Thursday, December 31, 2009

Holistic Education, An Introduction - Part 4

In order to allow for family time during this vacation week, instead of our usual variety of postings we will share an introduction to the ideas behind Holistic Education from Holistic Education, Inc.

How can we help children learn what they need to learn?

One of the tools that holistic education uses to help children learn what they need to learn is 'meaningfulness'. People of all ages find it difficult to learn things which are not meaningful to them, and conversely, they find that it requires much less effort to learn things that are meaningful. This means that a holistic school will respect and work with the meaning structures that a child comes with rather than begin from a perspective of what "should" be meaningful to a child. Events and dynamics (fear, conflict, friendships, etc.) are part of every child's life and they are interested in these things. These can be the starting point for learning any of the academic skills that every child needs to master.

Another tool that holistic education uses to help children learn is flexible pacing. Not all children learn at the same speed, and no child learns at the same speed all the time. Learning is an inherently creative act, and it requires a system that can move with the individual meaning making of each child. When lessons are too slow, a child gets bored, and when it is too fast, the child gets lost and then loses interest in the subject. If children are seen and treated as individuals, there is no need to have groups move at some arbitrarily determined learning pace.

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