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The Holistic Curriculum

The Holistic Curriculum: Second Edition

Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    The Holistic Curriculum
    Book Description:

    First published in 1988,The Holistic Curriculumexamines the philosophical, psychological, and social foundations of holistic education, outlining its history and discussing practical applications in the classroom.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8559-8
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    John P. Miller
  4. Part One: Holistic Curriculum:: The Context

    • CHAPTER ONE Holistic Curriculum: The Why and the What
      (pp. 3-15)

      Holistic education attempts to bring education into alignment with the fundamental realities of nature. Nature at its core is interrelated and dynamic. We can see this dynamism and connectedness in the atom, organic systems, the biosphere, and the universe itself (Capra 1996). Unfortunately, the human world since the Industrial Revolution has stressed compartmentalization and standardization. The result has been fragmentation.

      This fragmentation permeates everything (Senge, Scharmer, Jaworski & Flowers, 2005, p. 190). First, we have separated economic life from the surrounding environment, and the result has been ecological devastation. The air we breathe and the water we drink are often foul....

    • CHAPTER TWO The Philosophic Context: The Perennial Philosophy
      (pp. 16-24)

      The ‘perennial philosophy’ (Huxley, 1970) provides the philosophic underpinnings of the holistic curriculum. The perennial philosophy holds that all life is connected in an interdependent universe. Stated differently, we experience relatedness through a fundamental ground of being.

      The roots of holistic education can be found in a core wisdom underlying various spiritual traditions and teachings. This core wisdom is referred to as theperennial philosophy. It is possible to identify the perennial philosophy, or at least aspects of it, within the mystical thread of most religions and spiritual psychologies. In the West the search for the perennial philosophy can be...

    • CHAPTER THREE The Psychological Context: The Unconditioned Self
      (pp. 25-46)

      The perennial philosophy is based on the concept that within each human being is a conditioned self, or soul. This is the deepest part of being, which at the same time is connected to the highest principle of the universe – God, or the Tao. Hinduism refers to the Atman (individual consciousness)–Brahman (universal consciousness) connection. Before examining the soul in more detail, let us briefly review the three educational orientations discussed in chapter 1 and their psychologies and focus. This is done in the form of a chart:

      Behavioural psychology ignores the inner life of the person and is...

    • CHAPTER FOUR The Social Context: An Ecological/Interdependent Perspective
      (pp. 47-66)

      We have tended to think non-contextually in terms of education; that is, we have not linked the school curriculum to the surrounding social milieu. One of the assumptions of this book is that a particular curriculum approach can often be linked with a parallel social context. With regard to the three positions of learning, the following links can be made:

      1. transmission position – laissez-faire economics

      2. transaction position – rational planning

      3. transformation position – an ecological approach

      In this chapter, I would like to briefly refer to the first two positions and then outline the transformation perspective in more detail.


    • CHAPTER FIVE Holistic Curriculum: Historical Background
      (pp. 67-86)

      The holistic curriculum is not new. Educators and philosophers have articulated its principles and used it for centuries. However, each age has had to redefine the holistic curriculum in its own terms. The major problem confronting holistic educators has been integrating its two strands. One strand has focused on personal growth. Within this strand is a further division between those who stress psychological growth (humanistic educators) and those who emphasize spiritual growth (transpersonal educators). Of course, the line between these substrands is not always clear, as the transpersonal educators usually include psychological development as a component of spiritual growth.


  5. Part Two: Holistic Curriculum:: Practice

    • CHAPTER SIX Intuitive Connections
      (pp. 89-111)

      At the beginning of the book I offered the following definition of holistic education:

      The focus of holistic education is on relationships: the relationship between linear thinking and intuition, the relationship between mind and body, the relationships among various domains of knowledge, the relationship between the individual and community, the relationship to the earth, and our relationship to our souls. In the holistic curriculum the student examines these relationships so that he or she gains both an awareness of them and the skills necessary to transform the relationships where it is appropriate.

      The second part of this book explores these...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Body–Mind Connections
      (pp. 112-130)

      Wilder Penfield, the Canadian neurosurgeon and brain researcher, found that our awareness (the mind) is not located in any particular part of the brain but, in fact, directs the brain. According to Penfield (1975), our mind ‘seems to focus attention. The mind is aware of what is going on. The mind reasons and makes new decisions. It understands, it acts as though endowed with an energy of its own, it can make decisions and put them into effect by calling upon various brain mechanisms’ (p. 80). However, it is also possible for the brain to run on ‘automatic pilot’ without...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Subject Connections
      (pp. 131-147)

      Subjects have traditionally been at the heart of schooling. In the transmission curriculum they become central as subject matter can be taught in a manner unrelated to the needs and interests of students. In the holistic curriculum we attempt to make a number of connections with subject matter. One of the most important is between self and subject. If we can relate subject matter to the inner life of the child, subjects become less abstract and more relevant. It is also important to explore connections between subjects; this can be done through various integrated approaches to curriculum as well as...

    • CHAPTER NINE Community Connections
      (pp. 148-161)

      The holistic curriculum should foster connections between student and community. The most immediate community for the student is the classroom. Cooperative education, with its emphasis on learning teams, attempts to foster community within classrooms. Ideally the school as a whole should be a community, or a sanctuary, in Secretan’s (1996) terms. It is also important for the school to extend itself into the surrounding community, and there are programs which involve the student in community service activities or in social change programs. Finally global education attempts to connect the student to the global community. This chapter offers some suggestions for...

    • CHAPTER TEN Earth Connections
      (pp. 162-177)

      There is plenty of evidence (Orr, 1994) that we have become disconnected from the earth and its processes. Each year the ozone layer gets thinner and the amount of ultraviolet radiation increases by approximately 5 per cent. Human corpses now often contain enough toxins and metals to be classified as hazardous waste. Dolphins and whales that wash up on the shores of the St Lawrence River and the Atlantic also contain toxins. The human male sperm count has decreased 50 per cent worldwide since 1938. Industries in the United States release 11.4 billion tons of hazardous waste in a year....

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN Soul Connections
      (pp. 178-189)

      In defining the holistic curriculum I have stressed connections and relationships as the main vehicle for realizing the student’s true nature. This is in keeping with Steiner’s (1976) suggestion that ‘moving from one thing to another in a way that connects one thing with another is more beneficial than anything else for the development of spirit and soul and even body’ (p. 173). It is also possible to directly connect students with their inner lives, or their souls. The soul is defined here as a vital and mysterious energy that gives meaning and purpose to one’s life. In my book...

    • CHAPTER TWELVE Implementing and Evaluating the Holistic Curriculum
      (pp. 190-200)

      The holistic curriculum is rooted in the presence of the teacher. The first part of this chapter explores this critical variable as well as the importance of caring. I also examine how we can approach accountability in the holistic curriculum and conclude by discussing the process of change.

      Teaching involves three basic factors. First is the theory or assumptions underlying a teaching approach. Some researchers have referred to these underlying assumptions and theories as orientations (Eisner & Vallance, 1974; Miller, 1983). Second are the teaching strategies and practices that we employ in the classroom. The final factor is the presence of...

  6. Credits
    (pp. 201-202)
  7. Index
    (pp. 203-211)