Notes from a presentation given by Didi Anandarama at the Berlin Sector ETC
Neohumanist Education is firmly rooted in the philosophy and principles of Neohumanism which is defined as the practice of love for all creation including plants, animals and the inanimate world. Neohumanism stands for the liberation of intellect from dogmas and limiting sentiments and extending one’s loving heart to all and everything in this universe. It is a harmonious blending of oriental introversial philosophy and occidental extroversial science.
NHE has four pillars Philosophy – Principles – Methods- TeacherI. Philosophical Foundations of NHE are based on the definitions of philosophy as given by Shrii P. R. Sarkar which comprise the following:
Ontology – Oneness of existence Epistemology – Absolute and relative knowledge Axiology – Cardinal human values Psychology – Expanded view of the mind
Metaphysics – Cycle of creation Spiritual Practise – Yoga practices
II. NHE Principles From the above philosophical components we derive practical guiding principles for NHE, which are: Universal Love (Ontology) Knowledge of Self and World Applied for universal welfare, ecological and social consciousness, academic, practical and personal skills (Epistemology) Cardinal Human Values and Universalism (Axiology) Holistic Development of the Child(Psychology) Unique unfolding of the Individual(Metaphysics) Astaunga Yoga (Spiritual Practice)
NHE is empowering children in two ways: internally through personal development with the goal to realize oneself; and externally through acquisition of worldly knowledge with the goal to serve the world in a better way. NHE strives for a harmonious balance between subjective inner development and objective adjustment in the world. Personal development is the backbone of the curriculum and therefore the NHE curriculum places subjects of self-development at the core, such as Supra Aesthetics, Music and Arts, Language Arts, YES-Astaunga Yoga, Philosophy, Biopsychology, Physical Education, Communication and STUVOL.
Other subjects come at the periphery such as earth sciences, maths, history etc. The core subjects ensure the desired outcome as envisioned by Shrii P. R. Sarkar in the Education anagram:
Enlargement of mind Discipline Universal outlook
Character Active habits Trustworthiness Ideation of the Great Omniscient grace Nice temperament
III. NHE Methods While the philosophy and principles of NHE are fixed, its methodology is flexible, creative and culturally sensitive. NHE curriculum specifics are emergent and integrated, tapping into the interests of the student and meeting the needs of real life in the locality. A few significant highlights of NHE methods given by Shrii P.R. Sarkar are what he calls the ‘Fundamentals of Learning’ which are:
1. freedom from dogma
2. awaken thirst for knowledge
3. freedom from distractions (internal,external, societal, emotional, etc)
Students are best taught through:
1. the exemplary role of the teacher
2. The current of joy – stories, play, games,
rhythm, movement, repetition, project work.
3. Inquiry by students
4. Idealism and realism
IV. Teachers are Social Leaders They embody the noblest qualities of humanity:
personal integrity, strength of character, righteousness, a feeling for social service, unselfishness , inspiring personality, leadership ability, high professional standard