Holistic Education: What It Is and Why You Should Care
With time, the educational system has evolved differently.
The tremendous changes in the learning process have their own set of benefits. It has given way to the modern education system as we understand it.
Indeed, now the means of modern education are generally accepted standard in the industry and are called by different names. Many pronounce it as the conventional or customary education system, back-to-basics, traditional education system.
However, there is a commencement of another education system which has been interesting and is showing popularity for a long time now. The reason lies in only one fact- the large number of benefits it holds. The name is- Holistic Education.
Table of Contents
- 1. Preface
- 2. Background of Holistic Education
- 3. What is Holistic Education?
- 4. Traditional Education Vs Holistic Education
- 5. Methods of Holistic Education
- 6. Educational Models
- 7. Teacher Strategies
- 8. Holistic development of children in the early years
- 9. The whole child and the holistic context
- 10. Tools/Teaching Approaches of Holistic Education
- 11. Conclusion
Holistic Education is the theory of the study based on the assumption that every person gains purpose, meaning, and identity in life with the connections to the natural world, community, and to refined values like peace and compassion.
The word “Holism” is referred to as the properties of the system in the area of education that cannot be explained or determined by the amount of the parts. Rather, it is the system as the whole that finds the behavior of the parts. The holistic way of thinking embraces and combines different layers of meaning and experience instead of describing human probabilities narrowly.
Ron Miller, the founder of Journal Holistic Education Review – now termed Encounter: Education of Meaning and Social Justice has explained it as “Holistic education aims to call forth from people an intrinsic reverence for life and passionate love of learning”.
To simply put, it is used to connect to more humanistic and democratic types of different education.
Robin Ann Martin, an Assistant professor at the Bilkent Graduate School of Education in Ankara, Turkey has defined holistic education as “At its most general level, what distinguishes holistic education from other forms of education are its goals, its attention to experiential learning, and the significance that it places on relationships and primary human values within the learning environment.”
2. Background of Holistic Education
The rise of Holistic Education is related to the origin of the practice of instruction in ancient Greece and different domestic cultures. It integrates the program that aims at the person rather than on the varied segments of the personal experience.
It is created as of the belief that the world is a single entity and the learning could not be segregated from the man’s existence.
The expression “Holistic Education” is connected to South African philosopher, scholar, statesman, military leader, and Field Marshal General Jan Christiaan Smuts. He is known for his contribution to the League of Nations foundation and in the development of the United Nation and the International Peace Organization. He moved from the traditional Greek approach of holistic education to the modern learning philosophy proposed.
Smuts is known as the originator of “Holism” that has been derived from the Greek word “ολος”, which means “whole”. The book “Holism and Evolution” by Smuts written in 1926, defines Holism as the trend in nature to form holes that are larger than the whole of the parts from the productive evolution.
Nowadays, this work is identified as the foundation theory for neural networks, systems thinking, semantic holism, complexity theory, holistic education, and the external system approach in ecology.
The smuts “Holism” was the motivation for Emile Durkheim’s theory of the “holistic society”, and Alfred Adler’s psychological method, which observes the person as an “integrated whole”.
Also, some sources acknowledge Maria Montessori, John Dewey, and Rudolph Steiner as the inventor of the Holistic Education modern model. Steiner has created a holistic education framework as per the works of H.P. Blavatsky and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It defined the idea of “imaginative teaching” and its position in the learner’s self-realization.
This attitude of learning and teaching encourages several home-scrolling families and education in the public and alternative schools.
As many public schools are completely committed to holistic beliefs, several tutors try difficult to establish several ideas to the practice. By promoting collaboration more than the competition in the classroom, the tutor lets youngsters feel more connected.
With real-life experiences, dramatic arts, current arts, and different lively knowledge sources than textbook details, tutors can inspire the love of learning. By stimulating the questioning and reflection than the abiding memorization of the “facts”, the tutors hold the “flame of intelligence” which is much more than the abstract problem-solving abilities.
By accepting differences and refusing to label children as “hyperactive” or “learning disabled”, tutors provide the different gifts in every child’s spirit.
3. What is Holistic Education?
Holistic Education is the method that concentrates on developing learners to fulfill the challenges they might encounter in life and their educational careers. The most prominent theories after holistic education are studying oneself, developing positive social behaviors and healthy relationships, resilience, emotional and social development, and the capacity to check the truth, experience transcendence and beauty.
This system takes contemporary cultural influences like music, media and it influences youngsters on how to be human as said cultural authorities do not. It conceptualizes the questions of the major challenges in life and how to overcome restrictions, achieve success, and what major concepts require to be studied first to achieve in life or later on.
Noting that the support that once developed from religion, traditional families, or traditional tribes no longer exists, holistic education attempts to adjust learning of personal greatness, human goodness, and the joy of living in successes or trials.
The pressure from competition in after-school activities, in school, and the social pressure to look a particular way, and the violence that generally follows school children both emotionally, psychologically, and physically, carry away from a child’s aptitude to learn. Holistic Education fixes this.
