Archive for the ‘Lesson – all ages’ Category


“A number of blind men came to an elephant. Somebody told them that it was an elephant. The blind men asked, ‘What is the elephant like?’ and they began to touch its body. One of them said: ‘It is like a pillar.’ This blind man had only touched its leg. Another man said, ‘The elephant is like a husking basket.’ This person had only touched its ears. Similarly, he who touched its trunk or its belly talked of it differently. In the same way, he who has seen the Lord in a particular way limits the Lord to that alone and thinks that He is nothing else.”

This story is told in many cultures all over the world – see other versions HERE


It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of story/narrative, both in life generally and in my SunWALK model in particular.  We are a set of stories.  We live in sets of community-stories.  We mature according to the stories to which we subscribe.  Planning is just a projected narrative.  The past we choose to have is a story adjusted.

In the SunWALK (human-centred studies) model stories are

the glue that makes of the parts a whole

the means for structuring experience in communities

bridges for the flow of culture

the primary act of mind

sources of healing and mystical at-one-ment and connective flow

sources of imagination and creativity

the means by which we come to understand who we are and what we represent

where the three forms of truth-telling can come together – the poetic, the objective and the moral

the means for constructing education cetred on being human, in the world with others

the means for creative the curriculum framework


Stories Lives Tell; Narrative and Dialogue in Education
is a study of the centrality of narrative in the work that teachers and other educators do. The three themes of the book are central to the SunWALK model. They are: that story and narrative are primary tools in the educator’s work; that education requires one to take seriously the quest for life’s meaning and the care for persons; and that narrative and dialogue can serve as teaching and learning models that transcend the boundaries of disciplines, professions, and cultures.
Witherell, Carol and Noddings, Nel, (Eds.) (1991) Stories Lives Tell; Narrative and Dialogue in Education, NY: Teachers College Press


“…man is in his actions and practice, as well as in his fictions, essentially a story-telling animal” MacIntyre takes the view that we/humanity are in the midst of a story & that is through the story/ies that we understand each other and ourselves. MacIntyre p 201

Storytelling according to Chinua Achebe, the Ibo novelist is “the basis of our existence – who we are, what we think we are, what people say we are, what other people think we are.” John Windsor The Inde 20.8.94

Myth is where the Muse lives – it is from here we get our creativity. We need to experience life as a poem.

Through mythology we are not seeking truth we are seeking an experience of being alive in a great wholeness. Aunt Jane.

All stories consist of – Exposition:Conflict:Resolution

Narrative has been described as a primary act of mind; children construct their world through story…. This process should be an active experience, involving questioning, problem solving, hypothesising and imagining.’ Cox Report English 5-11, Nov. 1988

FIRST SITUATION Man in the World and with The World, Nature and Culture – Freire

“Through the discussion of this situation – man as a being of relationships – the participants arrive at the distinction between two worlds: that of nature and that of culture. They perceive the normal situation of man as a being in the world and with the world, as a creative and re-creative being who, through work, constantly alters reality.” – Paulo Friere, p.63, Education: The Practice of Freedom

FROM ‘HARD TIMES’ a novel by Charles Dickens

This tells everything about holism, and the three voices of being human – the Creative ‘I’ voice, the Critical ‘I’ voice and the Caring-moral ‘WE’ voice;

“Its father as calls me Sissy , sir,” returned the young girl in a trembling voice, and with another curtsey.

“Then he has no business to do it,” said Mr Gradgrind. “Tell him he mustn’t. Cecilia Jupe. Let me see. What is your father?”

“He belongs to the horse-riding, if you please sir.” Mr Gradgrind frowned, and waved off the objectionable calling with his hand.

“We don’t want to know about that , here. You mustn’t tell us about that, here. Very well, then. Describe your father as a horsebreaker. He doctors sick horses, I dare say?”

“Oh yes, sir.”

“Very well then. He is a veterinary surgeon, a farrier and horse-breaker. Give me your definition of a horse.”

(Sissy Jupe thrown into the greatest alarm by this demand.)

“Girl number twenty unable to define a horse!” said Mr Gradgrind, for the general behoof of all the little pitchers. Girl number twenty possessed of no facts, in reference to one of the commonest of animals! Some boy’s definition of a horse. Bitzer yours.”…………………..

Bitzer,” said Thomas Gradgrind. “Your definition of a horse.”

“Quadruped. Graminivorous. Forty teeth, namely twenty-five grinders, four eye-teeth, and twelve incisive. Sheds coat in the spring; in marshy countries, sheds hoofs, too. Hoofs hard, but requiring to be shod with iron. Age known by marks in mouth.” thus (and much more) Bitzer.

“Now girl number twenty, said Mr Gradgrind. “You know what a horse is.”



