- The need for education
- Our view of Reality/ World-view/Ontology
- Role/Objectives of human education
- Content of Education – Knowledge, Wisdom & Science
- Multidisciplinary & Holistic Education
- Learning Theory
- Pedagogy/process of education
- Outcomes of humane education
- How to supplement the prevalent educational content
- Criterion for acceptance of this course
*Read Originals by Shri A.Nagraj
The need for humane education
Despite the long history of education on this planet, the outcomes for us as individuals, families, society & our impact on our natural environment are far from satisfactory. This is because the content and process of humane education yet remain to be identified in a universal manner: While theism/spiritualism could not enunciate their proposals in a universal manner, materialism/science has not been able to provide a way for universal goodness.
Whereas, we can observe that every human child expects justice since birth, desires for right behavior and work and speaks the truth. The child does not know the above realities (Justice, Right behavior-work & Truth). It depends on education & human tradition (the environment) in order to understand these. Since human tradition as yet does not have a common clear understanding of the truth, beliefs by name of Justice, Right behavior-work & Truth are commonly accepted by various human communities. Accepting such beliefs, or the combination thereof, we grow up to be adult citizens, with our own varying set of notions & assumptions of right & wrong. This has resulted in the confused state we are in today.
We can hence brief the need for human education as follows:
- We humans live our lives based on our assumptions, beliefs and understanding. Humans conform to their assumptions/values or sanskar, unlike animals whose behavior and living is according to their race. If our beliefs change, so do our behavior, goals and actions.
- Humans have the ability of imagination & freedom of action. This is why we end up having different beliefs and differing behaviors.Whereas, we see that every other entity in nature: be it soil, metals, plants and animals exhibit a definite conduct. Humans are yet to have a definite conduct.
- There is a basic innate expectation & desire in every human to have right understanding and live rightfully with definiteness.
- There are realities in existence in the form of Justice, Religion (innate-order) & Truth. (nyaya-dharma-satya) and the right humane way of living
- We can use our imagination abilities to understand these truths and the correct ‘way of living’
- The role of education thus is to enable every human to use their faculty of imagination to understand these realities of existence & human life as they are and live accordingly: spiritually, intellectually, emotionally (in behavior) & in occupation (materially). This leads to definite human conduct & then reflects as coexistence & harmony in living in families, society, nation-states and with nature.
We can hence summarize as follows:
- Human beings belong to the ‘knowledge-order’. Our fundamental need is knowledge.
- Humans have the expectation to understand the truth about everything, including their living
- There are such realities in existence and the possibility that we can understand them
- Humans have the capability for such understanding.
- The role of education is to enable this understanding.
View of Reality/world view/ Ontology
Our content and pedagogical process of education is based on a fundamental and deep understanding of the human conscious, mind & psychology as it is in reality. This is enabled by the Madhyasth Darshan philosophy, or saha-astitva-vaad (coexistential thought). Simply put, existence (reality) is in the form of coexistence, is in harmony. There is spontaneous evolution in existence, and the occurrence of the world consisting of conscious entities – both animals and the human beings as we know it.
Humans on this planet are in a state of ‘awakening progression’ in our consciousness, in a state of illusion, wherein our understanding is partial and our plane of living is akin to that of animals. The human being has been identified as belonging to the ”knowledge-order’ (gyan avastha). Knowledge is the fundamental human need. The basic need for the human being is happiness, and this is possible via knowledge that leads to development to ‘human consciousness’ & living with ‘awakening’. See here for a brief summary of this philosophy.
Role/Objectives of human education
Humans are disposed towards goodness and knowledge of the Truth, because its necessity and possibility exist in reality. Education enables the actions, conduct & study worthy of understanding the truth.
Unhappiness, lack of peace & dissatisfaction in the human itself is conflict and these in turn are themselves the results of conflict. Human necessity is happiness, peace, satisfaction & bliss which is possible via knowledge of & living in human-consciousness.
Enabling this transformation to human consciousness & its expression in living is thus the basic purpose of education. Education enables the arising of civility & culture in a human being. An awakened human being lives with resolution in themselves, with material prosperity in family, trust & cooperation in society & coexistence with nature.
Education enables the awakening and expression of all four dimensions of the human: a) realization/understanding, b) thought/imagination, c) behavioral/social & d) occupational/natural. This addresses the spiritual, intellectual-logical, emotional and material needs of the human. It enables mental healthiness or intellectual balance, social balance and natural balance. It enables qualitative change from inhuman characteristics to humane characteristics and nature.
