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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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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:

 

HERE

 

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A fine source on the History of Education is to be found HERE

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I came across thi extract from an articles in Newsweek;

Late one February night, more than a dozen masked gun carrying Taliban burst into the 10-room girls’ school in Nooria’s village, Madrawar about 100 miles east of Kabul. They tied up and beat the night watchman, soaked the principal’s office and the library with gasoline, set it on fire and escaped into the darkness. The townspeople, who doused the blaze before it could spread, later found written messages from the gunmen promising to cut off the nose and ears of any teacher or student who dared to return.

The threats didn’t work. Within days, most of the school’s 650 pupils were back to their studies. Classes were held under a grove of trees in the courtyard for several weeks, despite the winter chill, until repairs inside the one-story structure were complete. Nearby schools replaces at least some of the library’s books. But the hate mail kept coming, with threats to shave the teacher’s heads as well as mutilate their faces. Earlier this month, NEWSWEEK visited and talked to students and faculty on the last day of classes. Nooria, who dreams of becoming a teacher herself, expressed her determination to finish school. “I’m not afraid of getting my nose and ears cut off,” she said, all dressed up in a long purple dress and head scarf. “I want to keep studying.” Newsweek June 26, 2006

Thanks to Robert Sweetland’s Notes

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This wonderful ‘manifesto’ is still an inspiration a century after it was written – teachers and student teachers could all evaluate it and then write their own version!

My Pedagogic Creed by John Dewey

First published in The School Journal, Volume LIV, Number 3 (January 16, 1897), pages 77-80.

ARTICLE I–What Education Is

I believe that all education proceeds by the participation of the individual in the social consciousness of the race. This process begins unconsciously almost at birth, and is continually shaping the individual’s powers, saturating his consciousness, forming his habits, training his ideas, and arousing his feelings and emotions. Through this unconscious education the individual gradually comes to share in the intellectual and moral resources which humanity has succeeded in getting together. He becomes an inheritor of the funded capital of civilization. The most formal and technical education in the world cannot safely depart from this general process. It can only organize it or differentiate it in some particular direction.

I believe that the only true education comes through the stimulation of the child’s powers by the demands of the social situations in which he finds himself. Through these demands he is stimulated to act as a member of a unity, to emerge from his original narrowness of action and feeling, and to conceive of himself from the standpoint of the welfare of the group to which he belongs. Through the responses which others make to his own activities he comes to know what these mean in social terms. The value which they have is reflected back into them. For instance, through the response which is made to the child’s instinctive babblings the child comes to know what those babblings mean; they are transformed into articulate language and thus the child is introduced into the consolidated wealth of ideas and emotions which are now summed up in language.

I believe that this educational process has two sides-one psychological and one sociological; and that neither can be subordinated to the other or neglected without evil results following. Of these two sides, the psychological is the basis. The child’s own instincts and powers furnish the material and give the starting point for all education. Save as the efforts of the educator connect with some activity which the child is carrying on of his own initiative independent of the educator, education becomes reduced to a pressure from without. It may, indeed, give certain external results, but cannot truly be called educative. Without insight into the psychological structure and activities of the individual, the educative process will, therefore, be haphazard and arbitrary. If it chances to coincide with the child’s activity it will get a leverage; if it does not, it will result in friction, or disintegration, or arrest of the child nature.

I believe that knowledge of social conditions, of the present state of civilization, is necessary in order properly to interpret the child’s powers. The child has his own instincts and tendencies, but we do not know what these mean until we can translate them into their social equivalents. We must be able to carry them back into a social past and see them as the inheritance of previous race activities. We must also be able to project them into the future to see what their outcome and end will be. In the illustration just used, it is the ability to see in the child’s babblings the promise and potency of a future social intercourse and conversation which enables one to deal in the proper way with that instinct.

I believe that the psychological and social sides are organically related and that education cannot be regarded as a compromise between the two, or a superimposition of one upon the other. We are told that the psychological definition of education is barren and formal–that it gives us only the idea of a development of all the mental powers without giving us any idea of the use to which these powers are put. On the other hand, it is urged that the social definition of education, as getting adjusted to civilization, makes of it a forced and external process, and results in subordinating the freedom of the individual to a preconceived social and political status.

