The New Education and Authentic Learning
Education is a calling…a vocation of passion for individuals who care about our next generation and our collective future. Educators today are so often bogged down by the subjects they are teaching that they often forget they are builders of this most important future. The young people are not only inheritors of our past but are also our pilgrims into the next phase of evolutionary consciousness. They are the architects for the coming phases that include social, cultural and global development. They have the potential to no longer imitate what has come before them but rather imagining the scaffolding for structures that lead us into a better future.
As educators, we need to invite children and youth, our students, to envision a world they want. They must engage in a process of how to fully realize their inner potential and share this with the world. Furthermore they need to explore and imagine how could we co-exist as one humanity and what does it truly mean that humanity is interconnected and interdependent. If we are to educate our children for these deeper understandings of life, then we must prepare them for the understanding that all consciousness is always evolving and is more and more accessible.
Our upcoming generation is at a crossroads of a major historic time of challenge. It is our educational duty to convey the present day situation and knowledge while furthering the recognition that each and every one of us has a divine essence hidden beneath the many layers of cultural, ethnic and religious differences.
Today, science and spirituality are coming to the same conclusion that all people are intrinsically similar; the human genome project has proven that we are genetically 99.9 % alike with only 1 tenth of one percent that makes us different. Until we realize that I am you and you are me, only then will right action and thought be supported by the universal laws of nature. Until we can concentrate on what makes us the same instead of what makes us different, only then can we deal with the challenges ahead. It is imperative that we spend our time and resources on young people, supporting leadership and educational experiences that promote respectful communities, common ethics, sustainable practices, peace, and economic opportunities.
We are also learning that one’s genetic makeup can be always changing depending on one’s intent. Increase our positive intention and change our genetic makeup. This gives our future a better mapping of possibilities.
Education comes from the word educare…which means to draw forth or lead out. This drawing forth implies that there is someone or some understandings that are residing within us. This drawing forth is focused on a request to explore through intuitive knowing what emanates from the eternal self, the Divine Spark, that is an historic essence that continues in time and space. This is a means of reflecting our true individual identity. Educating for seeking inner truths of who each student is individually and how one is connected as one humanity, is a process of self-reflection and inner valuing of an Authentic Self. This essence, an Authentic Self, the Divine Spark, that which each and every one of us contains has a personal expression and something of value to offer the world. This spark is where interconnectedness and interdependence unite with the source of all. This spark carries within it a sense of selfness that can only be described by the individual and known through self-exploration. This essence has no personal negative nor positive self- esteem but rather is fully evolved and has purpose. It is through the recognition of that life purpose that the student can fully reach his or her potential and be fully empowered to make a difference in the world. As one recognizes this true self, one begins to explore the relationship of self to others and the realization that each and every life has meaning and relevance and can impact the whole.
This inner self is always asking to be fully recognized. Thus schooling no longer is looked at as a place of not only preparation for a professional future but schooling is considered for the personal realization for the individual to be fully actualized and pursue a life of caring for all of life from one’s self to the greater whole.
Our world is changing and we see our global family as one. Looking at the world landscape it is obvious that we are amidst a grand revolution that is pushing us into a sea of new understanding. The scientific realization of interconnectivity and union translated into the field of education can lead educators to foster the understanding of evolution of consciousness. We can teach to know the self as one with others and that one can help build the potential of altering the world to be a better place for all. It is with this support of the inner self, leading to inner peace for self-actualization to fostering greater peace for all.
Altering our educational philosophy for “Authentic Learning” becomes the source of teaching rather than the present day practice of schooling for information. Information can be acquired easily through many means. . If educators would begin to realize that we are the fore runners of building culture then we would take this responsibility a little more to heart and work from the understanding of supporting the young person in his/her personal journey to becoming an authentic learner and person of caring.
The new emerging educational philosophy recognizes that within each and every one of us resides a Divine Spark that is the true essence of who we are. Relying on the divine spark we are able to learn the essence of educating for such principles as truth, justice, compassion and equity for all. Education then is able to forward the hope for a better world—one in which each child has the opportunity to dream a dream of self-fulfillment within the context of the whole. The student ‘s essence or divine spark is the mirror of self-acceptance and love of the other while learning to live in conscious awareness of the greater good.
The question then is how are principles and the concept of a true essence of the individual become translated into the subject areas needed in schools? How do we as educators prepare our young people to use these principles “respect for all life, reject violence, share with others, listen to understand, preserve the planet, and rediscover solidarity” as the overarching theme. We can begin to design curriculum for academic growth but within its content includes principles for conscious life skills. These life skills are focused on participating in a global society as a positive member of our world community. We can educate and redesign our strategies for learning based on the study of the self from the life of the atom to progress in the outer world. This means studying from the inner Divine Spark to our place in the human family, our place in our community, our place in time, our place in the world and our place in our planetary universe. This curriculum includes all the expected academic basics but more importantly emphasizes the miracle of life, the importance of interdependence, and the recognition that consciousness exists and is what holds together through what we call the web of life.
This is the potential of educational reform or the reformation of the “I” into the understanding of wholeness of the human family. It is through education that a future generation can bring forth a culture that recognizes our present ills and become fully self realized as interconnected and interdependent and thus clearing the mind for inner and outer peace for one and for all.
