ABSTRACT

A Teaching Paradigm For Humane Education

In the traditional paradigm of education, school education was conceived as an effective way for adapting children to the rise of industrialism and to teach them the knowledge and the discipline which they would need to adapt to the demands of an industrial society (1). Traditional education emphasizes the mechanics of learning factual knowledge and focuses on the methods of teaching (2). Traditional methods of teaching were justified by the behavioural sciences and based on the premise that learning involves the conscious part of the brain only (3). In the context of conditioned learning, the role of the teacher is to define the outcomes of learning and to decide what and how their students should learn (4). In the context of learning outcomes and lesson plans, the evaluation of learning is in terms of conditioned responses and passive learning (5). Knowledge and understanding are assessed and measured in numerical terms... success is met with the rewards of recognition and high grades; failure is met with lack of recognition and the punishment of low and failing grades (6). In the context of this standardized grading system, children learn to depend for their motivation on factors which are extrinsic to themselves... they become extrinsically motivated (7). Declining motivation is thought to be a cause for declining standards and the traditional paradigm of education is being seriously questioned today (9).

              A SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY* INTO THE RATIONALE FOR HOLISTIC EDUCATION: EDUCATION FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY and ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY                                  

(*The word 'scientific' is meant to be used in the sense of 'holistic science' which focuses on an issue beyond the limits of a given field or 'discipline' i.e. 'transdisciplinary inquiry'. "Transdisciplinary inquiry involves multiple disciplines and the space  between them with the possibility of new perspectives beyond those disciplines." (Roger Stack... Holistic Education Network, Tasmania ) 

 "A scientific inquiry should be characterized by a faith in the truth of a rational vision; faith in the hypothesis as a likely and plausible proposition; faith in the final theory ...This faith is rooted in one's own experience, in the confidence in one's power of thought, observation and judgement...rational faith is rooted in an independent conviction based upon one's own productive observing and thinking." (Fromm, Man For Himself 205)       

          Is there some sense in which principles of pedagogy can be derived from our knowledge of man as a species - from knowledge of his characteristic growth and dependence, of the properties of his nervous system, of his modes of dealing with culture?" (Jerome Bruner, 1971, Relevance of Education New York: W.W. Norton & Co. Inc. 118)

theme: The problem for education is the search for a rational framework on which to base a more integrative practice of education for responsible freedom i.e. education of the whole person or  'holistic education'

Ecological susainability is the ability to maintain the conditions which support life on earth through the appropriate management of ecosystems including those involving human beings.

The traditional teaching paradigm is seriously questioned today. A paradigm in education is a theoretical framework within which educational practice is designed. The so-called 'traditional' paradigm of education is based on the belief that knowledge is finite and learning is a matter of conditioning and is therefore passive. The teacher's role is perceived in terms of transferring knowledge from those who have it to those who don't. Motivation for passive learning depends on external rewards and is therefore extrinsic to the organism i.e. 'extrinsic motivation'.    

In view of recent findings in brain research or 'neuroscience'  learning is in fact a naturally active process of understanding the significance of environmental stimuli... a process which is rooted in the instinct for 'self-preservation' and the intrinsic need of the organism to adapt to its environment i.e. 'adaptability'. Human adaptability depends on the individual's intrinsic capacity for growth and development based on provision of the right conditions human motives for learning or 'human needs' i.e. 'intrinsic motivation'. Intrinsic motivation involves the response of the organism as a whole. Effective learning is 'holistic'. Education for adaptability is 'holistic education'.

  The paradigm of holistic education is described in terms of a philosophical framework based on the   fundamental principles of human growth and development i.e.'human nature The human organism is a social organism which depends for adaptation and survival on the full development of a social brain. The human brain is specialized for the functions of self-awareness and moral consciousness or  'conscience'. Conscience or 'soul' is a function of moral intelligence or  ‘social intelligence’. Social intelligence is a function of social responsibility and depends on intuition or 'wisdom' based on understanding and compassion i.e. ‘creative intelligence’. Creative intelligence is the result of holistic education in the context of freedom for development of human potential - spiritual growth and self-empowerment which derives from human creativity and productiveness or 'work'. Development of human potential depends on learning from experience i.e. 'experiential learning'. Experiential learning is active learning or 'brain-based learning'. Brain-based learning results in the cultivation of intelligence based on development of the human potential i.e. 'self-actualisation'.  The teacher's role is defined in terms of the facilitation of learning i.e. 'facilitator of learning'.