Such an educated individual then goes on to establish/play their role in humane culture, civility, norms & societal organization. The role of education is to provide the content, process and environment for this transformation in an individual & work synergistic-ally with other societal systems in a manner that are in line with universal human goals.
We can thus summarize that manifestation or appearance of existence itself is discovery and invention by the human being. The generalization process of this understanding in humankind itself is education. Understanding becomes commonly available via education & publicity.
Content of Education
The basic content of human education consists of knowledge, wisdom & science covering conscious & material realities and their inter-relationships:
- Knowledge = Why & How things exist in reality
- Wisdom = What to do – purpose and laws of living
- Science = How to live, how to do – in behavior, work & mind (Science = behavioral science or values, material science and skills)
In other words, the entire content for education is the study of physical, chemical & conscious (jeevan) activities, leading to mental balance, behavioral & social balance & natural balance. This content covers the three dimensions below:
1. Self education (jeevan vidya, जीवन विद्या )
- jeevan vidya – understanding myself, my activities, goals and how I am conscious, the causes for my happiness and unhappiness, my aspirations and fears as they are, in reality.
2. Behavioral education: (value education, मूल्य शिक्षा )
- in Family: understanding my relationships with other humans: in family, with parents, brothers, sisters, etc and with friends, teachers & acquaintances. Understanding the intrinsic values in living and how they can be recognized and fulfilled
- Social education: understanding my relationship with other humans, how human race is one and human religion is one. Understanding social-laws & human values and how to live in them
- Human organizational education: Learning how human society is formed and what our common goals are. Learning to live in family, and the roles, duties and responsibilities, like seva or service in family. Human history.
3. Material education: (vastu vidya, वस्तु विद्या)
- Skill based occupational education: Learning useful skills so I can earn my own living when i grow up. Learning to use my hands and feet on the rest of nature effectively – farming, carpentry, repairing things, making a mobile phone, wind generators, etc.
- Material science education: understanding the physical-chemical processes in nature and how they have evolved, their innate nature and characteristics. Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography & Mathematics.
- Ecological education: understanding the evolution from matter to plants to animals, their inter-relationships and how they are in harmony and how to interact with and live with them in a harmonious manner. Understanding natural law.
Multidisciplinary and holistic education
1) Life Themes
- Takes a ‘human-centric’ view of understanding, with the experience of the seer, the student, at the center.
- Based on a sound understanding of consciousness and how it functions, with the brain.
- Subjects are taught as they integrate in the fabric of nature, and how they relate to the student and the various dimensions of real human living. i.e. human living is connected to the classroom.
- This helps the child make connections between theoretical memory and practical experience, and develops the child’s interest in the subject, since now, it is something that ‘they need’ compared to what ‘the school wants to teach them’, since their own curiosity, happiness now depends on it.
- Human living is in the following four dimensions, and there is a specific experience or contentment we derive from these four dimensions.
- We hence have to have the input, or understanding that can fulfill these needs.
- The basis for these inputs has to be based on an understanding of the human being vis-a-vis reality, and this is obtained as Knowledge, Wisdom & Science (ज्ञान, विवेक, विज्ञान)
- The subjects that can complete this understanding thus has to be communicated to the child, in an age-appropriate manner.
Address the 4 dimensions of Human Living
- Fulfilled by: Purpose, Happiness, Fulfillment & Peace.
- Fulfilled by: Language, Math, Logic & Reasoning.
- Behavioural /Relationships (i& Society)
- In Family: Relationships, Values such as Trust, Affection, Care, Respect, Kindness
- In Society: Ethics, Social Character, History, Civics and Culture
- Fulfilled by: Natural Sciences, Geography, and finally Skills & Technology to ensure material livelihood
the 5 levels / ‘spheres’ of Living
The different needs, expectations & responsibilities in the various stages of Human Life
- Student life (vidyarthi)
- Householder – Relationships + Economic aspects (grahastha, arthik)
- Old Age
The above gives rise to/enables fulfillment/happiness in Living
- Sensory Fulfillment (& Material Security)
- Emotional Fulfillment (Relationships, in Family)
- Purpose based Fulfillment (Larger goals of living, Society)
- Inner Peace (Due to clarity & being able to deal with various situations of life)
- Contentment (From the Confidence that their vision is Comprehensive)
Language, Math, the Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Vocational Skills, are thus seen as experienced from within the child’s world -> combining Intellect, Emotions, and Real Life Experience.
