Consultation document (pdf format) see  http://ec.europa.eu/education/school21/index_en.html

Summary of questions: 1. How can schools be organized in such a way as to provide all students with the full range of competences? 2. How can schools equip young people with the competencies and motivation to make learning a lifelong activity? 3. How can school systems contribute to supporting longterm sustainable economic economic growth in Europe? 4. How can school systems best respond to the need to promote equity to respond cultural diversity and to reduce early school leaving? 5. If schools are to respond to each pupil’s individual learning needs, what can be done regarding curricula, school organisation, and the role of teachers? 6. How can school communities help to prepare young people to be responsible citizens, in line with fundamental values such as peace and tolerance of diversity? 7. How can school staff be trained and supported to meet the challenges they face? 8. How can school communities best receive the leadership and motivation they need to succeed? How can they be empowered to develop in response to changing needs and demands of the 21st century?

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      When institutions of education focus on the individual's preparation as a 'contributing member of society' instead of preparing the individual for his own future as a self-responsible social being they neglect to foster the individual's innate capacities for adaptation to changing social conditions... incapacitated individuals in a changing society constitute the human evidence of an anomalous social situation.

"Surely an education designed for the nineteenth century industrial society does not address the needs of our time. Our schools do not speak to the confused, fearful condition of the young generation who must inherit this troubled culture and this threatened planet… there is no longer a societal consensus supporting the nineteenth century model of common schooling. A radically different paradigm, not yet clearly defined, is emerging... The major purpose of schooling until now has been to preserve the hegemony of the established culture to induct each new generation into the dominant worldview... But we can conceive education as a genuine community of learning in which new meanings, new metaphors are generated... sense of reverence toward nature and life - respect for diversity, spontaneity and the inherent wisdom of organic growth - it is essential that we draw on our deepest source of renewal and creativity: the imagination. The holistic critique calls for an integration of rational, empirical, analytical modes of knowing with the imaginative and intuitive... The recent so-called 'holistic education movement' is the manifestation of the concern for an education which 'draws forth' (from the Latin 'educare') the "latent capacities and sensitivities of the individual". (Miller R. et al. The Renewal of Meaning in Education: Responses to the Cultural and Ecological Crisis of our Times Brandon,VT: Holistic Education Press, 1993 p.20-23)

Education as preparation for life of self-empowerment or ‘freedom’ as responsible freedom is education for adaptability

Within the worldview of reductionist science... reductionist paradigm... which shaped traditional education, the reality of being human is not scientifically recognized. Traditional education as the expression of power and politics depends on conditioning of the individual and results in the inefficient use of the brain and subsequent limited perception which is insufficient for the resolution of problems in the complex world of the ‘global village’. For children growing up in the modern world of the information age, an effective philosophical framework or 'paradigm' for educational theory must be based on the knowledge of learning as a natural process of functioning of the brain. Insights into the physiological mechanisms of natural learning or  the 'biology of learning provide evidence to support a new paradigm of educational theory i.e. education for the person as a whole or 'holistic education'. Holistic education is the practice of freedom for creativity and productivity or 'work'. "The highest function of education is to bring about an integrated individual who is capable of dealing with life as a whole." (Krishnamurti Education and the Significance of Life 1953)

Emphasis on extrinsic motivation conditions the individual to perceive the social reality the way the dominant curriculum maintains that it should be and prevents the individual from recognizing it for what it really is. Conditioned learning is ineffective for human adaptability because it results in limited perception of reality... 'perception problem'...  What is needed today is an education which fosters the individual's ability to adapt to changing social conditions i.e. social adaptation or 'adaptability'. The highest consciousness state - 'transpersonal state' - is the most effective for human responsiveness to change i.e. 'adaptability'.

Adaptation to the social environment and to changing social conditions depends on the individual's capacity for adaptive behaviour. Adaptive behaviour is creative behaviour. The individual's capacity for creative behaviour depends on the capacity for rational decision making which in turn depends on the ability to make evaluations of the environment which are accurate. The accuracy of evaluation depends on the degree to which the individual has been able to develop his/her critical faculties or 'critical consciousness'. The development of the critical consciousness depends on the extent to which the individual is able to engage in 'self-directed learning'... education which encourages self-directed learning in the context of an environment which dignifies and respects human experience... freedom of self-expression and enlightenment through dialogue. Education for enlightenment is defined in terms of the individual's intentional efforts at self-directed learning, alone and with others, in all human situations. In the critical practice of education, education is life and learning is a way of being. The emphasis is on competency in life and on the function of learning as a requirement for survival and adaptation to a changing social conditions. Adaptation to the demands of a complex social environment depends on the individual's ability to learn how to learn. Increasingly, the role of the educator is to facilitate learning and to help the individual to learn how to learn. The facilitative teacher helps with the learning rather than providing the content for learning. The content or 'curriculum' is life. The goals or 'outcomes' are discoveries of new meanings of life and new reasons for living. Education for enlightenment is education for life. Education for life revolves around the non-vocational ideals of human values. Education for life dignifies and respects people and their experiences. Education for life focuses on experience as the greatest resource for learning. Education for life is a function of learning from life experience. Learning from experience is the basis for effective education. And responsibility for the evaluation and assessment of learning experiences is best left to the learners themselves. Education for life is 'learner-centered'. Learner-centered education is education for 'self-direction' and 'individualism'. Every individual - with sufficient effort - can create a personal world which is compatible with their instincts, their interests and their desires and the same personal world can be compatible with the interests of the society as well. Education for life is liberatory education. And as self-directed learning, it implies emancipation from repressive interests. Education for life tries to break with external authorities and authoritarian forms of education. The responsibility for definitions, processes and evaluations of learning rests with those who are struggling to learn. Through a critical pedagogical philosophy and teaching practice ...pedagogical methods of the critical educational practice... the educator helps the individual to take responsibility for framing choices and making decisions. In this way, learners are given the means of control over their lives and their own learning. It is important to focus on the political implications of self-directed learning.