I believe that each of these objections is true when urged against one side isolated from the other. In order to know what a power really is we must know what its end, use, or function is; and this we cannot know save as we conceive of the individual as active in social relationships. But, on the other hand, the only possible adjustment which we can give to the child under existing conditions, is that which arises through putting him in complete possession of all his powers. With the advent of democracy and modern industrial conditions, it is impossible to foretell definitely just what civilization will be twenty years from now. Hence it is impossible to prepare the child for any precise set of conditions. To prepare him for the future life means to give him command of himself; it means so to train him that he will have the full and ready use of all his capacities; that his eye and ear and hand may be tools ready to command, that his judgment may be capable of grasping the conditions under which it has to work, and the executive forces be trained to act economically and efficiently. It is impossible to reach this sort of adjustment save as constant regard is had to the individual’s own powers, tastes, and interests-say, that is, as education is continually converted into psychological terms.

In sum, I believe that the individual who is to be educated is a social individual and that society is an organic union of individuals. If we eliminate the social factor from the child we are left only with an abstraction; if we eliminate the individual factor from society, we are left only with an inert and lifeless mass. Education, therefore, must begin with a psychological insight into the child’s capacities, interests, and habits. It must be controlled at every point by reference to these same considerations. These powers, interests, and habits must be continually interpreted–we must know what they mean. They must be translated into terms of their social equivalents–into terms of what they are capable of in the way of social service.

ARTICLE II–What the School Is

I believe that the school is primarily a social institution. Education being a social process, the school is simply that form of community life in which all those agencies are concentrated that will be most effective in bringing the child to share in the inherited resources of the race, and to use his own powers for social ends.

I believe that education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.

I believe that the school must represent present life-life as real and vital to the child as that which he carries on in the home, in the neighborhood, or on the playground.

I believe that education which does not occur through forms of life, or that are worth living for their own sake, is always a poor substitute for the genuine reality and tends to cramp and to deaden.

I believe that the school, as an institution, should simplify existing social life; should reduce it, as it were, to an embryonic form. Existing life is so complex that the child cannot be brought into contact with it without either confusion or distraction; he is either overwhelmed by the multiplicity of activities which are going on, so that he loses his own power of orderly reaction, or he is so stimulated by these various activities that his powers are prematurely called into play and he becomes either unduly specialized or else disintegrated.

I believe that as such simplified social life, the school life should grow gradually out of the home life; that it should take up and continue the activities with which the child is already familiar in the home.

I believe that it should exhibit these activities to the child, and reproduce them in such ways that the child will gradually learn the meaning of them, and be capable of playing his own part in relation to them.

I believe that this is a psychological necessity, because it is the only way of securing continuity in the child’s growth, the only way of giving a back-ground of past experience to the new ideas given in school.

I believe that it is also a social necessity because the home is the form of social life in which the child has been nurtured and in connection with which he has had his moral training. It is the business of the school to deepen and extend his sense of the values bound up in his home life.

I believe that much of present education fails because it neglects this fundamental principle of the school as a form of community life. It conceives the school as a place where certain information is to be given, where certain lessons are to be ]earned, or where certain habits are to be formed. The value of these is conceived as lying largely in the remote future; the child must do these things for the sake of something else he is to do; they are mere preparation. As a result they do not become a part of the life experience of the child and so are not truly educative.

I believe that the moral education centers upon this conception of the school as a mode of social life, that the best and deepest moral training is precisely that which one gets through having to enter into proper relations with others in a unity of work and thought. The present educational systems, so far as they destroy or neglect this unity, render it difficult or impossible to get any genuine, regular moral training.

I believe that the child should be stimulated and controlled in his work through the life of the community.

I believe that under existing conditions far too much of the stimulus and control proceeds from the teacher, because of neglect of the idea of the school as a form of social life.

I believe that the teacher’s place and work in the school is to be interpreted from this same basis. The teacher is not in the school to impose certain ideas or to form certain habits in the child, but is there as a member of the community to select the influences which shall affect the child and to assist him in properly responding to these influences.

I believe that the discipline of the school should proceed from the life of the school as a whole and not directly from the teacher.

I believe that the teacher’s business is simply to determine on the basis of larger experience and riper wisdom, how the discipline of life shall come to the child.

I believe that all questions of the grading of the child and his promotion should be determined by reference to the same standard. Examinations are of use only so far as they test the child’s fitness for social life and reveal the place in which he can be of the most service and where he can receive the most help.

