Applying Ken Wilber's 4-Quadrant Model to an Integral Education

A civilization's technological power base in the LR can often evolve faster than the Cultural paradigm of education in the LL, contributing to a felt tension as a culture struggles, waiting for its interior world to mature to a level of competence relative to its exterior development. We can see this scenario play out in many high schools where the analytical methods of teaching and learning first instituted during the Industrial Revolution are still used today. Although our current techno-socio-economic base has evolved far beyond that of the Industrial Revolution (LR), our basic educational model (LL) has not. Today's children inhabit a complex world (LR) unforeseen fifty years ago, yet we maintain the confines of an academic model (LL) incapable of adequately handling its demanding provocation. The backwash manifests as tension, stress, anxiety, and overwhelm.

The study of dissipative structures reveals that when an open system (which is what an education system really is) begins to experience such overwhelm, it is due to the system's inability to disperse enough of the increasing entropy (chaos) into its surrounding environment. When this occurs, only one of two outcomes can result. Either the system will become overwhelmed by the increasing entropy and die, or a bifurcation point will arise in which an entirely new system evolves out of the old, producing a higher level of functioning. Likewise, our current educational paradigm is showing signs of such building entropy, and is coming to a point where its ability to contain the incredible stimulus of the Information Age will necessitate a jump to an altogether new model capable of doing the job.
All four Quadrants will need to be accessed in order to reach a consensus as to what an Integral Education encompasses. While the currently popular field of neuroscience is providing many answers as to how and why humans learn, it represents only one quadrant (UR). In order to engage the whole person, we must engage all the Quadrants. A few simple examples of incorporating the other quadrants include: addressing each student's inner beliefs about how easy or difficult various subjects are for him or her to learn (UL); incorporating Maria Montessori's concept of teacher as "felt presence" in the classroom (LR); spiritual community-based learning (LL); Lynn Freeman Dhority's twelve brain-based learning guidelines (UR); utilizing teaching methods which engage multiple intelligences and encourage awareness of other intelligences not focused on in class (UL); implementing Suggestopedia's innovative brain state-specific learning methods and environments (LR); incorporating visualization in the classroom to facilitate ease and flow of learning (UL); and the use of environmental learning sound systems, which utilize special audio frequencies in the classroom to effectively encourage calm, focused attention and optimal brain function (LR). These are merely a few of the many available approaches each of the Quadrants is able to offer us in effectively making the jump to a higher Educational Paradigm.

~ Eric ~

The following video presents some interesting neurological and consciousness-based reasons for the problematic nature of the coventional structuring of finals week in most universities. While the logic presented makes sense, keep in mind that Dr. Travis is clearly advertising for the Maharishi University of Management. Regardless, I believe the basic message is important. That being said, allow me to state that I do not practice TM, I am not associated with either MUM or the TM organization, and my intention in presenting this kind of material is to promote contemplative practices in general.

Finals Week: It's Crazy

Though the following video refers to integral education, the speaker uses the term according to Sri Aurobindo's use of that term rather than to Ken Wilber's. It is still a revealing look into what education can look like, however. Please bear in mind that when the term "psychic" is used, this refers to Aurobindo's term for the innermost being of an individual, claiming--rightly, I believe--that it is this innermost being that must be cultivated at an early age.
Integral Education: An Aurobindian Perspective

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