Adaptability for the human organism depends on the ablity to learn and relearn. Education for adaptability is education which emphasizes the learning process. Educational theory which emphasizes the process of learning emphasizes motivation based on learner interest i.e. 'intrinsic motivation'. Educational practice which is based on intrinsic motivation is education for 'self-empowerment'. Education for self-empowerment is education which fosters growth through learning i.e. freedom in education or 'libratory education'.

 Human adaptability is a function of human motivation. The different types of motivation or 'motivational states' depend on the extent to which the human needs have been met in the individual's development. The range of motivational states is a function of the level of personality development or 'mental health'. An individual's mental health depends on the sociocognitive level of moral development or 'morality' i.e. their level of moral consciousness or 'consciousness state'. Fully functioning consciousness of the so-called 'highest consciousness state' is the most effective for human adaptability. Attainment depends on complete personality development which is a function of development of conscience - the human 'soul'. Development of conscience which is required for adaptability of the human organism as a social organism is a function of appropriate education based on the human potential for holistic learning i.e. 'optimalearning'. "Two stonecutters were engaged in similar activity. Asked what they were doing, one answered "I'm squaring up this block of stone." The other replied, "I'm building a cathedral." The first may have been underemployed; the second was not. Clearly what counts is not so much the work a person does, but what he perceives he is doing it for." (Abraham Maslow. Toward a Psychology of  Being. 1968)

Human adaptability depends on education which allows for the integration of learning with life i.e. natural learning or ‘experiential learning’. Experiential learning is a function of normal human development... personal growth and self-empowerment as the basis for the cultivation of human intelligence as ‘creative intelligence’.

The cultivation of creative intelligence is required for accurate evaluation and effective decision-making for creative and therefore adaptive behaviour and depends on education for self-empowerment or ‘freedom’. Creative intelligence is a function of moral consciousness or ‘conscience’. Development of conscience depends on freedom in education as freedom for learning... freedom for creativity and productiveness or ‘work’. Meaningful work engages the person as a whole in the construction of moral consciousness or ‘conscience’... it is the basis for human development and the organisation of schools for humanity.

  The European public has been presented with a consultation document describing a number of anomalous situations found in the educational scene in Europe at the present time. The significant problems are defined in the form of eight questions to be addressed in opinion papers submitted by members of the public who have an expressed interest in European educational policy. The document is available in all the official EU-languages at the following address: http://ec.europa.eu/education/school21/index_en.html

Public consultation "Schools for the 21st century"

This public consultation addresses all those interested in the development of school education in Europe. The Commission's consultation document raises a series of issues that are deemed to be crucial for schools in Europe (such as schools and key competences, schools and social inclusion and the role of teachers, among others) on which contributions are sought.

Member States are responsible for the organisation and content of education and training systems, and the role of the European Union is to support them, for example through the new Lifelong Learning Programme or the 'Education and Training 2010 Work Programme', which facilitates the exchange of information, data and best practice through mutual learning.

Education lies at the centre of efforts to improve the Union's competitiveness and social cohesion. Some of the most important questions and challenges which have the greatest significance for the well-being of individuals and the good of society relate to the quality of initial education and training.

It is against this background that the European Commission has decided to launch this public consultation to identify those aspects of school education on which joint action at European Unionlevel could be effective in supporting Member States in the modernisation of their systems.

If you wish to make a contribution to this consultation please:

1. read our Consultation Document;

2. create a MS Word (or compatible) document;

3. write in any official language;

4. state clearly at the start of your contribution your name, the name of the organisation you represent (if any), and the reason for your interest in the school (e.g. parent, pupil, teacher …)

5. decide which of the questions in the document you wish to respond to;

6. set out your opinions in no more than 4 pages of A4 (12 pt);

send your completed text by e-mail only to the following address: eac-schools-consult@ec.europa.eu, no later than 15 Oct ober

We will acknowledge receipt of your contribution.

 

 
    There is general concern everywhere for the kind of problems described in the consultation paper presented by the European Commission to the European public for opinions about educational policy for the 21st century. I believe that it is of the general opinion of many non-Europeans as well as Europeans that the resolution of many problems in schools everywhere could be resolved if they were addressed in a philosophical framework or 'paradigm' other than the traditional one which seemed appropriate for 20th century industrial society. There is a supposedly 'new' paradigm of larger scope - namely the paradigm of education for development of the individual as a whole' or 'holistic education'. The so-called 'cognitive paradigm of holistic education is appropriate to the needs of individuals (and therefore societies) in their efforts to adapt to the challenges of modern life on a threatened planet. The aim of holistic education is the cultivation of human intelligence as understanding or 'cognition' which is required for effective decision-making and adaptive behaviour… more appropriate as the context within which to solve problems we all face in the 21st century.
 