ARTICLE III–The Subject-Matter of Education

I believe that the social life of the child is the basis of concentration, or correlation, in all his training or growth. The social life gives the unconscious unity and the background of all his efforts and of all his attainments.

I believe that the subject-matter of the school curriculum should mark a gradual differentiation out of the primitive unconscious unity of social life.

I believe that we violate the child’s nature and render difficult the best ethical results, by introducing the child too abruptly to a number of special studies, of reading, writing, geography, etc., out of relation to this social life.

I believe, therefore, that the true center of correlation on the school subjects is not science, nor literature, nor history, nor geography, but the child’s own social activities.

I believe that education cannot be unified in the study of science, or so called nature study, because apart from human activity, nature itself is not a unity; nature in itself is a number of diverse objects in space and time, and to attempt to make it the center of work by itself, is to introduce a principle of radiation rather than one of concentration.

I believe that literature is the reflex expression and interpretation of social experience; that hence it must follow upon and not precede such experience. It, therefore, cannot be made the basis, although it may be made the summary of unification.

I believe once more that history is of educative value in so far as it presents phases of social life and growth. It must be controlled by reference to social life. When taken simply as history it is thrown into the distant past and becomes dead and inert. Taken as the record of man’s social life and progress it becomes full of meaning. I believe, however, that it cannot be so taken excepting as the child is also introduced directly into social life.

I believe accordingly that the primary basis of education is in the child’s powers at work along the same general constructive lines as those which have brought civilization into being.

I believe that the only way to make the child conscious of his social heritage is to enable him to perform those fundamental types of activity which make civilization what it is.

I believe, therefore, in the so-called expressive or constructive activities as the center of correlation.

I believe that this gives the standard for the place of cooking, sewing, manual training, etc., in the school.

I believe that they are not special studies which are to be introduced over and above a lot of others in the way of relaxation or relief, or as additional accomplishments. I believe rather that they represent, as types, fundamental forms of social activity; and that it is possible and desirable that the child’s introduction into the more formal subjects of the curriculum be through the medium of these activities.

I believe that the study of science is educational in so far as it brings out the materials and processes which make social life what it is.

I believe that one of the greatest difficulties in the present teaching of science is that the material is presented in purely objective form, or is treated as a new peculiar kind of experience which the child can add to that which he has already had. In reality, science is of value because it gives the ability to interpret and control the experience already had. It should be introduced, not as so much new subject-matter, but as showing the factors already involved in previous experience and as furnishing tools by which that experience can be more easily and effectively regulated.

I believe that at present we lose much of the value of literature and language studies because of our elimination of the social element. Language is almost always treated in the books of pedagogy simply as the expression of thought. It is true that language is a logical instrument, but it is fundamentally and primarily a social instrument. Language is the device for communication; it is the tool through which one individual comes to share the ideas and feelings of others. When treated simply as a way of getting individual information, or as a means of showing off what one has learned, it loses its social motive and end.

I believe that there is, therefore, no succession of studies in the ideal school curriculum. If education is life, all life has, from the outset, a scientific aspect, an aspect of art and culture, and an aspect of communication. It cannot, therefore, be true that the proper studies for one grade are mere reading and writing, and that at a later grade, reading, or literature, or science, may be introduced. The progress is not in the succession of studies but in the development of new attitudes towards, and new interests in, experience.

I believe finally, that education must be conceived as a continuing reconstruction of experience; that the process and the goal of education are one and the same thing.

I believe that to set up any end outside of education, as furnishing its goal and standard, is to deprive the educational process of much of its meaning and tends to make us rely upon false and external stimuli in dealing with the child.

ARTICLE IV–The Nature of Method

I believe that the question of method is ultimately reducible to the question of the order of development of the child’s powers and interests. The law for presenting and treating material is the law implicit within the child’s own nature. Because this is so I believe the following statements are of supreme importance as determining the spirit in which education is carried on:

1. I believe that the active side precedes the passive in the development of the child nature; that expression comes before conscious impression; that the muscular development precedes the sensory; that movements come before conscious sensations; I believe that consciousness is essentially motor or impulsive; that conscious states tend to project themselves in action.