Humans are naturally inclined towards curiosity and the need for happiness and the subjects thus naturally fulfill these needs. These connections are made clear. These are done in two ways
- Having a separate integration class where this is clarified in an age-appropriate manner
- Embedding this understanding while teaching the individual subjects (needs the teacher to have this holistic view)
2) Family Life, Human Character
Equip the child with the clarity, sensitivity and capability to live within the Family.
- As a Student
- Relationship with parents, with siblings, friends and elders -the expectations the child has from all of them and that the Family has from them.
- Brought out using theory, real-life obervations at home and discussions.
- As an Adult
- The meaning of martial life, its responsibilities, and the sanctity of Marital life. Examples are taken from home and around, bringing out the secure environment the child has at home and how it is essential to maintain and secure this for the future as well.
- Old Age
- The sensitivities involved as we age, and the need for seva for elders at this stage in life, and how this also emotionally fulfilling for us. Children are able to relate these to the real conduct they see in their family and around.
This is rendered in an age & stage appropriate manner.
3) Living in Society, Social Character.
Equip adults with the clarity of social-life, its inter-dependencies and intricacies.
How I am related to Society, and how we are dependent on it. My expectations from Society
- The deeper connection, or relationship between us as humans (goals, and all the subjects and needs and dimensions given in point #1 are the same)
- The various things we use (food, clothing, shelter, services, etc) and need and how they are enabled by so many others in society
- This is brought about using content and discussion on how deeply inter-twined social networks are, about how it takes so many people to come together to produce a single item, and how it is due to this inherent cooperation that we are able to live like we do.
Societies expectation from me
As social character. There is a basic expectation of conduct from society, and this itself is taught as social-law. Restraint in, or not hurting anyone via the following
- Not hurting va Mind: Not troubling or bothering anyone, or hurting them: i.e by adopting kindness in behaviour and work: restraint of the mind
- Not hurting via Body: Not harming anyone, or outraging their modesty: i.e. by respecting the sanctity of Family life, by practising chastity; restraint of the body
- Not hurting via Wealth: Not stealing, not taking what is not mine: or by following righteous wealth: restraint of source/means of acquiring wealth
These points are brought out using written content and discussions in an age appropriate manner. These are basic expectations that we too have from every human, and in turn, other humans (society) has from us. This is the bedrock on which every family is built. When any of these 3 conditions are broken, then we have social and familial distress, and lack of mental peace and self-confidence.
When any or more of these basic rules are broken, society, and the law, call it a ‘crime’. Every definition in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) consists of these. This is brought out using live examples from news items, etc. Ex:
- Mind: Defamation suits, mental harrasment, dowry/torture cases
- Body: Infidelity, Sexual harrasment, Gender Bias, Murder and Molestation Cases
- Wealth: Theft, forgery, corruption, financial fudging, misdirecting wealth, etc cases.
This is gradually developed’ over the years to develop suitable mentality & acceptance in the child to abide by social-law. This goes to ensure a big part of “ethics & morality in social life”.
4) Daily Routine and Health
While we teach human anatomy and physiology, the basics of staying healthy are also covered. This is especially pertinent in todays scenario where the adult population in India lives a consumption based, sedentary lifestyle (in the cities) and ailments like diabetes have penetrated the villages. India is today the diabetes capital of the world.
Discussion on need to be healthy
- Importance of daily routine for smooth functioning of the various organs – examples are taken from nature, where animals too follow a natural cycle of waking, eating, excretion and sleeping, etc. ;
- Importance of daily routine – waking times, eating times, exercise, and sleeping on time are discussed.
- The 4 seasons in India are taught and discussed and the different changes the body undergoes and its differing needs in terms of food are also discussed. Examples are brought in from home and elders traditions to enrich the same. Foods to be avoided in certains seasons and at certain times of the day are also communicated.
- Higher class students are also taught about common ailments we encounter – such as colds, fevers, wounds, etc – and how they can be taken case using home-remedies. This avoids the tendency or habit of over-medication as they grow older.
- This daily routine is then tied to the daily-cycle-of-life we have mentioned in the first suggestion to show how this daily routine + the lifecycle of an adult, to old age: consisting of relationships, occupation/work, seva, intellectual and social pursuits, etc make for a complete and holistic experience of living.
Both environments are considered equally important as input-sources for the child:
- The School environment: that includes the formal-content, teacher relationship, peers and general humane atmosphere.
- expectations the school has from the child, and vice-versa
- Environment outside: at the Home, the Larger Community, Society, Culture & Nature.
