Are the New 3 R’s and the Student-Centered, Inquiry Driven Classroom a Means to Eastern Spirituality?

We are so trained to defer to religious beliefs as a private matter and something that, at least in the US, Government is supposed to stay out of, that it can take a sledgehammer hit to force us to look at what was staring us in the face all along. I would write stories and then run into the advocates as teachers in a California Wisdom Center. And ignore it. I have traced many of the education reformers/professors to discussions about Third Order Consciousness. And ignored it. Mustn’t be controversial.  It’s a private matter.

I wrote posts about sought Deep and Continual Personal Change  within each Student and ignored the clear references to Meditation Practices. It’s just not how I think. It’s an area I did not want to go to. I have written about Peter Senge and his Systems Thinking and his Presencing book but chose to overlook the links of his sought education and organization practices to his Buddhist practices and beliefs. Again we want to see spirituality as a private, personal matter. Bringing it up and discussing it are off limits. Even when personal Spiritual/ Internal Values are clearly targeted by the Full Personality/holistic education/Systems Thinking focus we are discussing.

The Sledgehammer forced me to confront this Reality recently when I was filing some of my research and glanced at a xeroxed Preface called “Education Trends in a World Crisis” from a 1954 book Education in the New Age. Now its author, Alice A. Bailey, is a controversial New Age enthusiast/Theosophist and apparently much more (you can search out the more lurid details. That’s not my point) but the description in the Preface fit the emotionally driven, intuitive, nonrational mind we have been chronicling. That was the desired Goal. Bailey was the one describing the Sought Mental Global Reality in Students and Future Voters we have been examining in terms  of synthesizing Tibetan spirituality practices.

She was the one writing about using education globally to “resynthesize the objective and subjective, the extrovert [the West] and the introvert [Oriental Asian] civilizations and to achieve a great orchestration of culture.” When you mention culture like that and it turns out the book is a write-up of a 1953 seminar in Chicago funded by the Ford Foundation and you go on to describe your education “project” as based on a UNESCO document you have my full, undivided attention. Most of what we have encountered throughout this blog’s journey traces back to UNESCO involvement and Ford funding. The Regional Equity Movement now is a high priority of Ford and they have hired a John Goodlad confederate, Jeanne Oakes, away from UCLA’s Center for Democracy and Education. She is behind most of the research claiming academic tracking is a bad idea. Ford Foundation employees edited Breakthrough Communities: Sustainability and Justice in the Next American Metropolis. The book I got the Van Jones essay from.  Same involved employees were listed as part of that CA Wisdom Center I already chose to ignore.

Sledgehammer moment caused me to go check to see if Bailey’s book was still in print. The answer? Yes, with its Twelfth Printing listed as 2012. This year. Someone thinks this is still a relevant global vision. For UNESCO’s Education for All globally? For its Decade of Education for Sustainable Development? To promote the Orwellian named, John Dewey inspired, Quality Learning, globally? Only one way to find out. So I bought Bailey’s 1954 book as well as a 1932 book, with a 1960 copyright published in 1972, called From Intellect to Intuition. You see I remembered the kind of emotionally-driven, Arational Minds being sought via education and wanted to see if part of the impetus for rejecting Axemaker Minds was coming out of this Altered Consciousness to fit with Eastern Spirituality emphasis. That would be a huge, emphatic YES!! More on that shortly or in the next post. Remember I am providing those dates above for a reason. Think of World Affairs at those times.

Bailey’s Goal for Education is not the least bit modest. She wants to inculcate a World-view in each person on the planet Earth that “will make possible a planetary civilization by integrating whatever trans-temporal and trans-spatial truths about man and the universe we can extract from all regional cultures in their local times and places.” That was Thomas Berry’s Bioregional Vision too. Also involved with the CA Wisdom Center I ignored.

Bailey was seeking a totalizing World-view or Governing Ideology that guides one through all elements of daily living. Her aspiration, in 1954, was that the World-view taught provide “the kind of overall synthesis that Marxism and neo-Scholasticism provide for their followers [no need then for individual free decision-making], but to get this by the freely chosen cooperative methods that Dewey advocated.”

That would be the Student-Centered, Inquiry Driven Classroom John Dewey wanted with its Quality Learning goal. . The kind of classroom and practices the accreditors like AdvancED and consulting companies like Cambridge Education mandate in their reports about Quality. Now. In 2011 and 2012.

That would be the same Quality Learning that is “intuited rather than deduced, felt rather than described, and is immediate to the situation [concrete real world problems in context] rather than removed from it [the forbidden abstract conceptualizations within the privacy of your own mind with your own set of known facts].

Now it is time to pivot to the 1932 From Intellect to Intuition since the sought focus in Quality Learning is feeling and intuition as well. The book is about meditation and “leading man into his heritage as a human being” through educational and psychological practices so that together these two “lead him to the door of the mystical world.” This occurs by training students to use Direct Experience and then turn inwards toward themselves to Reflect upon it. Remember the constancy of this phrase? “The heart and mind become united in their endeavor.” Bailey’s idea is that through “right education,” emotionally-driven, experiential education, (No she did not use the word Hands-On Education but that would be the 21st century version of her idea), the “mind and soul” learn

“to be receptive towards impressions emanating from the mind.” This to Bailey is meditation but to work it requires moving education away from “education of the memory and the cataloguing of world knowledge.” Sound Familiar? Can’t be “the old education with its memory training, its books and lectures and its appropriation of so-called facts.” This is the actual CCSSI implementation model. Cannot be about the teacher transmitting knowledge. That’s a Barrier to a Mind open to Bailey’s New Knowledge. Must be about the New 3 R’s–Relationships, Rigor, and Relevance.

Bailey talks a lot about Right Relations with all of humanity in her books. That was the first tip-off that reminded me of the New 3 R’s. I remembered Willard Daggett in CCSSI training of teachers saying that “Relevance makes Rigor Possible.” I got he meant relevance makes an emotional approach primary. Then I read the following passage in Bailey’s book on creating the Meditative Mind:

“The question may be asked, what is the easiest way to teach oneself to concentrate? . . . one way that may be employed is to utilize what has been called the ‘expulsive power of a new affection.’ To be profoundly interested in some new and intriguing subject, and to have one’s attention focussed on some fresh and dynamic matter will automatically tend to make the mind one-pointed.”

That passage on getting to an inward feeling focus that is not rational provides a good definition of Relevance. But it also makes the arrival of the new C3 Framework, Social Studies Standards, from the previous post, even more important. Making the classroom focus Questions about “societal issues, trends, and events” that the student is interested in is precisely the kind of “new and intriguing” and “fresh and dynamic” matter Bailey wrote about so long ago.

I am just getting started. This turned into quite an illuminating inquiry once I recognized where I had to look. Except my inquiry is not John Dewey’s definition.

Mine is driven by facts and open declarations of intent.



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