I believe that the neglect of this principle is the cause of a large part of the waste of time and strength in school work. The child is thrown into a passive, receptive, or absorbing attitude. The conditions are such that he is not permitted to follow the law of his nature; the result is friction and waste.

I believe that ideas (intellectual and rational processes) also result from action and devolve for the sake of the better control of action. What we term reason is primarily the law of orderly or effective action. To attempt to develop the reasoning powers, the powers of judgment, without reference to the selection and arrangement of means in action, is the fundamental fallacy in our present methods of dealing with this matter. As a result we present the child with arbitrary symbols. Symbols are a necessity in mental development, but they have their place as tools for economizing effort; presented by themselves they are a mass of meaningless and arbitrary ideas imposed from without.

2. I believe that the image is the great instrument of instruction. What a child gets out of any subject presented to him is simply the images which he himself forms with regard to it.

I believe that if nine tenths of the energy at present directed towards making the child learn certain things, were spent in seeing to it that the child was forming proper images, the work of instruction would be indefinitely facilitated.

I believe that much of the time and attention now given to the preparation and presentation of lessons might be more wisely and profitably expended in training the child’s power of imagery and in seeing to it that he was continually forming definite, vivid, and growing images of the various subjects with which he comes in contact in his experience.

3. I believe that interests are the signs and symptoms of growing power. I believe that they represent dawning capacities. Accordingly the constant and careful observation of interests is of the utmost importance for the educator.

I believe that these interests are to be observed as showing the state of development which the child has reached.

I believe that they prophesy the stage upon which he is about to enter.

I believe that only through the continual and sympathetic observation of childhood’s interests can the adult enter into the child’s life and see what it is ready for, and upon what material it could work most readily and fruitfully.

I believe that these interests are neither to be humored nor repressed. To repress interest is to substitute the adult for the child, and so to weaken intellectual curiosity and alertness, to suppress initiative, and to deaden interest. To humor the interests is to substitute the transient for the permanent. The interest is always the sign of some power below; the important thing is to discover this power. To humor the interest is to fail to penetrate below the surface and its sure result is to substitute caprice and whim for genuine interest.

4. I believe that the emotions are the reflex of actions.

I believe that to endeavor to stimulate or arouse the emotions apart from their corresponding activities, is to introduce an unhealthy and morbid state of mind.

I believe that if we can only secure right habits of action and thought, with reference to the good, the true, and the beautiful, the emotions will for the most part take care of themselves.

I believe that next to deadness and dullness, formalism and routine, our education is threatened with no greater evil than sentimentalism.

I believe that this sentimentalism is the necessary result of the attempt to divorce feeling from action.

ARTICLE V-The School and Social Progress

I believe that education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform.

I believe that all reforms which rest simply upon the enactment of law, or the threatening of certain penalties, or upon changes in mechanical or outward arrangements, are transitory and futile.

I believe that education is a regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness; and that the adjustment of individual activity on the basis of this social consciousness is the only sure method of social reconstruction.

I believe that this conception has due regard for both the individualistic and socialistic ideals. It is duly individual because it recognizes the formation of a certain character as the only genuine basis of right living. It is socialistic because it recognizes that this right character is not to be formed by merely individual precept, example, or exhortation, but rather by the influence of a certain form of institutional or community life upon the individual, and that the social organism through the school, as its organ, may determine ethical results.

I believe that in the ideal school we have the reconciliation of the individualistic and the institutional ideals.

I believe that the community’s duty to education is, therefore, its paramount moral duty. By law and punishment, by social agitation and discussion, society can regulate and form itself in a more or less haphazard and chance way. But through education society can formulate its own purposes, can organize its own means and resources, and thus shape itself with definiteness and economy in the direction in which it wishes to move.

I believe that when society once recognizes the possibilities in this direction, and the obligations which these possibilities impose, it is impossible to conceive of the resources of time, attention, and money which will be put at the disposal of the educator.

I believe that it is the business of every one interested in education to insist upon the school as the primary and most effective interest of social progress and reform in order that society may be awakened to realize what the school stands for, and aroused to the necessity of endowing the educator with sufficient equipment properly to perform his task.

I believe that education thus conceived marks the most perfect and intimate union of science and art conceivable in human experience.

I believe that the art of thus giving shape to human powers and adapting them to social service, is the supreme art; one calling into its service the best of artists; that no insight, sympathy, tact, executive power, is too great for such service.

