In-Service Workshop at The River School, Maleny Australia
By Dr. Marcus Bussey
An In Service Workshop was held at The River School at the beginning of the school year, on January 17th 2012 by Dr. Marcus Bussey. The objectives of the workshop were to begin to reflect on what it is that constitutes Neohumanism and Neohumanist Education, to distil principles and work towards concrete curricula expression of these principles and to begin to make a data base of Neohumanist objectives, indicators and actions
The teachers each made a statement about their personal passions. Some brought these into their teaching but others left them open. This was very moving and created a wonderful and trusting space for the rest of the workshop.
Teachers were each given a copy of the online document “Finding Relationship as a base for Neohumanist Classroom Practice”. (see page 25 in this newsletter). They all read individually and marked elements from the reading that they found relevant to their teaching.
Teachers formed groups based on a disciplinary interest, Numeracy, Science, Literacy and the Arts, and distilled key features of Neohumanism. Then they looked for effects of these principles. This was done on the premise that all concepts have ‘effects’ – or as Sarkar would frame it – “Life is an ideological flow”
Over lunch the material generated through this discussion was synthesized into a single document by Marcus and given back to the teachers for the afternoon session.
Marcus gave an overview of neohumanist Cosmology via a discussion of the Brahma Chakra cycle. He introduced the concept of microvita and suggested that meditation generated positive microvita which can impact on classroom practice.
The final session was a discussion on what to do in the classroom to implement aspects of the structure staff had identified. This discussion was based around Lower and Upper primary division and also a separate group for Specialist teachers.
The workshop closed with a general discussion that identified key features of Neohumanist learning and its implications for classroom practice. Marcus reminded all that teachers were also scholars and that they needed to stay alive to thinking in the areas of holistic education, neohumanist education and reflective classroom practice. The place to begin is in staff meetings and in making time to read and reflect. The school can support this by creating a NHE hub where resources and lesson plans etc are stored for teachers. Neohumanist schools are part of a global movement away from materialism towards deeper consciousness. All staff were excited by this prospect.
Overview from Marcus:
1. Take teaching personally – start with who you are today but grow your potential and share the joy and struggle of this
2. Find time to be still every day
3. Find connections (relationships) in everything
4. Teacher as Bridge builder between the present and a desired ‘spiritual/Neohumanist’ future
5. Teachers are scholars – reflect on practice personally, seek out peers to share and reflect, look to a supporting body of literature, scan your culture to find new developments beyond education that feed consciousness growth
6. Neohumanism is philosophical in form; revolutionary in spirit; spiritual in orientation
7. Do not rush teaching/learning – allow time for ‘slow education’ – this creates space for reflection, dreaming and discovery
8. Link personal passions to our teaching practice
9. Do not be afraid to experiment
10. Love what you do and it will work
11. Be prepared to make mistakes
12. Develop confidence by exploring Neohumanism – i.e. become strong through knowledge of and participation in the neohumanist intellectual and practical history to date
13. Share resources and experiences
14. Meet regularly to refresh inspiration and encourage one another
15. Do not separate emotions and head in learning
16. Understand that spirituality is a form of inquiry that can be assessed by its effects – i.e. it is like science in that it can be tested, reviewed, shared
17. Practice deep listening
18. Understand that the principle of relationship (aka Universalism) has ethical implications which flow into our teaching
19. Neohumanism is an intercultural conversation which draws on Eastern Tantric cosmology and integrates this (in the Australian context) with Western pedagogical practices
20. There is an inner-outer dimension to all teaching – we need to find alignment with/between the inner and outer