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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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Sourceconfucius

I came across a piece about Confucius and his placing of tradition as the central element in his view of the way to good governance; 

He found himself surrounded by continuous warfare. The Chou Dynasty was in collapse and rival baronies vied for power. He heard of mass executions of 60,000, 80,000, and even 400,000 people, some being thrown into boiling cauldrons. Soldiers in chariots with ever-increasingly destructive weapons, bored with meaninglessness and the loss of any social cohesion, drank together and raided villages. Tradition and customs were scorned by a population of self-conscious individuals who were replacing social conventions with self-interest. Their parents’ and grandparents’ opinions and past actions were “obsolete.” Passions and factionalism poisoned any possibility of a rational order. 

There are three options in such a situation.

1) One is Hobbesian; life is nasty, brutish, and short, so there must be laws with teeth. The state must take over with a strong militia behind it, with innumerable laws and tight control over people’s lives.

2) Another option is sentimental utopianism. Mo Tzu, a proponent of what is known as Mohism, proposed chien ai, universal love. “Major calamities in the world… arise out of want of mutual love… what is the way of mutual love? It is to regard the state of others as one’s own, the houses of others as one’s own, the person’s of others as one’s self… it is all due to mutual love that calamities, strifes, complaints, and hatred are prevented from arising.”

In other words, in modern terms, the choices are some form of right- or left-wing totalitarianism. Either one will have too many “laws with teeth.” A cynical military state is crude, repressive, and paranoid. Utopia is silly; love never fails, but not everyone will do it. It must come from within, and therefore it can’t be forced. But they will try to force you through laws with teeth. Confucius knew better. 

3) Confucius rejected both options and turned to tradition. China’s golden age, the Age of the Grand Harmony, was his model. If mores could cultivated again, the traditions of civility which ruptured into factional wars would be reestablished. He would keep tradition at the center and reformulate where applicable. He lectured to his pupils on the ancient classics. He taught the great value of the power of example. Rulers, he said, can be great only if they themselves lead exemplary lives, and were they willing to be guided by moral principles, their states would inevitably become prosperous and happy. 

The principles of Confucianism are contained in the works handed down by Confucius and his followers…..

To read the full article and writings by Confucius go HERE

I found this piece as part of a large collection of poets, philosophers and theologians at the ‘Island of Freedom‘ site

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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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On YouTube there are a number of videos showing Ken Wilber in dialogue and answering questions

The posters of this video say;

The Catholic theologian Karl Rahner famously said “the Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic, or not a Christian at all.” Few people have impacted Christianity in this regard as has Fr. Thomas Keating. A Cistercian monk from St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado, Fr. Thomas has spent a lifetime in deep Christian practice, and in sharing the fruits of this contemplation with countless others. We were enormously blessed to host a dialogue with Fr. Thomas and Ken Wilber in April of 2006. In today’s featured video, Ken presents some of the foundational concepts of Integral spirituality.

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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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‘Definition of God’ – and it still leaves us with the job of living with each other through the unity of mystery

The nearest I have ever come across to a satisfactory definition of God is as follows;

God is a circle whose centre is everywhere, whose circumference is nowhere.

Anonymous, ‘The Book of the Twenty-four Philosophers‘ (12thC)

Of course it isn’t really a definition – it’s more like a Zen Master’s ‘pointing’ – but what a pointing!

Of course I like it because it expresses my theological perspective and worldview – that of immanence plus transcendence i.e. panentheism.

Of course unless we lie through assertion or dupe through self-deception we don’t really, unequivocally, know. The best we can have is reasonably high degrees of certainty – and then preferably by combining several ways of knowing including sense observation, reason, intuition and the precedent of community precedents. We in truth live with mystery. As it says in the Koran ‘Man is my mystery and I am his‘.

“We are united by our doubts and divided by our convictions.” Sir Peter Ustinov

Recognition of ignorance is strength not weakness as Saint Augustine pointed out;

I am in a sorry state, for I do not know what I do not know!

Because we have unique histories we have unique worldviews. In fact it is the fact that at our centre we need faith to bridge the gap that exists between knowing and not knowing between finite humanity and that other defining characteristic of God – infinity.

As I suggested elsewhere excesses of certitude cut us off from truth and can lead to horrors of cruelty – the Nazis were certain that Jews, and Gypsies were sub-human.

“Certitude divides and diversity unifies…..We have to elevate religion above politics…..”

H.R.H. Prince El-Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan BBC Newsnight 9th Feb 2006

All desire to be united is as the drop that longs to come one with the ocean – the rub, and the joy, is that the duality through which we learn is the dynamic that exists between oneness on the one hand, via contemplative letting go of the ego, and l-one-ly separation on the other.

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Wilberian Studies; integral and holistic studies that draw on inspiration from Ken Wilber

 I therefore sought to outline a philosophy of universal integralism. Put differently, I sought a world philosophy—or an integral philosophy—that would believably weave together the many pluralistic contexts of science, morals, aesthetics, Eastern as well as Western philosophy, and the world’s great wisdom traditions. Not on the level of details—that is finitely impossible; but on the level of orienting generalizations . . . a holistic philosophy for a holistic Kosmos, a genuine Theory of Everything.        —Ken Wilber (TOE, p. 38).

