A Critical Engagement with Education for the Benefit of the Soul ay resized A Critical Engagement With Education For The Benefit Of The Soul. In this essay I will examine education as a conduit for the nourishment of the soul. I will provide an explanation of a “soul” and explore its place within us and in education. And the importance of the soul education within a larger, global context. Will show what is meant by “education” in both a formal and informal sense. ND how it is imperative that formal education provides a holistic journey for the child through their schooling, There Will be an examination Of why it seems education is not lifting the soul in our society at present, and how the hierarchy Of school subjects given by government prevent a wholesome education. I shall explore how a soul education requires liberation from oppressive forces and barriers in order to work effectively. I will explore what educators can do to provide a holistic education within the current curriculum and how schooling could promote the nourishment of the soul through combining a spiritual and academic education.
Before looking at education for the soul in a practical sense I will aim to first explain my understanding f what both ;education” and “soul” mean. The “sour ;s believed to be the spiritual depth to a person, what makes us “feel existence; (Miller, 2000, pap). It can also be called the spins and the ;inner, or Internal, self. The soul Is seen as the part to cortisone that defines them as an Individual, and is constantly growing through engagement with other people, nature and experiences.
Historically. Through Greek philosophy In particular. The soul has been believed to be what animates the body. Gives consciousness. And has been separate from the physical world (Creatively & Rabbit, 2007). The reflective nature of the internal self is so distinct from the physical self that humans have come to the conclusion that we are both mind and body: a dual-being (Descartes in Cogitating. 1996). This is still the generally held belief among those who believe in a spiritual part of a human. Over modern philosophers and neuroscience continue to debate over the existence of the soul following continuing research on cognitive behavior (Preston et al, 2013). As neuroscience delves deeper into the physical workings of the brain in regards to metaphysical aspects of thought and emotion, people may start to favor the physical explanation Of Our felt’ experiences Over a spiritual experience. I would argue. However, that scientific advances on the matter would not invalidate soul education: the importance Of those felt’ experiences remain, and so the ‘soul’ remains, still needing to be nourished.
In the context Of this essay I Will be focusing mainly on education in a formal setting of a classroom involving teachers and the curriculum but will also touch on education as a broader term to describe the development and learning someone experiences throughout life. I feel it is important to not solely focus n formal education because the type of education our modern society is in need of Is a collective one; In an ever-growing global community It Is Important to develop (2 “our unreasoning AT ten Interlocking nature AT ten contemporary world” (P IPPP).
For schooling to be a vehicle for soul education, the teachers, parents and community must be actively involved with a shared aim towards a spiritually connected global society. For Jung (in Rowland, 2012, pa) education of the soul is both individual and collective, they are so innately connected that one cannot flourish without the other. A person cannot be truly ‘educated’ until they acknowledge the universal connection of the collective unconscious, as well as their own unconscious, that is to say, to know oneself is to know others and vice versa.
Miller (2000, pa) stresses the importance of education as a vehicle for global awareness where “the restoration of the soul is part of this global awakening. ” This is essentially what soul education is: to explore one’s internal self and in doing so realism the connectedness of the self, nature, and humanity (Rowland, 2012, pa). Modern life has been accused of creating an unfeeling society obsessed with academic success, technological advances, and screen-based entertainment (Palmer, 2007, pap, & Robinson, 2011, IPPP).
Palmer (2007, pa) concludes that “our culture has evolved faster than our biology’ and with the global community quickly expanding and innovations driving us closer together, we are apparently emotionally disconnected. According to Palmer (2007, Pl 7) the explanation of a “toxic childhood” is complex and affected by many issues including the increasing emotional distance between humans caused by insular activities on screen-based devices, lack of contact tit nature, and education lead by the needs of the market instead of the child.
Soul education would provide a “healthy inner life” and balance out the focus on academic subjects and the “outer life” (Miller, 2000, pap) bringing about spiritually healthy beings for the global community. One of the tools formal education can provide for allowing the child to explore their internal self is self-expression through creativity. Art, music and dance are the first areas associated with creativity in education but there may be unexplored avenues within schooling where creativity is not usually noninsured or valued.
