Teacher Development Program
program is currently being developed in Portland, Oregon,
in coordination with the planning of our elementary school.
In the meantime, you may read An
Overview for Teachers, to learn more about the entire
field of Holistic Education.
Program Overview: "Action Research
for Holistic Education"
Our teacher development program is called
"Action Research for Holistic Education," and it has
been designed to help teachers who want to develop their professional
practice while increasing or introducing holistic education
in their classrooms. The program includes: a) twelve courses
from which to choose: four on Action Research and eight on Holistic
Education; and b) being mentored through your action research
project (see Courses Offered and
Support pages for details).
Action Research as a methodology was developed
for those engaged in the social professions (e.g., educators,
managers, social service workers, etc.) to increase their understanding
of their practice and to bring about changes they feel are important.
While Action Research has many characteristics of other forms
of social science research, it is distinct in several ways,
not the least of which is its emphasis on implementing change
rather than simply gaining knowledge.
its best, Action Research in education benefits everyone concerned:
1) the students whose educational experience is improved, deepened
and/or broadened, 2) the teachers who bring about changes they
feel are needed in their practice, and who consequently feel
empowered by their enhanced professional skills and understanding,
3) others who read such research and benefit from the insights
of the teachers and are encouraged by their success.
The other unique aspect of this program
is its focus on Holistic Education, which centers on the understanding
that we as humans need to learn much more than simply how to
earn a living or conform to a culture if we are to have meaningful
lives. Learning how to meet the deepest challenges of living
(with earning a livelihood and enculturation finding their rightful
place within a larger rubric) has been the traditional concern
of Holistic Education. Holistic Education has a long intellectual
precedent easily traced through influential educators back to
at least Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In recent decades, there has
been substantial support for this approach to education from
several of the most well-known psychologists (Jung, Maslow,
Rogers, May, etc.) who have affirmed that successful academic
learning depends for its significance on students being engaged
with the deeper challenges in their lives, and that ignoring
such deeper learning jeopardizes the students' balanced development
and learning as a whole.
The Action Research for Holistic Education
Program intends to give teachers the practical skills needed
to engage in Action Research in whatever learning environment
they are working. To this end, teachers may choose four among
the twelve courses offered to provide the greatest possible
assistance in topics that are of specific concern to them. From
an understanding of Holistic Education's rudiments, teachers
will see aspects of their own practice which they can make more
holistic, and with Action Research they will be able to find
ways of successfully implementing these aspects into their unique
Teachers will receive ongoing individual
and group support in a variety of forms to ensure that their
individual research projects are successful and rewarding. Every
opportunity will be taken to establish a collegial network of
teachers with similar concerns and situations so that they might
support each other's research efforts, and continue such support
long after their research projects are over.
The highest function
is to bring about an integrated individual who is capable
of dealing with life
as a whole.