Holistic Education assists the learners by working at their convenience. Rather than keeping every child’s work at the same speed and level, the concept of holistic education necessitates the imaginative outlook of academics and education and offers children a pace associated with personal requirements to evade frustration, a loss of interest, and boredom.
4. Traditional Education Vs Holistic Education
The concept of Holistic Education challenges that:
- It centers on the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development of the learner.
- The tutors have an essential role to play as a facilitator to induce growth in the learner.
- It improves and promotes the creative and cognitive sides of the learner and assists them to create meaning, purpose, and identity in the community connection.
- It is a centralized educational system that is transformative in nature and the overall system is knowledge and skill-oriented.
- There is a powerful collaborative relationship among tutors, parents, and students.
- It promotes a constructive program, peace education, values education, and Gandhi’s Basic Education.
- It is more related to the student’s life overall and promotes the use of classrooms that use active learning.
- It offers an extensive level of freedom of the heart and mind when focussing on the practical, academic, and artistic perspectives of learning.
- It leverages development in imagination, inspiration, and intuition in the learners by directing the curriculum that appreciates the ability, needs, and interests of the learners.
On the contrary, the traditional education system:
- Focuses mostly on intellectual growth by providing tutors with autocratic power.
- Prefers memorization and is the exam-related educational system.
- Owns a system that puts on several limitations on learners and is a dominating system that prioritizes only those who abide by the rules.
- Highly mechanized and programmed and includes learning which has no effective application in other’s life.
- Does not encompass any child-oriented curriculum and carries out fewer interactions than the holistic education system.
- Fulfills modern industrial needs that encourage passive learning.
- Highly tutor-based and is a definite evaluation-oriented system.
5. Methods of Holistic Education
The aim of Holistic Education lies in promoting the learner’s spiritual, psychological, moral, and emotional attributes. Helping the student means offering possibilities that are customized according to the feelings and skills.
The lesson plans are carried out in a supportive and safe environment that permits the learner to use personal strengths. The tutors are trained to train the learners with different learning abilities and academic levels. As holistic education is controlled by one overarching theory, tutors might use different strategies and methods to build the holistic learning culture.
6. Educational Models
The schools directed on experiential learning offer hands-on educational practices. Like; the learners may operate in groups examining several learning styles to find what characteristics are more efficient for them. Experiential and holistic methods usually have problem-solving methods to work on community issues or build innovative products.
When it is about self-directed learning, the tutors enable the learners to study conveniently (time and place suits best). The self-directed culture permits customization to evade the inadequacies of the “One size fits all” model. The low-stakes estimations are considered for managing the curriculum pace and content. The classrooms might be smaller and have learners of every ability and age.
The community schools follow the idea that most find meaning from connections with the community. The tutor associates with the community members, such as officials, organizations, residents, and families, to offer summer and after-school programs. The schools are the hub of the community bringing collective engagement, development, social and academic activities.
The part that creates holistic education is the belief that learners’ cognitive growth is enhanced when different subjects are directed together. Many schools are building integrated programs where tutors from varied disciplines come collectively for teaching thematic classes that approach issues from several aspects. The coursework may even have unconventional travel, research, internships, and fieldwork.
7. Teacher Strategies
Sound Student-Teacher Relationships
While tutors can build strong bonds with students, engagement and performance are impacted positively. At risk, the tutors have a higher rate of success when they appear nurtured and safe. The tutors can nurture the relationships by replying to learners’ needs and strengths and by developing a culturally fine-tuned manner. Enabling the learners to assist in developing the classroom guidelines and accepting the leadership roles to build communication and trust among learners and improves their urge to succeed.
The learners should understand that they are components of the school and hold the ability to gain success. The tutors assist them in building self-esteem by offering many opportunities for the learners to engulf structured communication and express their understanding in different ways. The tutors should develop self-confidence and treat every learner equally.
Student motivation can be enhanced by making sure that lessons are relevant to students’ lives and focus on realistic issues.
Fusing Emotional Reflection
As a tutor it is not simple to look above the educational performance to sustain the emotional and mental well-being. To foster emotional consideration on a daily basis, the tutors may offer moments for the learners to reflect, meditate or contemplate. The lessons for teaching compassion can focus on efficient observation and listening methods or literature that showcases different perspectives on social concerns.
8. Holistic development of children in the early years
Fact- Children develop holistically!
They require support to remain healthy, to have better nutrition, learning, encouragement, and protection. Consequently, the learning and development goals are multidimensional. They are reached when the learners survive and are mentally alert, physically healthy, learning process, social component, aesthetically creative, spiritually and culturally aware. They develop and become productive and responsible adults.
The child’s holistic development at an early age is an ambition and general principle leading the programs and interventions of the children’s development. The children’s experiences at an early stage may hinder or encourage their holistic development according to the possibilities to learn and their security, care practices of the community and family, depending on the access to or quality of nutrition, etc. They require support from different sectors.