According to the opinion expressed here, the problems described in the document are in fact interrelated ‘pseudoproblems’ which cannot be resolved in the old paradigm of traditional education which was considered adaptable for the industrial society of the 20th century. They can only be resolved if addressed in a context which is appropriate to the information age of the 21st century. It is possible to formulate the appropriate educational policies if, and only if there is a prior shift in the philosophical framework or ‘paradigm’in which they are asked.... a shift to a paradigm of larger scope… (enlarge the context to solve the problem)… a shift from the false assumptions underlying the traditional paradigm (education for the ‘good of society’) to the correct assumptions underlying the paradigm of education for individual understanding or ‘cognition’ i.e. the so-called ‘cognitive paradigm’. The traditional paradigm is based on the false assumption that learning is a passive process of conditioning while the cognitive paradigm is based on the correct assumption that learning is a naturally active process involving the holistic functioning of the human brain. Furthermore the natural aim of education is development of the brain as a ‘maker of meaning of experience’ required for creative decision-making and adaptability i.e. ‘creative intelligence’. Development of human intelligence depends on education which is appropriate to the learning needs of the individual as a whole and depends on education which provides conditions of freedom for personal growth. Freedom in education of holistic education’ for personal development enables the individual to become adaptable to the flux of changing times is a fundamental human right. According to of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights «Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and human freedoms…» (Article 26 paragraph 2)

Children themselves can be guides in the planning of environments which will help them grow into mature human beings who live by the values which are required for adaptability...  

Organization of schools for humanity depends on the recognition of the psychological value of human creativity and productiveness or 'work' in human development. Work which is meaningful engages personal development.

 Michael E. Martinez Education as the Cultivation of Intelligence  2000

Schools for Humanity and Freedom in Education as Education for Understanding or ‘Cognition’: the ‘Cognitive Paradigm’

The ‘cognitive paradigm’ of education is based on the natural function of education which is to provide the right conditions required to free the human spirit in order to cultivate natural human intelligence or ‘creative intelligence’ required for adaptability to a changing environment. The cultivation of creative intelligence depends on individual freedom as freedom to create meaning of experience or ‘learn’. Accomodation for individual learning needs depends on the provision of conditions which integrate learning with life. This is ‘freedom in education’. As natural learning freedom in education allows for the development of human potential and learner empowerment as self-determination... 'self-empowerment’ or 'freedom’ as responsible freedom required for effective adaptability.

Learning within the context of freedom in education is a fundamental human right.

In the traditional teaching paradigm, education is confused with task-oriented or objective learning i.e. 'schooling'. Teaching methods involve the use of external motivating devices such as punishment/reward systems of evaluation such as 'grades and 'grade averages'.  Students are coerced into patterns of learning for external ... goals... and objective tasks or 'learning outcomes'. Such extrinsically motivated learning or 'extrinsic motivation' inhibits the free use of creative energy and productiveness or meaningful work... inhibits 'free will'...  'freedom'. Denial of freedom inhibits development of personality integration in the realisation of human potential i.e. 'self-realisation' or 'self-actualisation'. Self-actualisation depends on freedom for effective learning and self-initiated meaningful work driven by the need for personal integrity and spiritual independence i.e. 'self-transcendance'. Consequently teaching for external purposes is not functional in personal development and moral failure and subsequent irresponsiblility of behaviour

The function of the educational system is to reproduce cultural values. Withh this as its focus it neglects to prepare each individual for life in a complex world… to foster the individual's natural intellectual and moral development into a responsible social human being with natural capacities for adaptation to changing social conditions. The resulting anomalous social situation produces incapacitated and incompetent individuals.

Consequently the traditional paradigm of education for the ‘good of society’ is inappropriate as an approach for solving current educational problems. There is a need for a shift to a new paradigm which is appropriate for the complexities of the 21st century information age. Since information is processed by the indvidual, then it is education for the good of the individual which forms the basis of education for the good of society. Education for understanding or ‘cognition’ depends on freedom in education as education for the cultivation of intelligence as understanding or ‘cognition’ (‘creative intelligence’). The so-called 'cognitive paradigm' is based on new information resulting from recent findings in brain research or 'neuroscience'. New theories about the learning process are based on the natural functioning of the 'brain' as a natural meaning maker. The function of the brain is to create meaning from experience or 'learn'. Brain-based leaning is ‘experiential learning’ or ‘natural learning’.

The ‘cognitive paradigm’ has larger scope which is more appropriate for adaptability to the 21st century information age than the traditional paradigm of the 20th century industrial age. Since it is the individual who must process information then education which accomodates the learning needs of the individual will be more effective in accomodating the needs of the society. Accomodation of individual learning needs necessitates an education which is humanistic because it is true to the social nature of the human personality or ‘human nature'. Education for humanity is education for self-empowerment or ‘freedom’... freedom to contemplate... freedom to think... freedom to learn... freedom to work... freedom to grow... freedom to develop... i.e. ‘freedom in education’.

Freedom in education is natural education which involves the individual’s instinctive responsibility for their own growth and development of the inherent spirituality and morality of their human personality or ‘human nature’ (‘humaness’). Human nature is a function of striving for individual freedom as ‘moral freedom’ of social responsibility which is foundational to a culture of true democracy, peace, sustainability and ecological literacy.

Conclusion of argument which follows:

The generic competencies set out in the European Framework of Key Competences include the traditional competences such as mother tongue, foreign languages, basic competences in math and science, digital competencies and in addition more transversal competencies such as learning to learn, social and civic competencies, initiative taking and entrepreneurship, cultural awareness and expression.

It is possible to set educational aims and formulate educational policy which provides each individual with the opportunity to develop the transversal as well as the traditional competences set out by the European Framework of Key Competences if this is done within the paradigm of ‘freedom in education’.

(Freedom in education implies the freedom to choose the conditions in which to engage in meaningful learning or ‘work’. This includes the freedom to choose between traditional education as ‘schooling’ and non-traditional education as non-schooling or ‘homeschooling’)

Respondents are invited to respond to some or all of the eight questions outlined in the consultation document. They are asked first to identify what actions they would favour within their national contexts to ensure that schools deliver the quality of education in the 21st century and second, to suggest how European cooperation could be effective in supporting member states in the modernisation of their systems

Now is the time to consider the theoretical aspects of education i.e. ‘educational theory’. Moral educational theory results in moral practice or ‘praxis’. Educational praxis is based on the natural laws of human growth and development i.e ‘freedom in education’. The paradigm of ‘freedom in education’ is concerned with individual freedom as the basis for social responsibility foundational to true democracy.