As an educator, I define several modes or models for thinking about this potential. These modes or models are terms used to help categorize activities for use within the classroom setting and included in the model for Authentic Learning. An important conceptual model is “inquiry learning” and/or “reflective learning” that emphasizes the truth and acceptance that we each have an inherent wisdom. This wisdom needs to be explored and supported. Teaching needs to focus on asking the right questions and offering the resources. Thus the teacher becomes a facilitator rather than the instructor. As a result of the reflective process for “altruistic learning” occurs implying to serve another’s needs is equivalent to serving one’s own needs. Another aspect of Authentic Learning is “experiential learning” that allows the learner to experience learning on a deeper more intense manner using experiences as a source for reflection and acquiring information. Examining the world and reaching personal and social conclusions leads to the needs for each individual to know and understand their relationship within the whole. Included in this thinking mode is ”systems learning” so that we educate for the understanding that all parts belong to a whole. Holistic thinking is a process that allows us to incorporate the self while learning that the whole is greater than all of its parts within a system. Another model for thinking and including in building true authentic learning style is “transpersonal learning”. This includes personal and interpersonal relationships as a means for learning abut the self in relationship to the others for the building a future culture. All these models working together educate the individual learner to invent ideas while serving the greater good.
Education for living consciously using life’s principles of justice, equity and goodness fosters a set of universal ethics. Ethics are a standard by which all humanity needs to adhere to for us to live successfully as one human family. Education offers this bridge from personal ethics to collective freedom. This freedom is expressed as harmony within the self and with others or known as where the heart and the mind unite bringing peace and deep understanding.
Code of Ethics: Actions Based on Selflessness and Love
LOVE for the form, voice, thoughts and spirit of each person
RESPECT for differences
HONESTY of our feelings, thoughts and behaviors; to be transparent
TRUTH in feelings and thoughts
COURAGE to take a stand
HUMILITY to reflect inner peace
WISDOM to be a seeker
The search for this authentic self, the universal human that lives as fulfilled and connected to source.
For educators interested in methods of discovery of the divine spark there are certain types of exercises that fulfill this possibility.
REFLECT is the journey we take to awaken the inner self. The path may include meditation, contemplation, and or prayer. As we become still, we hear the inner calling of our authentic self and experience personal purpose.
The inner quest for the authentic self
As you go more deeply into the self, you realize that you are not defined by your surroundings, parents, culture nor religion. Rather, inside you dwells a loving human being seeking full expression.
1. Who am I really as my authentic self?
2. What unique gifts do I bring to the world?
3. How can I manifest my inner dreams for the world?
CONNECT bridges the gap between self and others, leading to unity. Through deep compassion and listening, conflict transcendence, and non-violent communication we learn that it is possible to live in harmony, weaving the interconnectedness of our family worldwide.
Deep compassion for others
You become conscious of how you can best express yourself in the world for the highest good. Transforming conflict, using language that recognizes the other, appreciating without judging, all these can occur when you no longer judge yourself. You begin to act as part of a whole. A sense of unity occurs that can be called love or spirituality in action.
4. How do I find connectedness and build a purposeful unity?
5. How do I hear the inner heart of another person?
6. How do I handle conflict in my life?
ACT is taking the inspired will to serve others in the world through individual actions, local projects and global work. These acts are based on spiritual principles and ethics of Spiritual Activism.
Knowing what to do
The third step is based on awareness of a global community of young people who are waiting to connect with you. Together you are the new leaders of this evolving Consciousness for social change. You share a growing awareness of how to live as stewards of all of life. From this consciousness, new models of how to live in our world emerge ensuring a sustainable future for all of humanity.
7. What does it mean to live as a Spiritual Activist?
8. What actions can I take to promote conscious social change?
9. What skills and abilities do I need to make a positive difference in the lives of others?
Our children’s future lies in our hands. The mind is a tool used for learning but the wisdom of the heart is the driving guidance. As young people focus on inner reflection they are called forth to do acts of kindness in their lives and in the lives of others.
There are many examples of young people who have recognized their inner truth, living their Divine Spark, and set out into the world to make a difference.
- Lawrence of Liberia saw his father murdered and then ended up in a refugee camp to live in the same room as the murderer. Lawrence through inner reflection and prayer was able to forgive this man and come to peace within himself.
- Karoline’s father was abducted and shot and Karoline met the man who committed this atrocity and forgave him through seeking and spiritual knowledge she learned to be at peace with him and her loss.
- In Nepal Jimmy attended many programs starting at age 22, became inspired and now has built schools in rural Nepal serving over 5000 students .
- Mark from the Philippines started school bag programs based on children needing supplies to go to school as he had done and thus is now serving over 100 schools.
- Apeadu Center initiated by deeper learnings has in Ghana offered trainings to local school children from the area and programs for teachers on self-esteem and leadership for students for the past 10 years.
- Ashfaque raised funds to serve the many children during earthquake times with medical supplies and school materials.
- In Switzerland a group of youth work for many years on Free Hugs in the cities such as Berne, Zurich, Basel etc. breaking cultural barriers of touching and expressing feelings expressing their inner need to fulfill the understanding that we are one family of humanity.
In conclusion, it is a timely moment in our history of humanity. We are so fortunate to be born now and to have this great choice to walk into a brilliant future and redesign our systems. We educate to move beyond religious divides into the understanding that we are all spiritual beings. Our philosophical premise recognizes that all of life is sacred. Each of us contains that sacred divine spark and thus all know all life is to be valued and is valuable. This understanding leads our hearts to sing,” May Prevail On Earth.”