Robinson (2011, IPPP) shows that the appreciation of aesthetics in mathematics is as valuable as in dance; an elegantly argued doctoral dissertation in mathematics is one way to see how “being creative may include, but always goes beyond, the confines of academic intelligence. ” Acknowledging and appreciating creative processes in academic subjects can support the honing of “soft skills” (Robinson, 2011, Pl 75) such as empathy and sensitivity, and help combat the oppressive academic curriculum that plays its part in “the exile of feelings from Western culture” (Robinson, 2011, IPPP).
One may assume that pupils attending an art class in school would have the ideal opportunity to explore and express themselves however through my own experience as a pupil in grammar school even art was made to be lacking depth. Although interesting, learning facts about Pablo Picasso or Andy Warhol did nothing for my self-expression, there was no depth or reflection one would expect from a creative subject.
There is a danger that academic education is leading our children to a future of shallow thinking and a curriculum designed with a hierarchy of core subjects (Department for Education, 2010) gives the impression that creativity is not important. Miller (2000, pap) cites Goldberg (1997) who argues for the arts to have a depth of meaning and where subjects are integrated, for example: using natural sciences as an additional focus while studying landscape art, or exampling ten Duty AT a Deuteron’s metamorphoses, leaning to expression through dance.
Miller (2000, pap-63) shows how pupils could connect with their inner selves through reflective activities such as meditation and visualization, as well as the wide area of arts education nourishing the soul with usual arts, movement, and music (Miller, 2000, pap-91). Integration of emotional learning throughout regular subjects can give a sense of place and purpose for pupils and help education to become contextually wider than facts and exams.
Moore & Hendrickson, (2005, Pl 18) list humor, reverence, respect, compassion as Just a few of the inner qualities encouraged through spiritual engagement within the curriculum. As most children spend most of their days at school it would be worthwhile to use education to promote a feeling of belonging, and educate for emotionally stable, caring community members. Miller (2000) believes that earth education is essential to the nourishment of our souls and the soul and earth are connected; the ‘exile of feelings’ and lack of interconnectivity I was discussing earlier could be restored through earth education.
The practical ways education could enable the soul can be seen in environmental education practices (Miller, 2000, IPPP-106). Nature has been shown to have a direct, positive effect on a person’s wellbeing (Bowler et al, 2010, Pl) and the physical experience of being in nature can be spiritually engaging. As much as we are driven by our innovations and genealogical advances we are still animals, a part of nature not separate from it, and the natural environment nourishes part of us that a diploma or hefty paychecks cannot reach.
Providing a context within the child’s interests encourage children to develop or discover new, as shown in Miller (2000, polo) where the principle of an earth-centered school in Japan explains his philosophy of integrated learning. The interest shown by the children was helped by the teachers connecting the subject to other aspects the pupils would enjoy, for example relating natural sciences to raising ARP Just as the men in the local community did. He believed that a child would only learn if they are interested or excited about it.
Through their forest education the children learnt about the biological nature of the trees but also showed a reflective, philosophical outlook and expressed it through poetry, or inspired an interest in ornithology (Miller, 2000, pap-99). I find that education would be more rewarding for the pupil if their voice was heard and interests explored; a skateboard enthusiast may find it intriguing how physics has an affect on his success or failure on the amps, or a young amateur baker would learn the different ways to treat gluten and fats for the desired consistency when baking bread or pastry.
Give the child a voice and they could surprise even themselves on what they could do, and more importantly what they feel they can achieve; not only could they get a Job after finishing formal education, they would have a Job they are passionate about. Linking emotional and intellectual thinking within subjects gives rise to an engagement in abstract thinking for the pupil (Miller, 2000, polo) and a dialectic relationship between pupil and teacher through discussion and investigation.
A child who is free to explore themselves and their subjects is more likely to be a critical thinker, and the ability to question leads to reflective and conscious members of the community. Paulo Fire (1970, pap-85 and 1998, pap-109) argues for an education system based on discussion and questioning, and for the relationship between student and teacher to De one AT mutual I Iteration tongue autonomous twinkling. A soul actuation would benefit this liberation through the encouragement of personal growth. L could never treat education as something cold, mental, merely technical, and without soul, where linings, sensibility, desires, and dreams had no place, as if repressed by some kind of reactionary dictatorship” (Fire, 1998, IPPP). Fire recognizes the importance of a “whole child” approach (Moore & Hendrickson, 2005 pap), realizing the connections between the mental and spiritual development of the child. By using a whole child approach to education, the system and teachers show respect toward the children, acknowledging them as individuals.