Opinion Paper: A Rational Argument for Freedom in Education

(See summary of argument)

 

 

Introduction I am not affiliated with any school at the present time though I continue to reflect on important issues of education. My experiences with schools in the past – as student, teacher or parent - have all contributed to the opinion which I have about the problems faced by schools in general. I believe that it is a mistake to equate education as ‘schooling’ with education in the broad sense. Before attempting to solve the various problems faced by society and by governments, there must be a change in the philosophical framework or ‘paradigm’ in which educational policy is formulated. Problems can be answered more effectively if they are addressed in terms of a paradigm characterised by respect for personality development and respect for human rights and human freedoms.

I believe that all children have the right to educational experiences through which they can recognise the psychological value of meaningful learning experiences or ‘work’. Meaningful work - a function of curiosity, cognition and the wisdom of compassion - builds self-confidence and self-respect, cultivates intuition in the development of creative intelligence and engages development of moral consciousness or 'conscience'. Developed conscience is the source of the intuition and the moral courage which is required to master one's own life and to respect the lives of others. All children have the right to an education for a life of social responsibility and social cooperation or 'peace'. They all have the right to an education which is based on appreciation for human social values and which allows for the creation of humane societies. All children have the right to freedom in education. This paradigm is in line with article 26 paragraph 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. «Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and human freedoms (i.e. ‘moral social order’…)» 

A moral social order is based on freedom in education. A moral social order is made up of individuals who are inwardly free with moral ideas as part of their nature. In such a society educational policy is formulated on the basis of the respect for the right of each child to engage freely in the inner struggle for personality development and intellectual growth i.e. freedom in education

Freedom in education involves the formulation of educational policy in terms of moral theory in practice or ‘praxis’. Educational praxis as the moral practice of educational theory is informed and effective because it is guided by the moral sense of conscience constructed on the basis of natural laws of human development. The morality of developed conscience is the source of self-empowerment required for human adaptation to changing environmental conditions. Human adaptability depends on development of human conscience as a function of natural human intelligence or 'creative intelligence'. The cultivation of creative intelligence is a function of integrated growth and development and depends on freedom to engage in meaningful active experiential learning, creativity and productiveness or ‘work’. Freedom to engage in meaningful work is responsible freedom or ‘moral freedom’ and depends on freedom in education.

Freedom in education is effective because it involves the individual’s instinctive responsibility for their own growth and development.

The opinion paper is confined to a discussion of the need for a shift from the traditional paradigm of education to the paradigm of freedom in education or cognitive paradigm’. The validity of the discussion depends on the understanding of the true meaning of key words which represent sophisticated concepts which often require clarification.

Part I

New Paradigm* for 21st Century Schools: Freedom in Education as Natural Education or ‘Holistic Education’

"Holistic education is more concerned with drawing forth the latent capacities and sensitivities of the soul than with stuffing passive young minds full of predigested information. It is an education that prepares young people to live purposefully, creatively, and morally in a complex world." (Ron Miller ed. The Renewal of Meaning in Education: Responses to the Cultural and Ecological Crisis of our Times)

Introduction to Holistic Education www.infed.org/biblio/holisticeducation.htm)

The natural function of education is to provide the right conditions required to free the human spirit in order to cultivate natural creative intelligence required for effective adaptation to changing conditions of life. Human adaptability depends on freedom as responsible freedom or ‘self-empowerment’… the freedom to understand the realities of human nature while attaining the highest levels of awareness or 'self-knowledge', the freedom to interact with the environment and make personal meaning of experience or 'learn', the freedom to inquire, to discover, to think and thereby engage in meaningful creativity and productiveness or 'work', the freedom to cultivate moral conscousness or ‘conscience’required for self-empowerment. The aim of education as is to cultivate intelligence while fostering the individual’s complete growth and development. Development of creative intelligence for self-empowerment and effective adaptability depends on freedom in education. Freedom in education allows for the provision of appropriate conditions in which to foster the completion of human developmental stages and therefore to cultivate human intelligence and self-empowerment requred for effective adaptability. According to the great philosopher and educator Jiddu Krishnamurti, "The highest function of education is to bring about an integrated individual who is capable of dealing with life as a whole." (Education and the Significance of Life 1953)

*What is a paradigm? The word ‘paradigm’ derive from the Latin ‘paradigma’ for ‘model’. In science, a paradigm is a theoretical framework or worldview based on certain given assumptions. The paradigm provides a working model or ‘theory’ for the direction of scientific activity. Experiments are designed and experimental data is analysed within the framework of the given paradigm. Data which cannot be explained in the context of the paradigm initiate a ‘paradigm crisis’ followed by a ‘paradigm debate’ which eventually leads to a ‘paradigm shift’ during which the old paradigm is replaced by a new one. Examples of paradigm shifts in science include the replacement of Newtonian mechanics by quantum mechanics and the replacement of creationism by evolutionary theory. Just as in the history of science, there are paradigm crises, paradigm debates and paradigm shifts in the history of education as well. According to the so-called ‘old’ paradigm of traditional education, children need to be forced to learn. According to the new paradigm of holistic education, children are natural learners. Effective education is based on the provision of optimal conditions for the facilitation of their learning… self-directed learning experiences of creativity and productiveness or ‘work’ which is meaningful. Meaningful work engages personality development required for responsibility of freedom and adaptability.