 

 EXPLORATION OF A RATIONAL BASIS FOR HOLISTIC EdUCATION:                                                                     METHOD OF STUDY ... 'structural analysis'... systems method of 'structuralism'.

The study is scientific in the sense of 'systems theory' and 'holistic science' : the systems approach of 'structuralism'.

The thesis involves a wholistic perception of the human organism as a social organism... 'homo sapiens'- the thinking hominid The nature of the human personality or 'human nature' is the foundational assumption for rational education... 'holistic education'.

The method of study is concerned with the search for an underlying pattern of structural phenomena which give rise to significant surface manifestations in the form of apparently separate phenomena.

 "The specialist concentrates on detail and disregards the wider structure which gives it context. The 'new' scientist concentrates on structure on all levels of magnitude and complexity, and fits detail into its general framework. He discerns relationships and situations...We ourselves are a part of the connected complexity with which we are surrounded in nature...To have an adequate grasp of reality, we must look at things in systems, with properties ('emergent properties') and structures (systems of meaning derived from connections i.e. 'framework') of their own." (Laszlo, E., The Systems of the World: The Natural Philosophy of the New Developments in the Sciences. New York: George Brazillier.)

 "...the ballast of factual information, so far from being just about to sink us, is growing daily less... In all sciences we are being progressively relieved of the burden of singular instances, the tyranny of the particular. We need no longer record the fall of every apple." (Medawar, P. The Threat and the Glory: Reflections on Science and Scientists. New York: Harper Collins, 1990. xv)

 "Freedom does not consist in keeping up an uninterrupted and unimpeded external activity, but is something achieved through conquering, by personal reflection, the difficulties that prevent immediate overflow into action and spontaneous success." (John Dewey, How We Think 88)                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                        

holistic science  is structuralist as opposed to classical science which is reductionist.

 "The specialist concentrates on detail and disregards the wider structure which gives it context. The 'new' scientist concentrates on structure on all levels of magnitude and complexity, and fits detail into its general framework. He discerns relationships and situations...We ourselves are a part of the connected complexity with which we are surrounded in nature...To have an adequate grasp of reality, we must look at things in systems, with properties and structures of their own." (Laszlo, E. The Systems of the World: The Natural Philosophy of the New Developments in the Sciences. New York: George Brazillier.)

"The supreme task... is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction. There is no logical path to these laws; only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding of experience, can reach them" (Carl Rogers Freedom To Learn)

The study is not concerned with the search for content and does not use the specialist's method of concentration on detail. The study is not based on any kind of experimental research, surveys or questionnaires and does not require statistical analysis of numerical data. The study is based on analysis of the literature and is concerned with the search for a framework... pattern of thought hich creates meaning.... system of meaning which emerge... arise from patterns of interconnection... 'structure' which gives context to the content. Based on literary analysis, the study is concerned with the wholistic perspective and uses the systems method of 'structuralism'. Structuralism is a method of analyzing phenomena through the understanding of their root causes. It involves the search for an underlying 'pattern of deep structures' which give rise to surface phenomena. It is a method which places emphasis on the connections and relationships among the interdependent elements which make up the totality of overtly perceived phenomena. It is a method of linking surface manifestations of phenomena in terms of their interrelatedness. It is a method which searches for a synthesis of superficially diverse phenomena. Using the method of structuralism with the systems approach.On this basis "the superficial detail and diversity that appear on the surface prove to be less significant than the coherent pattern of the deep structures which give rise to what is overtly perceived. Emphasis is placed upon the self-regulating system of relationships and transformations among the interdependent elements comprising the totality or whole of a phenomenon." (Rosen, H. The Development of Sociomoral Knowledge: A Cognitive-Structural Approach New York: Columbia University Press, 1980 page 2) 

Study involves fitting the details into the general framework or 'sructure'... Gather information, find relationships... 'connections'... synthesize for overall or 'holistic' perspective.  The study is concerned with the wholistic perspective and uses the systems method of 'structuralism'.