I believe that with the growth of psychological service, giving added insight into individual structure and laws of growth; and with growth of social science, adding to our knowledge of the right organization of individuals, all scientific resources can be utilized for the purposes of education.

I believe that when science and art thus join hands the most commanding motive for human action will be reached; the most genuine springs of human conduct aroused and the best service that human nature is capable of guaranteed.

I believe, finally, that the teacher is engaged, not simply in the training of individuals, but in the formation of the proper social life.

I believe that every teacher should realize the dignity of his calling; that he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of proper social order and the securing of the right social growth.

I believe that in this way the teacher always is the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of God.

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Nice to know that in his senior years Howard Gardner agrees with me!

In recent times Howard Gardner might be said to have shifted his position in giving interviews such as the one HERE

This looks to be getting close to my position as set out in the model presented here SEE summaries and diagram HERE

However there is absolutely no bitterness, or envy, about the millions of dollars and the mega-bunch of bright-young-students he’s had to spend on his 7 or 8 intelligences – and then, in his senior years, indicating that that isn’t really the way to go!

Of course the general theory developed by Gardner is true but it didn’t best answer the question behind his late-in-the-day realization about ‘truth beauty and goodness’ (Wilber’s ‘I WE and IT voices’).

What was that question? It is this; “On what should we structure education, so as to get civilizing human beings and civilized societies?”

The answer as I model it is HERE

SEE also InFed

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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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Coming Home: an Introduction to Spirituality

There are many who yearn for spiritual food who are put off by the antics and corruption of religions. Perennial Philosophy or mystical paths such as Sufism can provide that food. But what are the basics of this core belief that transcends religions?

This is the beginning of an attempt to provide such a n i.ntroduction. Currently I am developing it in a question and answer format.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Home

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Waking up to the Spirit you have always been

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A book for the non religiously spiritual.

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Roger Prentice

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Introduction:

 

This is an attempt, using questions and answers, to present simply and clearly the truth about being spiritual – initially without reference to religions.

 

This is for family, friends and students – and all those who want to realize, i.e. realize the deepest in themselves. I haven’t achieved this to a high order. Many of you can out-do me in many good things. But it seems my task is to collect and re-present these insights. I am painfully aware of my shortcomings. But as Heschel says to be human is to suffer the knowledge of the difference between what we should be and what we are. The only ‘crime’ is to say ‘that’s the way I am and I’m not going to change’. To say that is also very dangerous. We are all designed to struggle toward our own perfection – to become more and realize our gifts more fully in the mutuality of love.

 

This is an action-based account i.e. there are a range of simple ‘To do’ practices that can help you relax into:

To do: Sit quietly as often as you can – and let your breath breathe you. (More to follow)

 

Part 1 is an attempt to present the ‘bare bones’ without reference to the great and the good, or to philosophies or religions.

 

Part 2 goes a stage deeper and introduces ideas from some of the great and the good – people such as Ken Wilber.

 

Part 3 goes deeper.

Coming Home

Part 1- Re-finding our-selves = re-finding the spirit we thought we had lost

 

Q. What is spirit?

A. All that isn’t simply physical.

 

Q. Does that mean mind as well as feelings?

A. Yes if we put mind and heart together we get ‘heart-mind’. Heart-mind = our interior landscape or simply consciousness – the great inner ‘sea’ of feelings and thoughts. Neither heart nor mind in this sense are physical.

 

Q. Is that all spirit is?

A. It a) is the life-force b) the force of attraction that holds all bodies together and c) it is walking on in the right spirit – until all becomes Spirit.

 

Q. Are there other names for the spiritual?

A. Yes many – love, energy, chi etc.

 

Q. So spirit, or love as attraction, holds everything together?

A. Yes. Another definition of being spiritual is ‘to live for others’, to be of service.

 

Q. What else comes from spirit, apart from the warmth of love?

A. The light of the mind, knowing. ‘Warmth and holding together’ and ‘the light of seeing and knowing’ – both flow from love.

 

Q. What about everyday activities? Is walking spiritual?

A. It can be.

 

Q. Is running spiritual?

A. It can be.

 

Q. Is Sky-diving spiritual?

A. It can be.

 

Q. Is sex spiritual?

A. It can be.

 

Q. Is breathing spiritual?

A. It can be. The great yogic teaching is that the breath is that which connects the physical and the spiritual.

 

Q. Why ‘can be’ in all of these?

A. It is ‘yes’ if we a) re-cognize such activities in the context of the spiritual and b) realize the eternal in ourselves.