The consultation document describes a number of anomalous situations found in the educational scene in Europe at the present time. The document contains a summary of significant problems expressed in the form of eight questions to be discussed in opinion papers submitted by members of the public. These problems are in fact ‘pseudoproblems’ which are interrelated and cannot be resolved in the old paradigm of traditional education adapted for industrial society of the 20th century. The problems cannot be resolved unless one changes the context in which they are asked. Consequently it is not possible to formulate educational policy which is appropriate to the information age of the 21st century unless there is a shift in the philosophical framework or ‘paradigm’.

Take the eight questions outlined in the consultation document. 1. How can schools be organized in such a way as to provide all students with the full range of competencies? 2. How can schools equip young people with the competences and motivation to make learning a lifelong activity? 3. How can school systems contribute to supporting longterm sustainable economic economic growth in Europe? 4. How can school systems best respond to the need to promote equity to respond cultural diversity and to reduce early school leaving? 5. If schools are to respond to each pupil’s individual learning needs, what can be done about curricula, school organisation, and the role of teachers? 6. How can school communities help to prepare young people to be responsible citizens, in line with fundamental values such as peace and tolerance of diversity? 7. How can school staff be trained and supported to meet the challenges they face? 8. How can school communities best receive the leadership and motivation they need to succeed? How can they be empowered to develop in response to changing needs and demands of the 21st century?

In whatever way one attempts to answer any of the questions, one is in fact approaching them from the point of view of given concepts constituting the foundational assumptions of a given philosophical framework resulting in a particular worldview or ‘paradigm’. It is necessary first to clarify the nature of the paradigm within which decisions for action are made before identifying what actions should be taken by governments "to ensure that schools deliver the quality of education which is appropriate to the needs and demands of the 21st century". Agreement on actions to be taken depends on prior agreement on the educational paradigm within which decisions for those actions are made. This necessitates European cooperation in the organization of general discussion of educational theory or ‘philosophy’. Such discussion should have priority in the determination of what constitutes ‘modernisation’ of school systems in the member states.

In the discussion of social needs and demands of the 21st century, it is important to clarify the meaning of the word ‘modernisation’.

&

If modernisation implies resolution of the problems suggested by the eight questions in the consultation document, then it is necessary to rethink the way in which to approach them. When the problems are approached in the context of the old paradigm of traditional education as ‘schooling’ they become unresolvable ‘pseudoproblems’. If however they are approached within the context of the paradigm of ‘freedom in education’ in the profound sense of the words ‘freedom’ and ‘education’, then they can be approached rationally and resolved effectively. Furthermore the interrelationships between them will become evident thus making it possible to resolve them all at the same time.

In the 21st century world of mass communications of the global village, people are required to adapt to rapid social change. Effective adaptability depends not only on the ability to learn but on the ability to learn how to learn. Learning how to learn necessarily becomes a priority in the design of educational policy. Schools should no longer consider their students as passive recipients of instruction. They must accept responsibility for each of their students as individual active learners and respond to each student’s individual learning needs. Consequently they must define the function of teachers in terms of the facilitation of learning i.e. ‘facilitators of learning’. Administrators as well as teaching staff must be trained and supported to meet the challenges they face and receive the leadership and motivation they need to succeed. Training programs for professional development must address the need for intrinsically motivated personal development. Effective design of school organisation is based on a fact which is not only overlooked but ignored altogether in the traditional paradigm… children have an instinctive sense of responsibility for their own growth and development into mature and responsible adults living by universal human values. They are natural learners who can participate in the planning of learning environments which will foster their natural growth. On this basis school curricula can be designed effectively to provide all students with the full range of competences, equip young people with the competences and motivation to make learning a lifelong activity and help to prepare young people to be responsible citizens, in line with fundamental values such as peace and tolerance of diversity. In doing this they are responding effectively to the need to promote equity to respond to cultural diversity and to reduce early school leaving. With such educational systems in place, citizens will be not only intelligent and responsible but they will have the initiative needed to provide them with lifelong learning skills which will enable them to continue contributing to the support of longterm sustainable economic growth in Europe. This is how schools and school communities can be empowered to develop in response to changing needs and demands of the 21st century.

In order to meet the criteria required for effective adaptation to the complexities of 21st century society school communities and schools must change the philosophical framework or ‘paradigm’ within which they formulate educational policies.

In addition, the European Framework of Key Competences for Lifelong Learning (December 2006) includes generic competences for effective adaptation to change required by every individual for personal fulfillment, social inclusion, active citizenship and employability. The generic competences include the traditional ones such as mother tongue, foreign languages, basic competences in math and science, digital competences and in addition more transversal competences such as learning to learn, social and civic competences, initiative taking and entrepreneurship, cultural awareness and expression. According to the Framework statement each individual can expect to have a successful life in the knowledge society of the 21st century if they are equipped with these competences (knowledge, skills and attitudes). However it is possible to ensure that each individual is provided with the right conditions to enable them to develop the transversal competences as well as the traditional ones only if educational aims are set and policies are formulated on the basis of implementation of educational theory within the paradigm of freedom of education.

It is possible to set educational aims and formulate educational policy which provides each individual with the opportunity to develop the transversal as well as the traditional competences if this is done within the paradigm of ‘freedom in education’. In this paradigm the aim of education is the cultivation of human intelligence as ‘creative intelligence’ the basis for life long learning required for effective adaptation to rapidly changing social conditions.

 

The real problem is to clarify the features of the new paradigm of freedom in education or natural education...

i.e. the ‘cognitive paradigm’.