- expectations each of these have from the child & vice-versa
Child’s /Human mind (conscious jeevan) and how it assimilates learning
- Has a desire/will or purpose – that it wants/needs (according to age)
- This results in imagination
- <input comes from the school or outside life environment in the form of >
- <the child matches theory to the observations he/she makes within and without -i.e. around, across matter, plants, animals and people>
- These lead to mental-impressions (sanskar)
- The child assimilates/adopts these impressions depending on their tendencies (pravritti)
- This goes on to form a conviction/belief about that subject/object/ living.
- Such beliefs are across the Individual, Family, Societal, Nation, and the entire spectrum of Nature
This in sum develops into ‘human mindset’. This mindset is what makes us who we are.
The role of education thus is to create the necessary factors that shall enable ‘humane mindset’ in a comprehensive manner.
Pedagogy/Process of Education
There are realities in existence and the meanings & understanding of these realities reside in the teacher/guru. Since words are the most potent means of communication, they are used to provide direction to the pupils imagination.
Education thus, is the process of transferring this understanding or right values (sanskar) from the teacher to the student enabling the student to have these impressions of reality & live accordingly.
Our process of education has the following characteristics:
1. Addresses the ‘self ‘ directly
- Addresses inquisitiveness and exploration by each child, since the innate need for every human is to know – in place of mere memorization and rote learning
- Respect: Respects the freedom of imagination and freedom of action in the child allowing for their creative thinking & expressions (कल्पनाशीलता, कर्मस्वतंत्रता)
- Critical thinking: Enables students to scrutinize & evaluate using their own freedom of imagination and decide between right & wrong, true & false in their own right.
2. Recognizes human relationship
- Based on sound teacher-student relationship – between one who knows and one who wants to know: as against it being a ‘job’ alone.
- Based on values & evaluation, as against fear and enticement. (punishment and rewards)
- Fosters cooperation and mutual fulfillment with other children/ humans – in place of seeing them as opponents to compete against.
- Promotes excellence – everyone can be excellent. As against specialty & competition.
3. Integrated approach based on reality
- Subjects taught in an integrated manner – as the inter-related fabric of the cosmos, to human life on this planet and our roles as individuals, in families, society, nation-state etc – as against fragmented teaching leading only to specialization
- Addresses all dimensions of human living: realization, thought, behavior and occupation – as against the current goal of education largely for an occupation, or ‘to make a living’
- Based on the reality of Coexistence – of Existence being in harmony, that can be known – as against material-centrist chaos/instability based view or mysticism/god centrist views.
Outcomes of Education
The person that successfully completes such education is endowed with the following 5 qualities:
Has assurance, trust in oneself and his capabilities and knowledge
Respects excellence in the other human – recognition of who has worked for, or reached the common human goal
Has balance in his knowledge and personality – can live according to what he/she knows
Is sociable in behavior: pupils living does not cause an imbalance in society: lives within the confines of marital relationship and displays kindness in behavior with other humans, lives with human values.
Is self-sufficient in occupation: has the needed skills to work for his and families material prosperity
Supplementing the current educational content
Students don’t get complete knowledge in any single subject in the current Education system. Study of the following missing aspects need to be inculcated to make prevalent education complete: –
addition of Conscious aspect (jeevan) in Science.
addition of Mental-impressions (sanskar) in Psychology.
addition of Ethical utilization of the material and conscious aspects in Economics.
addition of Culture and Civics of Humaneness in Sociology.
addition of Conservation and Encouragement of Humaneness in Political-Science.
addition of Activity of Matter in Philosophy (Darshan-Shastra).
addition of Human being and Humaneness in History and Geography.
addition of Essential Reality in Literature.
Criterion for evaluation & acceptance
The human values via consciousness development or Chetna Vikas Mulya Shiksha (CVMS) fulfills the following criterion:
- Universal – naturally acceptable to the human & natural to existence/nature – is not be an imposition
- Perennial – Timeless truths are free of the limitations of space & time.
- Logical & Verifiable – Appeals to human reasoning and intuitively & experientially verifiable
- Livable: comes in living – improves quality of understanding and living and leads to harmony with humans and nature
- student article: चेतना विकास मूल्य शिक्षा- एक परिचय
- Educational Material, textbooks, etc.
– shriram narasimhan | student | janaury 2017
[ More in this Section ]
- About our Alternative Schools – a new beginning
- In Existing Schools – humanization of education
- Human Values courses in Higher Education
- Allied Human values courses (HVPE) – experiments in professional courses
- Where we work: our current reach in Education