On Kingdom Vision, Proper Education, and Tampering the Fire: Educating the Whole Person by Sister Josephine Garret
I'd like to reflect on a talk from the Good News Conference, organised by Word on Fire. Videos from the conference were recently uploaded on the Word on Fire Institute YouTube channel, and I'm really enjoying them. I find the timings of these videos to be very apt, as they address the issues and dilemmas I've been struggling with recently, And I believe this is no coincidence, as always. God is great, all glory to Him.
The talk that I'd like to meditate upon in this post is one by the brilliant and entertaining Sister Josephine Garret. She talks about educating the whole person. Sister Josephine believes education shouldn't be confined just to the mind and the intellect, but it should be holistic and include the physical, the senses, the emotions, the spirit. As a teacher by profession, this resonates with me very deeply. Philosophies of education around the world advocate education of the whole person, but at the end of the day students are mostly tested based on how much they learn at the intellectual levels. Some sort of values are sometimes ascribed to students' achievements in the physical, e.g., in sports. But very few systems care about emotional and spiritual education of the learners. Religious educations exist, yes - but more often than not learners' 'achievements' are almost always assessed based on how well they perform in an academic test of some sort.
If you want to apply to study in a place like Cambridge, for instance, what criteria would the admission and scholarship boards be looking at? Mainly academic qualifications, i.e., how well you do in standardised tests. So school teachers aren't really to blame when they tend to emphasise on the academic - most teachers just want to see their students excel, and to do that they often have no choice but to conform to the demands of the systems of the world.
But can we change this?