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Educating the Whole Child for the Whole World

Educating the Whole Child for the Whole World: The Ross School Model and Education for the Global Era

Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco
Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 221
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  • Book Info
    Educating the Whole Child for the Whole World
    Book Description:

    At the dawn of the twenty-first century, we are living in a global era, yet schooling systems remain generally reactive and slow to adapt to shifting economic, technological, demographic, and cultural terrains. There is a growing urgency to create, evaluate, and expand new models of education that are better synchronized with the realities of today's globally linked economies and societies.Educating the Whole Child for the Whole World examines one such model: the ethos and practices of the Ross Schools and their incubation, promotion, and launching of new ideas and practices into public education. Over the last two decades Ross has come to articulate a systematic approach to education consciously tailored for a new era of global interdependence.In this volume, world-renowned scholars from a variety of disciplines, as well as veteran teachers, administrators, and students, come together to examine some of the best practices in K-12 education in the context of an increasingly interconnected world. Together they explore how the Ross model of education, which cultivates in students a global perspective, aligns with broader trends in the arts, humanities, and sciences in the new millennium.Contributors: Nick Appelbaum, Ralph Abraham, Antonio M. Battro, Sally Booth, Michele Clays, Elizabeth M. Daley, Antonio Damasio, Hanna Damasio, Kurt W. Fischer, Howard Gardner, Vartan Gregorian, Christina Hinton, Hideaki Koizumi, Debra McCall, Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj, John Sexton, Carola Suarez-Orozco, Marcelo M. Suarez-Orozco, William Irwin Thompson, and Sherry Turkle.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-8655-0
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword: Reflections of a Ross School Graduate
    (pp. vii-viii)

    At the landing of the great Daru Staircase in the Louvre, the Winged Victory of Samothrace statue is on grand display. Outside the Ross School in East Hampton, New York, feet away from my former high school classrooms, stands a copy of the original. On a ninth-grade class trip to Paris, our teacher commented that we would likely be more intimately familiar with the statue than the majority of the Louvre’s visitors. We had studied Nike not only from books but from the beautiful replica, seeing it each day on our way to classes, and our teachers, representing a mix...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction: Architectures of Care: Educating the Whole Child for the Whole World
    (pp. 1-24)

    We live in an era of rapid change, increasing interdependence, and unprecedented complexity. The global integration and disintegration of markets, shared environmental threats, unstable states, the massive migrations of people, and the ubiquity of new technologies represent a new metacontext challenging the institutions of nation-states the world over. The basic problems of the twenty-first century—including economic meltdowns, environmental degradation, deep poverty, and new health threats—are planetary in scope and cannot be contained, much less meaningfully addressed, by individual nation-states, no matter how strong or isolated. National sovereignty and local identities, powerful as they are, now abut with an...

  6. PART I. Rethinking Education in the Global Era

    • 1 Education in an Era of Specialized Knowledge
      (pp. 27-42)

      This book offers an occasion for both reflecting on and celebrating the immeasurable contributions that Courtney Ross has made to the field of education. The Ross Schools, which embody her efforts to realize an educational vision enriched by an integration of scholarship, culture, science, and the arts, present a model that is vital for today’s students both here and abroad.

      How does an individual become educated, cultured, and cultivated in an era of specialization? This is a particularly critical question today because we are in the midst of an information revolution that may well surpass the Industrial Revolution in its...

    • 2 The Case for Global Education
      (pp. 43-48)

      We live in a world without boundaries, a global community we enter with only a keypad stroke. What does it mean to educate citizens who are instantly linked to people on every continent, who share a fluency in the technologies of communication that erase borders and enliven languages, who take for granted a transparent, permeable world? Those of us who are passionate about the possibilities of education are summoned to design a mode of learning for a world in hyperchange. We are asked to prepare tomorrow’s citizens not for a single, predefined career until retirement but for a life of...

    • 3 A Tangled Web: Reflections on the Roles of Science, Policy, and Assessment in Education
      (pp. 49-58)

      In no area of human endeavor are science and policy more regularly confounded than in the sphere of education. Two spheres that should be kept at arm’s length are almost routinely collapsed with one another. Today policy makers in the United States go even further—bridging three spheres! The findings of science and the pronouncements of policy are automatically linked to questions of assessment and evaluation. Almost as soon as a finding is reported or a policy is proposed, pressures mount for an objective measurement of it. A climate results in which the overly broad claim and the quick fix...

  7. PART II. The New Science of Engagement:: Mind, Brain, and Education in a School Context

    • 4 Mind, Brain, and Education
      (pp. 61-68)

      From the very beginning of her career as a professional educator, Courtney Ross was alert to the possibility that brain science could make a contribution to how teachers teach and students learn. Education is about enriching and shaping human minds, and it stands to reason that the more we know about the workings of the human mind the better prepared we shall be to understand the complex task of educating. It is just as clear that our knowledge of the human mind has gained substantially from what neuroscience tells us about the workings of themind-making brain.

      In this chapter,...

    • 5 Research Schools: Connecting Research and Practice at the Ross School
      (pp. 69-80)

      At a typical research conference, Sophie would be tucked neatly into a PowerPoint presentation: underachiever. This description is cold, calm, wrapped in tidy numbers and politically correct phrases. An underachiever is a negative outcome from an equation of risk factors. She does not have a scar on her left knee from the time she fell off the monkey bars. She does not twirl her coffee-colored hair with her pencil when she is lost in a thought. She does not find a friend with tears in her eyes and make silly faces until they both break into an uncontrollable gale of...

