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Is What We Teach Education can be transformed only by transforming the educator. (Krishnamurti 1981) Since the child’s consciousness develops in relationship with others, it is incumbent upon the educator to take great care to become aware of the child’s worldview. Moreover, who we are in our own consciousness strongly affects our students … and is the Volume 24, Number 4 (Winter 2011) 19 underpinning of all that we do with them. Because who we are is what we teach. Jess, an educator I interviewed, reported how a conscious relationship with her student broke her heart open to the greater presence in the moment. Jess discovered that the more she made intentional efforts to stay in the relationship with the child’s consciousness, the more she could take responsibility and not project her own feelings onto the child. In the following account, Jess describes feelings of inspiration that shifted the course of her teaching practices as well as her adult development in a way that made her life more meaningful. I had an experience just recently with one of my students in third grade, quite bright, but she didn’t learn to read and write early on. She is my student and no matter what I said to her, she said, “Oh no, I’m going to do it this way.” One day I had a reaction to something she said and so I said “You really don’t take my ideas very often, and I have a hard time with that.” She started to cry. I reflected and then I realized that my reaction has nothing to do with this child. I am having a reaction because I feel insecure or irritated when people don’t take my ideas. That’s my problem. That’s not the child’s problem. And it was a revealing moment for me. I didn’t try to pretend that this child was the problem. It was inspiring to me; I could have made it look like the child hurt me — and I didn’t. I hope that I continue to have the wherewithal to take responsibility and not blame the child. Being-to-being learning occurs as the child absorbs our way of being through our presence, language, attitude, behaviors, aesthetics of dress, and arrangement of the environment, time management, and methods of educating. It is not a verbal teaching, yet language is an indication of who we are (our consciousness). We cannot speak beyond the limits of our own consciousness. The educator’s full presence affects our students’ learning. Presence requires that we take responsibility to further our own development as adults similar to the way Jess did. The teacher cannot bring about in the child what he or she has not brought about in himself or herself.
How can we create environments for children so they can have direct experiences of their innate capacities? Educators who take the time to learn and use child development and who are willing to be present are able to create learning environments that help the children to discover and construct new ways of understanding themselves and their world. We are not top-down instructors delivering knowledge; we are facilitators who create circumstances by which knowledge emerges in the child.