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