Freedom in education is education for understanding or ‘cognition’. The so-called 'cognitive paradigm' is based on new information resulting from recent findings in brain research or 'neuroscience'. New theories about the learning process are based on the natural functioning of the 'brain' as a natural meaning maker. The function of the brain is to search for... to make or create meaning from experience i.e. 'learn'.

Part 2

Freedom in Education: Education for

Responsible Freedom or 'Self-Empowerment'

Theme: The features of the new paradigm of ‘freedom in education’ as natural education… humanistic because it is true to the social nature of the human personality or ‘human nature'... true to the natural function of the human brain... emphasis is on intrinsic motives for learning and the intrinsic rewards of knowledge and understanding which manifest in creative decision-making for effective adaptabilty i.e ‘intrinsic motivation’…requires teacher’s role as guide or ‘facilitator of learning’... and so forth.

 

All children have the right to natural education or ‘freedom in education’. Freedom in education involves learning experiences which are meaningful because they engage natural curiosity, natural cognition and the natural wisdom of compassion i.e. ‘creative intelligence’. Meaningful learning or ‘work’ has psychological value because it builds self-confidence and self-respect, cultivates intuition and development of moral consciousness or 'conscience'. Developed conscience is the source of guiding human values… the moral courage required to master respect for one's own life and the lives of others… social responsibility… social cooperation or 'peace'. So-called ‘peace education’ is based on appreciation for human social values and allows for the creation of humane societies. "The organization of human communities and the establishment of freedom and peace are not only intellectual achievements but spiritual and moral achievements as well, demanding a cherishing of the wholeness of the human personality." (Ivan Ilich Deschooling Society)

 

Abstract: Educational goals are set and educational policies are formulated within the framework of a prevailing philosophical framework or ‘paradigm’. The traditional paradigm of 20th century industrial society is inappropriate for 21st century post-industrial society because it is not based on natural principles and results in perception of false dichotomies and unresolvable 'pseudoproblems'. There is a need for change and a new paradigm based on natural principles of human development. The new paradigm of ‘freedom in education’ is based on the assumption that what is good for society is a function of the self-empowerment or ‘freedom’ of the individuals who make it up. The new paradigm of ‘freedom in education’ is based on the assumption that what is good for society is a function of the self-empowerment or ‘freedom’ of the individuals who make it up. Each individual must assume responsibilty for their freedom to learn and to relearn in a process of complete growth and personality development incorporating spiritual growth involving the person's evolution from the egocentric perspective of emotional immaturity to the transpersonal perspective of emotional maturity which represents the human personality or 'human nature'. As a result they are empowered to make intelligent decisions for effective adaptation to rapidly changing environmental conditions. Freedom in education is the paradigm for lifelong learning and effective adaptability to the needs and demands of the 21st century.

 

Critical to educational policy is the following question: "Which paradigm is shaping the goals of education?"

The so-called ‘traditional paradigm’of education is based on the assumption that educational policy should be formulated in terms of what 'society' needs most. Since the end of the 19th century the paradigm of traditional education evolved to provide an efficient work force for the economic infrastructure of industrial society. School education with its hierarchical and mechanical school environment was structured and organized in response to the rise of industrialism. The aim of education was to pre-adapt children for requirements of ollective discipline and authoritarianism required by business and industry. The formulation of educational policies was based on the assumption that effective learning and the learning process itself was a function of conditioned response or 'conditioning’ motivated by desire for external rewards and avoidance of punishment i.e. 'extrinsic motivation'. Policies were implemented to promote learning requirements of a non-individualised curriculum concerned with the mechanical intelligence of conditioned learning.

 

In the traditional paradigm of education as school education or ‘schooling’, the learner is considered as a passive recipient motivated by external factors provided by the teacher as instructor. This kind of thinking is misleading in the present context of the rapid political, economic and social changes of today. Educational policy must ultimately fail if it is formulated for the ‘good of society’ without consideration for the learning needs of those individuals who make it up. In dealing with problems of education in terms what is good for society the tendency is to deal with outer structures  

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and forms without regard to the levels of consciousness of those individuals who create and implement them. Instead of preparing the individual for his own future as a self-responsible social being, the institutions of education focus on the individual's preparation as a 'contributing member of society'....  the educational system neglects to foster the individual's innate capacities for adaptation to changing social conditions... incapacitated individuals in a changing society constitute the human evidence of an anomalous social situation.

A more intelligent approach to the problems of education is to deal with them through implementation of policies which enable individuals to improve themselves through their own inner development as the basis for their success and well being or ‘happiness’. Happiness is a function of the recognition of the human potential for self-actualisation…. recognition of the nature of the human personality or ‘human nature’.

What is human nature? The question should be considered in terms of the evolutionary significance of human intelligence as 'creative intelligence' require for effective adaptability to changing environmental conditions. The understanding of human nature depends on understanding of the human species (homo sapiens) as a social species whose evolutionary development can be understood in terms of the survival value of creative intelligence' a function of both creative thought and moral reasoning or 'morality' (social intelligence) required for effective adaptability.

Human nature is a social nature characterised in terms of the intrinsic motives for learning or 'human needs'.