    • 6 Toward a New Educational Philosophy
      (pp. 81-94)

      Twice, first in 2004 and then in 2006, I spent several days at the Ross School in East Hampton, New York. During my visits, I had the opportunity to observe various classes (from kindergarten through high school), speak with many students, engage in discussions with enthusiastic teachers, and even attend some lectures. A consistent, comprehensive educational vision was evident in each visit. An impressive set of basic principles guides the Ross School vision: the spiral curriculum, which combines the developmental processes of culture and civilization while bridging and fusing art and science to nurture enthusiasm and aspiration. This is a...

  8. PART III. Creativity and Integration

    • 7 Multimedia Literacy: A Critical Component of Twenty-first Century Education
      (pp. 97-108)

      When I first met Courtney Ross in the early 1990s, it was clear that even then in her plans for the Ross School she was anticipating the dramatic changes that technology would bring to the generation then entering the world of formal education. She was also aware that traditional institutions were for the most part not thinking about addressing these changes unless it was to defend against them. Our early conversations centered on the critical issues of how technology and an ever-increasing visual media environment needed to be addressed at the earliest stages of education. While there are many innovations...

    • 8 Object Lessons
      (pp. 109-124)

      In the ongoing national conversation about science education in America, there is a new consensus that we have entered a time of crisis in our relationship to the international scientific and engineering community.¹ For generations we have led; now Americans wonder why our students are turning away from science and mathematics—at best content to be the world’s brokers, broadcasters, and lawyers and at worst simply dropping out—while foreign students press forward on a playing field newly leveled by the resources of the World Wide Web (Friedman 2005). Leaders in science and technology express dismay. On this theme, Bill...

    • 9 The Trouble with Math
      (pp. 125-138)

      Since 1994, the Ross School on Long Island has evolved a curriculum based on a core of world cultural history using an outline I wrote and a long essay written by the historian William Irwin Thompson for the Ross School in 1995. Thompson has devoted considerable time to working with teams of teachers to develop specific course materials for this program, now known as the Ross spiral curriculum. Since each grade at the Ross School is devoted to an epoch of cultural history, and the epochs and grades follow in chronological sequence, it is possible to integrate all of the...

  9. PART IV. Theories and Practices

    • 10 Choreographing the Curriculum: The Founder’s Influence as Artist, Visionary, and Humanitarian
      (pp. 141-156)

      Courtney Sale Ross envisioned a school that would prepare students for active engagement in the twenty-first century. As an artist, she brought a visual sensibility to this endeavor and often employed imagistic metaphors to convey her vision. In the early years a series of images of a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly was mounted in the faculty lounge. Every year or two she would ask where we, as a faculty, thought the school was in the process. This was an apt metaphor for the Ross School. A filmmaker, gallery owner, and curator, Courtney Ross thought in terms of preproduction, production,...

    • 11 Mathematics and Culture
      (pp. 157-162)

      The chaos mathematician Ralph Abraham is passionate about the disastrous impact of the plague of “math anxiety” on American culture (see Abraham, this volume). I am a living example of the educational damage that the conventional American approach to mathematical instruction can inflict. In spite of my interdisciplinary interests, and an Ivy League PhD in cultural history and literary studies, I am practically a functional illiterate in mathematics. What I remember of math instruction in parochial, private, and public schools is rote “drill and kill” commands in soulless operations completely disconnected from any larger meaning. The sort of person who...

    • 12 The Butterflies of the Soul
      (pp. 163-170)

      Metaphors are the seed of many scientific models. At the Ross School we were willing to explore how a metaphor can serve as a trigger for interdisciplinary work in a school. Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1923/1981, 99), one of the founders of modern neuroanatomy, suggested that the neurons were those “mysterious butterflies of the soul” that “would someday enlighten the secret of mental life.” At the Ross School several mentors, teachers, and high school students organized a network of literature, visual art, music, sculpture, dance, history, computers, communication, and neuroscience. The results were amazing: a fifteen-year-old girl produced a video...

    • 13 Educating the Whole Child for the Whole World: The Ross Model in Sweden
      (pp. 171-188)

      Courtney Ross has left an indelible mark on contemporary conceptions of education. Her original vision of developing a model of education that nurtures curious, creative, and culturally and socially responsible students for the global era has blossomed into multiple schools, a growing support organization, and a vast network of like-minded educators, policy makers, scholars, and students. The Ross Institute is the umbrella organization that gives unity to the purpose and vision of the multiple projects—local, national, and international—developed by the Ross School and the Ross Institute Academy. All of these initiatives, which range from longitudinal research projects in...

  10. Epilogue: We Are Waiting for You
    (pp. 189-194)

    In our country, graduations are very important. They serve as a rite of passage, one of the few ceremonies we use to mark the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another. Graduations are important not just because they provide students with the opportunity to be recognized for what they have done but also because they allow parents, relatives, and friends a chance to reflect on the students’ journey, a journey that they all played major roles in seeing you through.

    Yet even such occasions are not entirely joyous. Many commentators are issuing scary, ominous prognoses about...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 195-200)

    Education systems around the world are facing unprecedented challenges and opportunities: they must educate ever more diverse cohorts of students to greater levels of competency at a time when societies, and their economies, have become increasingly interconnected and vulnerable to global upheavals. The forces shaping the lives of children growing up today are a complex network of interlinked micro, meso, and macro variables. The local realm—family, neighborhood, school—and the national realm are now thoroughly enmeshed in global processes. The basic paradigm of education and schooling, traditionally wedded to the cultural, historical, and ideological DNA of the autonomous, sovereign,...

  12. About the Contributors
    (pp. 201-204)
  13. Index
    (pp. 205-212)