 The study of a given topic gains in breadth and clarity when it is considered from different perspectives....

 biology biological evolution

psychology Psychology is concerned with the causes and mechanisms of mental functions, psychological patterns and psychological determinants.  is concerned with the causes and mechanisms of mental functions, mental processes underlying the individual's behavior; psychological patterns and psychological determinants.

anthropology is concerned with cultural influences on the individual's thought patterns and behavior... study of human cultures; history, is concerned with the influences of historical traditions on the individual's cultural environment

semantics is concerned with the underlying patterns in the uses of words and symbols.  word meanings

Relationships... connections... patterns of interconnections...

 Structuralism is a method of analyzing phenomena through the understanding of phenomena via analysis of their root causes... i.e. 'meaning'. As a method of analysis for understanding... 'structural analysis'... structuralism is concerned with meaning rather than 'dogma' of content.

 Rather than the search for content... rather than a dogma of content  structural analysis involves the search for context.... an underlying pattern order, significance .. of structural phenomena which give rise to significant surface manifestations.of phenomena... . ('ethics', 'human nature' and 'education' are surface manifestations of an underlying pattern of human development) relating to the natural human striving for 'self-actualisation'... characterised by intelligence required for self-preservation.

 Rather than the search for content, the study involves the search for context... the search for an underlying pattern of structural phenomena which give rise to significant surface manifestations in the form of apparently separate phenomena.... Structuralism is a method of analyzing the surface manifestations of phenomena through the understanding of their significance in terms of their root causes. Using the method of structuralism, emphasis is placed on the connections and relationships among the interdependent elements which make up the totality or whole. It involves the making of a synthesis.

systems method of 'structuralism'. Structuralism is a method of analyzing the surface manifestations of phenomena through the understanding of their significance in terms of their root causes. Using the method of structuralism, It is a method which places emphasis is placed on the connections and relationships among the interdependent elements which make up the totality or whole.  which searches for a synthesis of superficially diverse phenomena. It involves the search for an underlying 'pattern of deep structures' which give rise to the overtly perceived surface manifestations... apparently separate phenomena... explainable in terms of the underlying pattern of human development.  It involves the search for an underlying 'pattern of deep structures' which give rise to surface phenomena... the overtly perceived surface manifestations... emphasis on the connections and relationships among the interdependent elements which make up the totality of overtly perceived phenomena. It is a method of linking surface manifestations of phenomena in terms of their interrelatedness. Structuralist explanations can be tested and refuted... The aim of structural analysis is to reunite perspectives thought to be mutually exclusive...   Stuctural analysis concentrates on internal relationships between elements rather than on the functions of the elements themselves.The structuralist explanation is more persuasive because it embraces more phenomena..

the systems approach..."...the superficial detail and diversity that appear on the surface prove to be less significant than the coherent pattern of the deep structures which give rise to what is overtly perceived. Emphasis is placed upon the self-regulating system of relationships and transformations among the interdependent elements comprising the totality or whole of a phenomenon." (Rosen. H The Development of Sociomoral Knowledge: A Cognitive-Structural Approach. New York: Columbia University Press, 1980. p.2)  

Binary oppositions  male/female, public/private good/bad etc. reveal the unconscious logic or 'grammar' of a system.

RELATIONSHIP  between br neurosciece and EDUCATIONAL THEORY

 The full maturation of the inherent potential in the 'productive' character, self-realization, is the aim of the natural process of human development ('science of man'), of the natural educational process ('science of education') and of natural humanistic ethics ('science of ethics'). Since each of these three inquiries is directly involved with the study of human development, then the natural laws related to the natural, biologically based stages of human development constitute the guiding principles of 'science of education'.