But it is ‘no’ if we remain tied to the miseries of our own ego.

 

Q. Does that mean that everyone is spiritual?

A. Yes but each needs to plug in and switch on! We all spring from the Whole, just as sunlight emanates from the sun. But we have to allow ourselves to feel, & acknowledge, the awareness that deep down we know was there from the beginning.

 

Q. Is being spiritual a normal state of being?

A. Yes it is simply being more than self-centredness. It is being conscious of the Whole/the Source/the Spirit that is beyond our individual ego. This consciousness gradually widens the circle of its concern and allows us to lessen our attachment to our ego.

 

Q. So loving more widely – like the outflowing circles from a dropped stone in a pond – is freeing?

A. Yes – those who really achieve insight cease to be run by the pleasures and torments of the the ‘small self’ – the ego and tru freedom increases..

 

Q. Isn’t this something that only special people – saints or mystics – can do?

A. No it is part of being human and we all have such experiences. But we fail to realize their closeness and fullness, mainly because they are so simple & there all the time – we’ve failed to notice, for want of quietness and contemplation! In any case we are all mystical just as we are all philosophical its part of the package of being human – just as much as is being social, sexual and creative.

 

Q. How do we make those experiences a stronger part of our lives?

A. Contemplation or meditation – as one source says ‘Be still, and know …’.

 

Q. How do we stop or prevent ourselves being spiritual?

A. Not staying conscious of that Whole from which we spring (emanate). And by staying attached to the pleasures and torments of ego-identification.

 

Q. Is there any other sense that someone might not be, or stop being, spiritual?

A. When they are attached to any thing that prevents her/him from experiencing their true Self.

 

Q. How many kinds of attachment are there?

A. Many – we think of gross ones such as alcohol and drugs but many are subtle – materialism, status etc – some are very subtle, perhaps ultimately even the attachment to not being attached!

 

Q. What do I do if violent or filthy or self-destructive thoughts or ‘demons’ come into my head?

A. Let them pass as though they were moving across a cinema screen and say, ‘Hello good morning/ eve etc, thank you and goodbye.’ Our True Self is not our thoughts. Thoughts come from the ego.

 

Q. Why what good would that do?

A. It will help you understand that you are not your thoughts.

 

Q. If I’m not my thoughts then what am I?

A. You are part of the Whole, in the temporary emanation and form of being uniquely you for 80 or so years.

 

Q. The Whole of what?

A. The Universe and beyond (everything – and all that is beyond that isn’t a thing!)

 

Q. What else am I?

A. You are star-stuff made conscious (SEE the 3 recent BBC physics documentaries called ‘Atom’.)

 

Q. What else am I?

A. You are ‘a hairy bag of sea-soup’. (This is not only a joke but is an accurate statement about our physical make up and evolution!) Science and spirituality are two ways of approaching truth.

 

Q. Do rituals and practices help?

A. Yes providing we don’t allow them to breed complacency, narrowness, and self-satisfaction i.e. a state of attachment. The most important are contemplation/meditation, prayer, and service to others.

 

Q. What really is contemplation or meditation?

A. Being still to experience our True Self, instead of the mind chatter and ‘TV interference’ of the ego.

 

Q. And what is the ultimate secret of the universe?

A. It is pointed to, not described, in these the final sentences of Wilber’s The Eye of Spirit;

When the great Zen master Fa-ch’ang was dying, a squirrel screeched out on the roof. ‘It’s just this’ he said, ‘and nothing more’. SFB P.258

 

Q. I don’t geddit!

A. Here it is again from another master;

The world is illusory

Brahman alone is real;

Brahman is the world. (SFB p19)

 

Q. Still don’t geddit!

A. Here it is again from another master;

There is neither creation nor destruction,

Neither destiny nor free-will;

Neither path nor achievement;

This is the final truth. (One Taste p468)

Q. Still don’t geddit!

A. ‘Walk on‘ (The Buddha). Walk on in the right spirit – lighten up and have forgiving and compassionate fun – until all becomes Spirit.

 

End of Part 1 (To be developed)

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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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