person-centred education and holistic education

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Theorizing your practice & practising your theory: values & philosophies underpinning holistic education as a movement.


  • 1. Presentation for the Uni. of Sussex Saturday 31st Jan 2009 Dr Roger Prentice
    • Theorizing your practice & practising your theory:
    • values & philosophies underpinning holistic education as a movement.
  • 2. The 4 Cs - at its simplest I will be suggesting that the human spirit, and therefore education, is intra-personally about;
    • 1 Caring,
    • 2 Creativity and
    • 3 Criticality
    • All of which we experience, learn and express inter-personally in 4 Community . The BBC video Socrates for Six-year-olds shows my exemplary programme for the Criticality dimension i.e. PFC, and shows an outstanding example of Person-centred teaching. All my work from, and back to, the classroom.
  • 3. Video Socrates for six-year olds
    • QUESTION: Is this Holistic Education? How far and in what ways is it Hol. Ed.?
    • -----0-----
    • Looks at American philosopher Matthew Lipman and his theories that conventional education is failing children because it doesn't teach them to think and question. It takes a look at his "philosophy for children" programme in which students are given the powerful tools of logic, reason and ethics with which to stretch their minds, with some startling successes amongst both bright well-of children and teenage "non-hopers" from inner-city areas.
    • Features American philosopher Matthew Lipman, who in the late 1960s voiced a radical idea: that before children can learn to absorb facts, they must be taught how to think. His theories have been channelled through an educational programme called Philosophy for Children, aimed at pupils of all ages and cultures. Teachers are filmed working in schools in two contrasting environments - a smart suburb of New Jersey, and in Newark, one of the toughest cities in the USA.
  • 4. If you are an experienced professional the purpose of an MA, it has been suggested, is:
    • To more fully articulate the model/s that is within the blood and bones of your daily practice.
    • You do this via your reading of public knowledge, conducting a piece of research that involves your practice and expressing the work in e.g. a long essay.
    • At best you research your practice and practise your research in a ongoing cycle and in doing so you live your values more fully in your practice.
    • We all construe the world in particular ways i.e. we are walking models - See non-mainstream PCP psychologist George Kelly
    • We need to be clear on what a model is. Most theoretical models seem to be vague. The more vague they are the more difficult they are for others to adopt.
    • NB - If you havent articulated your own model you are using someone elses!
  • 5. My brief for today
    • 1) Provide an overview of holistic education (and its diverse models/creating your own model)
    • 2) Introduce the key ideas & readings of Hol. Ed.
    • 3) Discuss my PhD (research findings)
    • My time allocation 90 hours (is that correct?)
  • 6.
    • 1) An overview of Holistic Education
    • (and articulating your own model)
  • 7. 17 Central Concerns of Holistic, Human-centred or Person-centred education 1 to 8
    • The central importance of giving a satisfactory, balanced, appropriate account of :
    • 1 what it is to be fully & positively human. (Can anything be more imp than this question?)
    • 2 the nature & characteristics of Holistic, Human-centred or Person-centred education.
    • 3 the place of story and storying.
    • 4 the central importance of meaning, its making and subjective & objective
    • 5 appropriate & challenging forms of construing (subjective forms of expression)
    • 6 appropriate & challenging forms of and de-construction (objective forms - 'reading' analysing etc)
    • 7 the physical, psychological & spiritual dimensions of learning & their inter-relationships
    • 8 the re-establishment of the central importance of wisdom.
  • 8. 17 Central Concerns of Holistic, Human-centred or Person-centred education 9 - 27
    • The central importance of giving a satisfactory, balanced, appropriate account of :
    • 9 engendering and managing volition. 10 active and experiential learning
    • 11 love /affect 12 knowing, knowledge & personal transformation
    • 13 community including friendship groups, class, family & wider community
    • 14 multi-level-dialogue intrapersonal and within friendship groups, class, family & wider comm.
    • 15 the (chosen) sources of higher-order values & beliefs,
    • 16 the nature & implications of those higher-order values and beliefs - inc. the Whole, the nature of reality & the inevitable context of mystery (world-view)
    • 17 finding & utilizing best available, appropriate, content for each element
  • 9. Too few Wholists in relation to number of specialists
    • The 17 concerns constitute
    • a) a set of design criteria and
    • b) a set of evaluative criteria.
    • You can study bits but we have an excessive number of specialists and far too few expert generalists or Wholists.
    • There are people who help e.g. including good journalists
    • Ideally a school-leaver, I suggest, would have a balance i.e. be a generalist as well as a specialist
  • 10. What is Holistic Education?
    • Holistic education is
    • a philosophy of education based on the premise that each person finds identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to spiritual values such as compassion and peace.
    • Holistic education aims to call forth from people an intrinsic reverence for life and a passionate love of learning .
    • Ron Miller
  • 11. What is it to function holistically - as a holistic practitioner ? Ultimately my answer =?
    • To function as a holistic professional is,
    • To proceed in all particulars with a deep sense of the whole. RP
  • 12. But in steps along the path of development it is;
    • 1) consciously connecting ever-widening contexts, and
    • 2) realizing encounters with the Whole.
  • 13. Four key quotations :
    • Firstly Jungs;
    • The utterances of the heart unlike those of the discriminating intellect always relate to the whole.
    • Secondly Heschels;
    • Concepts are delicious snacks with which we try to alleviate our amazement.
    • Just found - "Concepts cannot render a living account of our multifarious experience. Exit the philosopher chastened. Enter the poet cleansed." - Peter Abbs
    • Thirdly Peter Abbs;
    • "No existential engagement, no deep learning."
  • 14. Fourthly Wilber on the parts and the Whole;
    • To understand the whole it is necessary to understand the parts. To understand the parts, it is necessary to understand the whole. Such is the circle of understanding.
    • We move from part to whole and back again, and in that dance of comprehension, in that amazing circle of understanding we come alive to meaning, to value, and to vision: the very circle of understanding guides our way, weaving together the pieces, healing the fractures, mending the torn and fractured fragments, lighting the way ahead - this extraordinary movement from part to whole and back again, with healing the hallmark of every step, and grace the tender reward.
    • The Eye of Spirit; an integral vision for a world gone slightly mad by Ken Wilber (1997) pub. Shambhala p.1.
  • 15. Some d


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