Human needs are the biologically based needs for growth as a function of socialisation and therefore a function of the development of moral consciousness or 'conscience'. As well as the obvious physiological needs, human needs include so-called 'lower' psychological needs for security and self-esteem - the 'ego needs' and the so-called 'higher' psychological needs for development of the transpersonal or ‘spiritual’ dimension of human nature beyond the 'ego' level of consciousness i.e. the spiritual needs or 'metaneeds' for ego-transcendance or 'self-transcendance'. The metaneeds are the subconscious needs for spiritual growth and awareness of human values for living i.e. 'human social values'. Human values are the universal spiritual values or ‘moral values’ required for survival of the species as a social species… moral justice, compassionate wisdom, universal love, knowledge as understanding, ‘peace as social responsibility or and so on. Human values are experienced as the moral freedom or 'true freedom' of 'self-transcendance'. True freedom as 'responsible freedom' is fundamental to the integration of learning with life. Awareness of human values results in heightened intuition and increased awareness of social intelligence required for effective adaptation to changing social conditions or ‘adaptability’. Motivation by the metaneeds ('metamotivation') engages growth through learning and integrated personal development of the interrelated dimensions of the complete human personality - physical, emotional, intellectual, psychological, social, political, creative, artistic, philosophical and spiritual (holistic). Integrated development of the human brain is required for adaptive socialisation social coperation and survival.

The human brain is a social brain and the human organism is a social organism which depends on the development of human potential for crearive intelligence in order to adapt effectively to changing environmental and social conditions. Human 'adaptability' depends on spiritual growth which results in knowledge of one’s human nature or ‘self-knowledge’. Self-knowledge overcomes the division between the subjective self and the objective world - a division which results in the person’s sense of alienation from their social and natural environment. Self-knowledge results from complete human development as a function of the integrated functioning of the brain specialised for understanding of the significance of experience... 'experiential learning', ‘holistic learning’or 'natural learning'. Natural learning is active creative learning and results in meaningful knowing or ‘knowledge’ as process or 'real knowledge' or 'truth'. Natural learning is a truth finding process which is motivated from within and engages the individual as an integrated whole in the constuction of moral consciousness or ‘conscience’. So-called ‘intrinsic motivation’ the driving force of personal development and self-actualisation required for self empowerment or ‘freedom’.

The word ‘freedom’ tends to be used without much thought to its real meaning. (Freedom in education is freedom of conscience or ‘moral freedom’.)

What is ‘freedom’? There are two kinds of freedom: one is freedom of the outer aspect of life such as freedom of choice and freedom of action i.e. political freedom… social freedom… or ‘outer freedom’; the other is freedom of the inner aspect of life such as freedom of thought and freedom of decision-making i.e. freedom of conscience or ‘inner freedom’. The word 'freedom' implies an inner state of awareness or consciousness state. Inner freedom can be likened to the German 'freiheit' which refers to the mental condition of acting from inner harmony and conviction of moral consciousness or ‘morality’ of developed ‘conscience’. Freedom derived from developed conscience… ‘moral freedom’… is a result of translation of moral ideas of inner freedom into moral actions of outer freedom. Moral freedom is the responsible freedom or ‘true freedom’ which is foundational to democratic thinking, understanding and peace of true democracy… freedom from fear and conflict, freedom from dogma,  freedom for personal  development, freedom for a life which is guided by universal human values i.e. 'spiritual freedom' or 'moral freedom'. Moral freedom is 'true freedom' or 'responsible freedom'... freedom of developed conscience  i.e. 'inner freedom' or mature freedom. Individual freedom as moral freedom is the basis for social responsibility and the foundation of democracy.

True democracy is the aim of freedom in education.

And what is ‘freedom in education’? The understanding of the concept of freedom in education depends on understanding of ‘freedom’ in the context othe meaning of ‘education’ in its broadest sense. The root of the word 'education' is 'e-ducare' meaning literally ‘to lead forth’ or ‘bring out’ something which is potentially present. To educate is to lead out or bring forth the person’s innate potential, to help them cultivate their own ‘intelligence’as they grow and develop in the realisation of their potentialities. Freedom in education is freedom for growth through learning... freedom for self-empowerment and self-determination... freedom to think, freedom to learn, freedom to  develop one's potential through creativity and productiveness or meaningful 'work’. Freedom in education is mature freedom, responsible freedom, moral reedom, spiritual freedom, freedom for self-empowerment, freedom for self-dtermination, freedom to think, freedom to learn, freedom to create and produce or ‘work’, freedom to engage in work which is meaningful… the psychological value of work is crucial to development of moral consciousness or 'morality' of social conscience... conscience is an emergent property of the human brain as a social brain it evolved as a result of the survival value of intelligence which allows for accurate evaluation of the complexities of changing social conditions. Development of conscience is based on the natural laws of human preservation. And it is constructed on by way of creativity and productiveness which is meaningful i.e. ‘work’. The psychological value of work is manifest in spiritual development…development of character required by the individual as a self-empowered socialised being… freedom to develop one’s personality in the construction of one’s human conscience, freedom to complete human growth and development, and in so doing to cultivate one’s intelligence in the true sense as ‘creative intelligence’involving not only problem solving skills or ‘intelligent quotient' (IQ) but also emotional intelligence or ‘intuition’, spiritual intelligence or ‘spirituality’, moral intelligence or ‘morality’… all required for social intelligence or ‘adaptability’. Freedom in education is education with conscience... freedom for self-empowerment, freedom in education is the pre-condition required for creative and effective adaptation to changes in the social environment i.e. 'adaptability'. Human adaptability depends on intelligence which is creative or ‘adaptive’ i.e. ‘creative intelligence’. Cultivation of creative intelligence depends on education which provides the optimum conditions for the individual’s complete growth and development. The definition of optimum conditions for human growth depends on understanding of the nature of the human personality or ‘human nature’.

Construction of conscience is a function of 'intelligence.

Complete development of the human psyche depends on freedom in education.

Freedom in education as education for understanding or ‘cognition’: cognitive paradigm and cultivation of human intelligence as ‘creative intelligence’.

Features of the Cognitive Paradigm

1. The cognitive paradigm is humanistic because it is true to the social nature of the human personality or ‘human nature'. Trust in human nature is the basic premise upon which successful education depends.