For my own work, and for the benefit of those with similar interests, I have decided to keep a list of sources that I come across that fall under the category of ‘Wilberian studies’. That is integral and holistic studies that draw on inspiration from Ken Wilber. These include leadership studies, education, philosophy, psychology etc. I am collecting these interesting variations on, and adaptions and applications of Wilber’s four quadrants and three voices of I, WE and IT. – SEE especially Wilber’s The Marriage of Sense and Soul.

My own diagram/application is at the foot of this posting.

Here are the first few other Wilberian ‘four quadrants’ variations, adaptations and applications ;

5 The Promise of Integralism A Critical Appreciation of Ken Wilber’s Integral Psychology by Christian de Quincey

wilber-grid2-four-quadrants.jpgHERE

4 Intimations of Jung in Integrative Psychology and in Ken Wilber’s Quadrants by John Giannini

four_arch-four-quadrants.gifHERE

3 Integral Spiral Dynamics by Michael Dowd

spiral-integral-spiral-dynamics-by-michael-dowd-four-quadrants.jpg HERE – click to see full size. Click HERE to see the 4 parts of the diagram in detail.

2 Developing Leadership Capacity: Searching for the Integral – by Wood and Hessler-Key

wilber2-wood-and-hessler-key.gifHERE

1 Prof Slaughter’s article

slaughter-3-1-four-quadrants.jpgHERE

My own application;
sunwalk-logothumbnail1.jpgHERE was to suggest that teachers see the raw material of their work as the flow of spirit (the student’s spirit and their own) – that spirit inevitably being socialized in to the three voices of I, WE and IT. Teaching thus becomes the work of nurturing refinement in abilities within the I WE and IT voices. The real concern is the learner and her/his holistic development
The real stuff of education thus is spirit – that uses community and cultural stuff drawn from the Arts, Humanities and Sciences – the Arts being the ‘food’ of the I voice, the Humanities being the food of the WE voice and the Sciences being the ‘food’ of the IT voice. Proceeding like this I have suggested constitutes a) integralization and b) spiritualization i.e. a paradigm shift and one that in my personal experience greatly strengthens the academic concerns of teaching.

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If you’ve struggled with what people actually mean by postmodernism and its relationship to modernism and pre-modernism you might appreciate these extracts from Ken Wilber’s Integral Psychology – I certainly did.

 

See also my other posting on I, WE & IT and also the posting on Mythos and Logos including Karen Armstrong’s work.

 

Modernism, pre-modernism and post-modernism

In other words, the four quadrants (or the Big Three) are actually the underpinnings of the modern differentiation of the values spheres of art, morals and science. Where premodernity had tended to fuse, or not clearly differentiate, the Big Three, modernity clearly differentiated them and set each free to pursue its own path. This differentiation was part of the dignity of modernity, which, in allowing each domain to pursue its own truths, allowed each to make stunning and far-reaching discoveries , discoveries that, even the harshest critics agree, set modernity apart from premodernity.

 

But something else set modernity apart. The differentiation of the big Three went too far into the dissociation of the Big Three : the dignity drifted into disaster, and this allowed an imperialistic science to dominate the other spheres and claim that they possessed no inherent reality of their own (scientism, scientific materialism, one-dimensional man, the disenchantment of the world). Gone was mind and soul and spirit, and in their place, as far as the eye could see, the unending dreariness of a world of its; ” a dull affair, soundless, scentless, colourless; merely the hurrying a material, endlessly, meaninglessly.”

 

And so it came about that virtually the entire spectrum of consciousness, and certainly its higher levels, (soul and spirit), were reduced to permutations and combinations of matter and bodies. Put bluntly, all ‘Is’ and ‘we’s’ were reduced to ‘its’, to objects of the scientific gaze, which no matter how long or hard it looked, could find nothing resembling the Great Nest of human possibilities, but saw only endless patterns of process ‘its’, scurrying here and there. Integral Psychology P.64

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Thus , it seems that premodernity had at least one great strength that modernity lacked: it recognized the entire Great Nest of Being, which is basically a general map of higher human potentials. But premodernity also had at least one great weakness; it did not fully differentiate the value spheres at any of the levels of the Great Nest. Thus, among other things, objective-scientific investigation of the spectrum was hampered; the specific and often cultural expressions of the Great Nest were taken to be universally valid; and the moral injunctions recommended to all were tied to those limited cultural expressions. Giordano Bruno might have experienced many of he upper levels of the Great Nest, but because the value spheres were not fully differentiated at large and their individual freedoms were not protected by law and custom, the Inquisition cheerfully burned him at the stake.

 

Modernity, on the other hand, did manage to differentiate the Big Three of art, morals and science, on a large scale, so that each began to make phenomenal discoveries. But as the Big Three dissociated, and scientific colonialism began its aggressive career, all ‘Is’ and all ‘we’s’ were reduced to patterns of objective ‘its’, and thus all the interior stages of consciousness – reaching from body to mind to soul to spirit – were summarily dismissed as so much superstitious nonsense. The Great Nest collapsed into scientific materialism – into what we will be calling “flatland” – and there the modern world, by and large, still remains.

 

Our job, it thus appears, is to take the strengths of both premodernity and modernity, and jettison their weaknesses. Pp 64-65

To re-legitimize other ways of knowing, to work clearly with and between all three I, WE & IT ways of knowing (plus community-tradition) brings the possibility of re-enchantment and balanced development of the individual and of societies!

The model at the heart of this site utilizes Wilber’s triadic structure you can read a summary HERE.

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

Summaries are HERE

 

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