The scientific definition of 'human nature'... intrinsic value system forms the basis of education

 The mind's perception of reality is a function of the mind's level of consciousness'. The level of consciousness is a function of biological mechanisms inherent in the brain. A product of millions of years of evolution, the brain functions wholistically

For all animal species the skills required for survival are instinctive and genetically transmitted. Survival of the human species has depended on the genetic transmission of the instinctive capacities for creative intelligence and symbolic communication. Human evolution is based on the genetic transmission of cognitive and communicative skills: the ability to communicate with language, the ability to learn, the ability to think logically and creatively, the ability to plan with foresight, and the ability to behave intelligently. Creative intelligence is a human characteristic which evolved because it had survival value both for the individual and for the species. Survival of the organism and evolution of the human species depended on the development of natural creative intelligence. Survival of the species depended on intelligent behavior coupled with the ability for speech and language. The development of both intelligent behavior and language enabled the individual to prepare in advance for situations which required preparative measures to insure the survival of the organism and thus the survival of the species. "Preparation for possible action in situations not as yet existent in actuality is an essential condition of, and factor in, all intelligent behavior."2 The ability for speech and language originated and evolved as a human characteristic which had survival value for the individual and the species. Speech and language allowed for the preparation of future possible action, thus increasing chances of survival in situations which were not yet existent in actuality. This was necessary for the survival of a species not endowed with the other physical characteristics of other animals. The survival of the human species depended on the development of specialized brain functions which resulted in the ability for speech, for tool making, for intelligent thinking and intelligent behavior. 2. John Dewey. Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. New York, London: Holt Rinehat and Winston, 1938, 56

Language is "a strictly biological mode of behavior, emerging in natural continuity from earlier organic activities ...serving a medium of communication... It is language, originating as a medium of communication in order to bring about deliberate cooperation and competition in conjoint activities, that has conferred upon existential things their signifying or evidential power. Language transformed animal activities into intelligent behavior having the properties which, when formulated are logical in nature." (John Dewey. Ibid. 48) In producing intelligent behavior, language provided human experience with a new dimension - 'culture' and all that it entails. A product of language, culture is the only means of transmitting acquired skills and information to subsequent generations. Survival of the human species as well as the human individual has depended on the conjoint evolution of natural creative intelligence and the ability to learn and communicate. Dependent for survival on creative intelligence and intelligent behavior, the human species has been able to control its own environment. With the capacity for language, the human species has created an artificially complex 'reality'. In a continual effort to adapt to the artificial environment and to create the resulting necessary changes, the human being has had to devise words to deal with the complexity of the environment which he has created. In efforts to understand his environment and to understand himself, terms are continually invented to communicate his perceptions of the reality which he creates for himself.  In efforts to understand his environment and to understand himself, terms are continually invented to communicate his perceptions of the reality which he creates for himself. The terms themselves result in the artifical fragmentation of the natural flow of human existence. Terms such as 'science of ethics,' 'science of human nature,' and 'science of education' create a fragmented reality. From a wholistic perception of reality, the concepts of 'ethics', 'human nature' and 'education' are surface manifestations of an underlying pattern of human development. It is suggested that there is a pattern of structural phenomena which underlies the overt manifestations of human nature, human values and human education. This underlying pattern involves the biological striving for survival of the individual human organism and the survival of the human species. The underlying pattern ('Bateson's 'pattern which connects') which connects the 'science of human nature' with the 'science of ethics' and the 'science of education' is the natural development of human intelligence for the survival of the individual human being and the survival of the human species. )

see Mordecai Gordon Ten Myths... great-ideas.org 

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 Method of study...  method of analysis   involves a wholistic perception of the human being as a biological organism (species -'homo sapiens'- the thinking hominid)...                                                  

 relies on synthesis of interpretive studies... using them to support the main argument that a real understanding of human nature is the basis for a rational philosophy of education.

      The thesis topic is concerned with the search for an underlying pattern of structural phenomena which give rise to significant surface manifestations in the form of apparently separate phenomena.

 

 Method of study...  method of analysis  The proposed method of study involves a wholistic perception of the human being as a biological organism (species -'homo sapiens'- the thinking hominid.)

external links:

structuralism... www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/structuralism