This care of the soul through mutual respect leads to a willingness in a child to be more caring and respectful of others, reflecting Firer’s “profound love for the world and for people” (cited in Lewdest, 2005, pap). The current system of testing and grading on ability to retain information does not acknowledge the student’s internal wellbeing as having any relevance and does not allow for “self-managed learning” (Newman, 2006, pap) where the child would learn what they were interested in and at their own pace, as is the practice in Summertime.
Summertime is an admirable example of how the pupils’ souls are valued as part of their school’s philosophy. They are a democratic boarding school run as a community tit freedom for pupils to learn however they desire. Summertime’s founder A. S. Neil believed in the significance of “emotional learning” (quoted in Newman, 2006, pap), which is an important factor to soul education. Neil saw that the “unconscious of the child is infinitely greater than his conscious” and his educational philosophy was one that focused on the heart as well as the head.
The treatment of Summertime in the late 20th century is an example of how oppressive the current system can be with not only the strict standards, but also the attitudes of those who inspected the school for POSTED (Newman, 2006, pap) who seemed unable to Judge Summertime on its own values. The school interpreted the mistrust and continuous inspections as “institutional bullying” (Newman, 2006, pap) caused by the inspectors being already institutionalized by the restrictive system. Despite the above average exam results and contentment of pupils, teachers, and families the inspectors were unable to accept Summertime’s democratic ideology.
The government’s idea of the function off school was not what Summertime was representing; the respect and freedom given to he pupils was not conducive to standards testing where lessons had to mandatory for assessment to work, and records to be kept (Newman, 2006, pap). Examining Summertime has shown how testing pupils, producing reports, and collecting evidence of achievement is detrimental to free learning in schools through its insistence that academic achievement has priority (Newman, 2006, pap).
Soul education cannot be fully utilized unless those being educated are free and by free’ I mean to be aware of the oppression brought about by political power and domination in education. Our rent system is not a free one because it is not based upon the needs of the people as individuals or as a collective; it is instead controlled by needs of the government, and the values of the market. The political philosophy influencing the education here in the UK is one of a nonlinearly philosophy where it is believed that the best way to live is for the advancement of the economic market, and education is for the benefit of employers.
A nonlinearly education is obsessed with standards, competitive league tables and rigorous testing with a narrow view of what education’s purpose is: to Increase ten students value In ten workplace. Freely (BY, p 13) speaks AT tens neo- liberalism philosophy as abandoning human interest “whenever they threaten the values of the market. ” Some may try to argue that we live in a free society, we certainly don’t live in a third world country, however Fire argued that oppression affects even those of us fortunate enough to live in the developed world: “the issues of exploitation and discrimination exist everywhere” (Lewdest, 2008, pap).
The nonlinearly belief of education being a function for future economic growth is guided, as Birdhouse (2006, pa) argues: “there is no serious prospect of long term absolute decline” and so no real reason for education to be geared towards employers’ needs. Through this essay I hoped to have given reasoned arguments for an education that acknowledges the pupil’s inner and outer self and been clear in my definitions of such an abstract subject as the human soul, and as broad as education.
The values I would like to see driving formal education are the same ones that I believe should be driving society, with the appreciation of thoughtfulness, empathy and self-worth in local and global communities. There is a need for people to be trained in skills and have financial freedom in their lives but the value of a rewarding life is forgotten by a system that evaluates success through academic testing and strict standards.
The humanity is lost when the focus is not on the human being and their individual path; there is a need for a type of schooling where the whole person is acknowledged and nurtured for their own sake, and in turn for the sake of the global community they are a part of. Soul education would bring a balance into the child’s life but should never be treated as an afterthought in the curriculum; it would permeate it and create lasting connections between individual souls, societies, and the earth itself. Word count: 2607 References: Bowler, D. E; Buying-Ala, L. M; Knight, T.