By Kimberly Anne Christensen, Ph.D (c)，Advanced Seminar in Transpersonal Theory and Philosophy, December 2014.
Kimberly Anne Christensen, MA, D. Div., Ph.D.(c) is an education advocate who is focused on helping humanity move toward greater self-awareness of their gifts, talents and purpose. With a 15 year foundation as a Nationally Board Certified teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Kimberly has chosen to use her knowledge in elementary education and transpersonal psychology to to create a new vision for education that completely changes the focus of education today. What is that?
The purpose of education is to teach our children that they are here purposefully and meaningfully – that education is meant to help them see their potential to assist in solving humanity’s problems and see how their individual contributions will make a difference in the world. This means we must teach children to self-actualize through seeing their gifts, strengths and talents that they were given to develop at birth.
RELICS OF THE PAST
Educating students in the United States has been a national challenge for many years. Since the inception of industrialization, contemporary mainstream education has been dominated by an approach to knowing that focused on left-brain thinking. Krechevsky & Gardner (1990) called this type of education the “one chance model” (p. 69)
Students were given one chance to learn the traditional subject matter which was often measured with paper and pencil assessments and standardized tests. With teaching strategies that were based on regurgitation of information and following directions, students were given little opportunity to make personal connections to the subject matter and instead were encouraged to be passive learners by mindlessly memorizing information. (Adamson & Bailie, 2012, Capel, 2012, Storrs & Inderbitzin, 2006)
Although this teaching strategy made for excellent factory workers for the new industrialized society, many other abilities and talents that a student may have held, were suppressed or went unnoticed.
NEW WAYS OF LEARNING UNCOVERED
This philosophy was finally tempered somewhat in the 1970’s when the focus of psychological research changed and revealed that our ability to learn was far more flexible than once thought. Roberts (1985) declared that the study of consciousness during the 1970’s and 1980’s expanded and created a paradigm shift in the way psychologists would view the human mind. Discoveries by researchers found that in addition to the usual state of awakened awareness that humans rely on, the mind was actually able to work in different patterns or states of consciousness.
Ben-Hur & Feuerstein (2011) called this shift a move toward dialogical consciousness (p. 324). This form of consciousness used as a primary way of knowing embodied and direct or relational knowing. Consciousness under this definition was able to connect using intuitive and somatic ways by engaging in continual dialogue with whatever the self came into contact.
O’Hara (2006) deemed this psychological shift an unraveling of the old standard which would inaugurate a consciousness breakthrough. Tarnas (1993) also saw this development as necessary to bring the critical emergence of the feminine which would allow masculine consciousness to recover its connection to the whole, the whole being represented by “the body, the emotions, the unconscious, the imagination, and the intuition” (p. 442). Roberts (1985) expressed that this trend toward an expanded view of consciousness would open the way to accessing flexible states of consciousness and make maximum use of human potential.
Psychosynthesis author Molly Brown (2009) called this psychological shift the “Great Turning” (p. 1). This turning was the first indication that society was shifting from an industrialized society a life sustaining one.
Flake (1986) argued that moving education forward would now require a multisensory approach. Curricula would have to be developed to make use of these greater abilities to perceive information (based on scientific research determined that perception laid the foundation for cognition) that embody physical, mental, emotional and spiritual development.
By providing teacher training that recognized and taught about alternate states of consciousness, new learning principles could be created to reflect this new thinking. Krechevsky & Gardner (1990) connected this type of pluralistic mental approach to the “Multiple Chance Model” (p. 70) that recognized distinct facets of cognition and acknowledged a full range of capacities and styles of an individual. This multiple chance model reflected the psychological theory by Howard Gardner on multiple intelligences.
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Since 1975, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University has continued to be an international leader and pioneer, moving humanity forward in the areas of transpersonal research and transpersonal education. training clinicians, spiritual guides, wellness caregivers, and consultants who apply transpersonal principles and values in a variety of settings. The Sofia educational model offers students not only a solid intellectual foundation, but an extraordinary opportunity for deep transformational growth and personal experience of the subject matter. How does Sofia University accomplish this? The university builds upon its strong, whole-person psychological foundation to give students a greater understanding of the human condition.