The support has an influence not only on the learner, however, on the premises they live in. The premises have no influence on the children’s holistic development. The children’s holistic development has cognitive, physical, social, linguistic, emotional, moral, and spiritual development, etc. from the prenatal stage at the age of 8 years of age.
The holistic development requirements: protection against violence, learning opportunities, direct stimulation, positive emotional and social interactions, nutrition, and health, etc.
It is known that the children are different from each other. Also, they share a similar age, a definite development model may grow early in many children, whereas, others might exhibit other types. We notice in the context we live in that a child might speak earlier than others or walk later.
The truth is that children’s skills will be developed earlier and how intelligent a child might be by means of skills, according to the time we stay with them and how prosperous it is, the means to sustain them to explore new ideas and find out the new things of the environment till they become skillful.
The learning and development of the youngsters are categorized into five areas; the technical languages are designated as development areas and are as below:
- Motor and Physical development
- Language development
- Socio-emotional development
- Early writing and reading
- Approach towards learning
- Cognitive development
The classification of the children’s development areas, individually or collectively, is essential for each individual included in the learning or early care of the youngsters. Scientific knowledge and achievement are vital for the professional development of those working in kindergartens and in every institution included in working with youngsters.
9. The whole child and the holistic context
The holistic learning and development involves every development area and promotes the perspective that the student is created as a whole being in the context of community, school, house, and family.
Youngsters do not receive as units differentiated from each other; they build connections in the process, change and develop them more on time by obtaining new experiences. The structure in which guidelines are used, like, well-being, belonging and identity, thinking, exploring, and communication offers a method to set aside the growth and learning in separate and special areas. The areas in the environment are integrated holistically.
The disciplinary areas, like, creative, physical, social, and cognitive might be used as expressions. Hence, the thematic framework assists in the learning and growth of children more agreeably and naturally for young children.
10. Tools/Teaching Approaches of Holistic Education
Intending to educate the children, holistic education encourages many strategies to clarify the question of how to learn and how to teach, etc.
At first, the concept of holism promotes a transformative strategy to learn. Instead of considering education as a procedure of transaction and transmission, transformative learning demands a change in the reference frame that the person could have. This change might affect worldviews, habits of mind, and points of view. Holism comprehends knowledge as something which is developed by the setting in which the person exists. Hence, tutoring learners to critically reflect on how we come to understand the data is necessary. Hence, if “we tell the learners to develop reflective and critical thinking skills and let them worry about the world, they might choose that some degree of social or personal transformation is needed.”
Secondly, the concepts of connections are focussed as opposed to the fragmentation that is usually noticed in mainstream academics. This fragmentation might involve the categorization of categorizing learners into grades and so on. Holism considers the different life aspects and surviving as connected and integrated, hence, education should not confine learning to varied components. Martin (2002) defines this point by defining that, “Many alternative educators argue instead that who the learners are, what they know, how they know it, and how they act in the world are not separate elements, but reflect the interdependencies between our world and ourselves”. Integrated into the notion of the connections is the process that the classroom is structured. Often, the school classroom is small and has mixed-age and mixed-ability learners. They are resilient by means of how they are organized therefore if it becomes suitable for the learner to change the class. He/She is moved despite which time of the year it is on the school calendar. Versatile pacing enables the learners to observe that they are not raced upon in acquiring the learning methods studies, nor are they operated back when they learn theories instantly.
Thirdly, in addition to a similar idea as a notion of connections in holistic learning is the notion of transdisciplinary inquiry. It is dependent on the premise that the division of the discipline is reduced. There is a need to understand that as a whole and as quickly as possible and in disintegrated parts. “Transdisciplinary approaches involve multiple disciplines and the space between the disciplines with the possibility of new perspectives ‘beyond’ those disciplines. Where multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary inquiry may focus on the contribution of disciplines to an inquiry, transdisciplinary inquiry tends to focus on the inquiry issue itself”.
Fourth, holistic education considers that meaningfulness is an essential part of the whole learning procedure. The learners understand better when what is being discovered is essential to them. Holistic education respects and practices with every individual meaning structure. Hence, the beginning of the topic starts with what the learner might understand or know from the world view, what the learner might understand or know the world view, and what it means to them. Meta-learning is the other concept that links to meaningfulness. In determining inherent meaning in the procedure of training and coming to know how they understand, the learners are asked to self-regulate the learning process. Though, they are not expected to completely execute this on their own. As of the nature of community in holistic education, the learners are learning to examine their learning from interdependence with others inside or outside of the classes.
Lastly, the community is an essential aspect of holistic academics. Because learning and relationships are the signs to recognize ourselves, therefore, the community is important in the learning procedure.
Forbes(1996) has mentioned, “In holistic education, the classroom is usually regarded as a community, which is in the larger community of the school, that is within the huge community of the city, town, and village and which is by extension, in the huge community of humanity”.
The children tend to learn quickly, particularly when they are enthusiastic about doing so. Therefore, it is essential to know what allows the child to get attracted to certain work and what makes them interested.
Make your child build self-esteem and let them face the world loaded with challenges. Here, holistic development confirms the saying “simple living and high thinking”.