Total Education Conversations brings you insightful interviews and commentary on the subject of holistic approaches to education, presented against the backdrop of SOTE’s more than thirty year history implementing the philosophy of Total Education.
The Soul of Education
The Passageworks Institute in Boulder, Colorado in the USA, was founded by Rachael Kessler, educationalist and author of the book, “The Soul of Education”. Richard Waters speaks with Laura Weaver and Batya Greenwald, from Passageworks, about their work, and their understanding of “The Soul of Education”. Topics covered include:
- What does “The Soul of Education” mean?
- The work of the Passageworks Institute.
- The concept of “deep connection” and the importance of the teacher-student relationship.
- What can schools do to foster a positive sense of community?
- Ways to help adolescents feel safe to talk about themselves.
- Shortcomings of the “one size fits all” approach to education and over-emphasis on test scores.
- Student well-being.
- Transition to adulthood — risk taking and “initiation”.
- Precursors to unlocking creativity in children.
Jan Dugan and Jan Gudkovs — The Focused Child
Richard Waters speaks with Jan Dugan and Jan Gudkovs, authors of a new book titled “The Focused Child — How Yoga Can Help You Raise Happy, Healthy, Contented Children”. In today’s society, with escalating rates of learning and concentration problems, mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, and physical health conditions like obesity and diabetes, the ancient science of Yoga has much to offer. Topics covered include:
- What motivated the authors to write their book.
- Contemporary causes of poor concentration.
- Importance of health, energy and vitality for concentration.
- Distractions to concentration from a Yoga perspective.
- Role of parents in helping children develop concentration.
Importance of healthy relationships.
- Positive factors which bring about a state of concentration.
Michael Funder — Reflections of a SOTE Teacher
Michael Funder has been a teacher at the School of Total Education for over 30 years. For 20 of those years, Michael worked under the guidance of the school’s founder, Vijayadev Yogendra. Michael has a wealth of experience both as a teacher, and as a parent — with two children of his own who attended and graduated from the school. In this interview, which was recorded in February 2010, Michael talks about the following topics:
- The reasons SOTE was originally established.
- The deeper purpose of education.
- The role of parents in the educational process.
- Nurturing the spirit or soul in education.
- Benefits of teachers working collaboratively.
Satish Kumar — Small Schools and Nurturing the Spirit in Education
Richard Waters speaks to Satish Kumar, author and founder of the Small School in Hartland, UK. Satish Kumar is also the editor of Resurgence magazine, founder of Schumacher College in the UK and featured in the BBC television series “Earth Pilgrim”. Satish Kumar visited the School of Total Education in 2007. This discussion (recorded in April 2010) covers the following topics:
- Early influences on Satish Kumar’s educational philosophy.
- The benefits of small schools.
- Nurturing the spirit in education.
- Ways to foster innateness and creativity in children.
- The origins of Schumacher College.
- Balancing government requirements with small school philosophy.