2. The cognitive paradigm is brain-based because it is true to the natural function of the human brain.

3. The cognitive paradigm emphasizes intrinsic motives for learning knowledge and understanding for creative decision making and effective adaptability i.e. ‘intrinsic motivation’.

4. The cognitive paradigm describes the teacher’s role in terms of the ‘facilitation of learning’.

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Freedom in fosters growth by focusing on the complete emotional and intellectual developmental needs of each individual… expands the person’s horizons beyond narrow parochialism and self-interest… appreciates the 'value-life' and furthers wisdom and vision in the function of professionalism… evolves a sense of unity beyond all differences and promotes cultural diversity… promotes understanding of inner unity and wholeness… cultivates intuition and moral courage… emphasizes the individual’s human capacity for adaptability through the process of natural learning which is meaningful because it engages their instinctive sense of responsibility to their own growth and development… engages construction of moral consciousness or ‘conscience’ which is the basis for freedom as moral freedom for ‘self empowerment’. education as natural education is education which provides conditions for self-empowerment…

Freedom in education is humanistic because it is true to the social nature of the human personality or ‘human nature'. Human nature is defined in terms of intrinsic motives for learning…‘intrinsic motivation’… individual's intrinsic sense of responsibility for their own growth and development for actualisation of human potential or ‘self-actualisation’ the source of self-empowerment or ‘freedom’

Key to the new paradigm is emphasis on the intrinsic motives for learning and the intrinsic rewards of knowledge and understanding n i.e. ‘intrinsic motivation’. Intrinsic motivation engages personal development required for adaptability and depends on the capacity to create meaning from experience or 'learn’- a natural cognitive process… which evolved through natural selection during the course of human evolution. Natural learning is meaningful because it takes place in the context of experience i.e. 'experiential learning'. Experiential learning is a function of the brain's natural capacity for learning - a natural function of the human brain. The brain has a natural capacity for holistic perception which actively engages the person as a whole as they strive instinctively to grow and develop in a process of realsation of potential i.e. 'self-actualisation' -the source of self-empowerment or ‘freedom’ as freedom of thought or 'inner freedom’.

So-called ‘brain-based learning’ involves the optimal functioning of the brain as a whole i.e. 'holistic learning' or 'optimalearning'. Natural meaningful learning or ‘experiential learning’ both conscious and unconscious brain processes Optimalearning is active learning which involves the unconscious motivation for the intrinsic rewards of knowledge and understanding which allow for creative decision making for effective adaptation. Self-directed learning involves the positive use of error and the psychological value of creativity and productiveness or 'work'.

Holistic learning is active learning of responsibile freedom as inner freedom or 'self-empowerment' of self-actualisation Holistic learning is effective because it involoves the active engagement of the brain in a process of adapting to the environment. The brain has a natural capacity to perceive the connections between systems of wholes and the parts which make them up. Brain development is functional in the development of natural intelligence or 'creative intelligence'. Natural education of observation and contemplation or ‘freedom in education’ allows for manifestation of the person’s own possibilities, qualities and well being.

 

Brain research provides the evidence for a scientific rationale for so-called ‘brain-based learning’ and freedom in education.

"Recent findings in brain research suggest that it is possible to understand the functioning of the brain once there is sufficient explanation for the specific functions of individual nerve cells and their connections. The resulting patterns of nerve impulses, neural circuits and networks form the basis of the brain's functions. The knowledge gained from findings in brain research forms the basis for theories of brain-based learning and can be applied to educational philosophies and pedagogies. The findings confirm the antagonism between 'traditional' teaching methods and the natural learning function of the brain". (Conner, James Cutting Edge: Mind & Molecules, Journal of Developmental Education vol 16, number 3, 1993: 34)

Brain-based learning is intrinsically motivated learning fostered by a quality of teaching which accomodates individual needs for complete intellectual and emotional development. Accomodation for individual learning needs depends on the provision of conditions which integrate learning with life. This is ‘freedom in education’. As natural learning freedom in education allows for the development of human potential and learner empowerment as self-determination, 'self-empowerment’ or 'freedom’ as responsible freedom required for effective adaptability.

Teaching for Learner Empowerment and Responsible Freedom: Role of the Teacher as ‘Facilitator of Learning’

The teaching paradigm of freedom in education is described as ‘integrative' or ‘holistic’. Effective teaching emphasizes the process of learning as an active process... natural learning, holistic learning or ‘experiential learning’... Experiential learning is a function of freedom and the responsibility of freedom. Responsible teaching becomes the 'facilitation of learning' and the teacher becomes a ‘facilitator of learning’. As facilitator of learning the teacher's function is to design learning environments which are compatible with respect for the instinctive motives for human learning behaviour i.e ‘human needs’... to enhance the learner's intrinsic motivation and thereby facilitate learning as a natural process involving individual initiative and self-direction... to empower the learner….to teach to the brain's natural function of creative intelligence ... to facilitate the construction of conscience through development of human potential for creativity and productiveness or 'work' … to understand the psychological value of work which engages the learner in their personal development required for effective adaptation to changing social conditions i.e. ‘adaptability.’ Human adaptability depends on responsibility of freedom as self-determination or ‘self-empowerment’.

Facilitative teaching methods are effective because they comply with the natural holistic functioning of the human brain. Teaching for effective learning is teaching to the brain's natural function of self-directed learning while engaging the learner's personal development required for development of moral consciousness or ‘conscience’. Human conscience is the source of human values required for creative intelligence and effective adaptability to changing social conditions.

The most appropriate educational paradigm for the 21st century (and any other century) is education for freedom of conscience required for self-empowerment and adaptability.

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