Ver: 8th July 2009

Read Full Post »



James Nottingham presents the above useful diagram and a commentary on his blog;

He says;

The Question Quadrant is a powerful tool developed by Phil Cam to elicit and generate questions that can be used to conduct a philosophy lesson. The purpose is to initiate and model the types of questions that can be used to produce in-depth discussion with communities just starting P4C. The Quadrant can be used to distinguish closed and open questions that relate specifically to the text; or closed and open questions that stimulate intellectual curiosity.
The Question Quadrant can be used in small groups or as a whole class. Trent Burns at Cambewarra Primary School in New South Wales, Australia has been using the approach to role model the types of questions that P4C seeks, placing the Question Quadrant in the middle of an inquiry circle.
The questions show in the diagram were taken from the picture book More Spaghetti I Say by Rita Golden-Gelman.
The Question Quadrant is a powerful tool developed by Phil Cam to elicit and generate questions that can be used to conduct a philosophy lesson. The purpose is to initiate and model the types of questions that can be used to produce in-depth discussion with communities just starting P4C. The Quadrant can be used to distinguish closed and open questions that relate specifically to the text; or closed and open questions that stimulate intellectual curiosity.

The Question Quadrant can be used in small groups or as a whole class. Trent Burns at Cambewarra Primary School in New South Wales, Australia has been using the approach to role model the types of questions that P4C seeks, placing the Question Quadrant in the middle of an inquiry circle.

The questions show in the diagram were taken from the picture book More Spaghetti I Say by Rita Golden-Gelman.



To go to James’ blog click  HERE

Read Full Post »

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: 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 SunWALK model of spiritualizing pedagogy sees human education as the 


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 


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




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




Read Full Post »

This wonderful, simple, perfect, timeless photograph by Benn Mitchell is on the Boca Raton Museum of Art. 

















The museums blurb says this; 

Color Me New York – Photographs by Benn Mitchell
Through January 18, 2009

The exhibition honors Benn Mitchell as a forerunner in realistic photography, documenting life in New York City during the 1930s through the 1950s. Mitchell (born in New York City 1926 – ) sold his first photograph to LIFE magazine at the age of 16. Just one year later he became a portrait photographer in Hollywood for Warner Brothers’ studios, capturing classic images of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, among others. In 1948, Mitchell started his own commercial studio in New York City, the beginning of a career lasting over five decades. This exhibition presents 16 color images shot in the streets of New York City between 1947 and 1980, which capture Benn Mitchell’s acute observations, and his award-winning eye for both the artistic and the incidental. Mitchell now lives with his wife Esther in Boca Raton


To go to the museum’s site click HERE

Read Full Post »

Click HERE to have your say about this article –  at SEESMIC  video discussion

We enjoyed immensly our visit to Unveiled: New art from the middle-east at London’s Saatchi Gallery.  This ‘review’ is about Ghost by Kader Attia – and how it is great work – including for teachers or home-schoolers.  (Exhibition ends 9th May 2009)



Kader Attia – Ghost – 2007 – Aluminium foil – Dimensions variable – Saatchi Gallery, London

In Ghost, a large installation of a group of Muslim women in prayer, Attia renders their bodies as vacant shells, empty hoods devoid of personhood or spirit. Made from tin foil – a domestic, throw away material – Attia’s figures become alien and futuristic, synthesising the abject and divine. Bowing in shimmering meditation, their ritual is equally seductive and hollow, questioning modern ideologies – from religion to nationalism and consumerism – in relation to individual identity, social perception, devotion and exclusion. Attia’s Ghost evokes contemplation of the human condition as vulnerable and mortal; his impoverished materials suggest alternative histories or understandings of the world, manifest in individual and temporal experience. (This is the gallery description)


Draft Notes for suggested lessons:

I always admire simplicity – creating a profound piece just by wrapping aluminium foil around a room full of kneeling women – great simplicity.

Presence and absence – traces – how and it what ways do people live on.

Why might the artist have called the piece Ghost as opposed to Ghosts?  Which do you prefer and why?

What makes a person a person?

Which bits of the gallery description of Ghost make good sense to you  – and which don’t – and why?

Two of the most important concerns in a person’s development are 1) identity – who am I? and 2) purpose – what am I dedicating my life to?  What has Ghost to do with identity and purpose?

How powerful might it be if, as a performance piece, a real live woman came and filled one of the places?  Would you dress her in aluminium or not – how else would you dress her?  Would she speak to the audience?  What would she say?

The aluminium creates boundaries, forms – of people who were/are/aren’t no more.  Is there spirit to go with the form – or not?  If so what is it – where is it – whose spirit is it?

What are your feelings about the women whose forms gave rise to the ghost/s?

How might a fundamentalist respond to this piece?  How might a modern believer respond to this piece?  

Create a conversation betwen two such people.  

What would the whole thing be like if the women had been from Christian/Jewish/Hindu/Buddhist etc background?

What conclusions do you come to as a result of viewing the photograph  – or better still having visited the exhibition?

How would you use your/the above ideas to make your own art?

Read Full Post »

I loved the teasing ambiguity of this photograph at Boca Raton Museum Of Art – dare we hope that something good might, just might, be passing between them – some kindness instead of cruelty, some recognition instead of hatred?  Is the hand about to become a fist?  Is she touching his chest in an appeal such as she might make to her son? Does the ambiguity shift the photograph from documentary to fine art?  Does the space created by the ambiguity make the art? 




 Have you seen the SunWALK human-centred studies model? – summary HERE 

Read Full Post »

A slide version of the SunWALK holistic education model – on what it is to be fully and positively human

A slide version of the SunWALK holistic education model – on  what it is to be fully and positively human:





Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: