Thursday, February 18, 2010

More Great Minds Support Holistic Education

Not only the Dalai Lama, but other educators, thinkers and visionaries are beginning to recognize the need for a more holistic approach to education.

Susan Engel, director of the teaching program and lecturer at Williams College, says in a New York Times op-ed piece
What [children] shouldn’t do is spend tedious hours learning isolated mathematical formulas or memorizing sheets of science facts that are unlikely to matter much in the long run. Scientists know that children learn best by putting experiences together in new ways. They construct knowledge; they don’t swallow it.

Along the way, teachers should spend time each day having sustained conversations with small groups of children. Such conversations give children a chance to support their views with evidence, change their minds and use questions as a way to learn more.
And at, Zoe Weil, President of the Institute for Humane Education, writes
Currently, the primary goals of schooling are to graduate students who are verbally, mathematically and technologically literate and who are employable. We do not educate students to be conscientious choicemakers and engaged changemakers for a better world. Our idea is to transform the very purpose of schooling so that schools provide all students, in age appropriate ways, with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to be solutionaries for a better world through whatever careers they pursue...This generation of solutionaries will become engineers and politicians, healthcare practitioners and entrepreneurs, educators and police officers, architects and builders, farmers and lawyers, but they will bring to these fields new ideas and approaches that create better, wiser, and more restorative and just systems within them.

Times, they are a-changin'. And it's high time that education changed to meet the challenges of the times.

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