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Educating for Wisdom and Compassion
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Educating for Wisdom and Compassion
Creating Conditions for Timeless Learning

  • John P. Miller - Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Centre for Teacher Development


July 2005 | 184 pages | Corwin
Wisdom as an outcome of education is often overlooked and drowned out by the demands of concept attainment, skills mastery, and high-stakes assessments. But wisdom in teaching and learning is the central topic of this small book.

Blending philosophy, research, and three decades of practice, author Jack Miller offers a readable and accessible discussion of timeless principles of learning, including attention, contemplation, connection, participation, transformation, mystery, responsibility, wholeness, and joy.

The author shows us how the themes of timeless learning have been discussed in the works of Emerson, Thoreau, and Alcott; how they are put into practice in Montessori, Waldorf, and Krishnamurti schools; and how teachers in today's schools can apply the principles, models, and methods of timeless learning to inform instruction in their own classrooms and teaching practice.

 
Part I Timeless Learning: Definitions and Fundamentals
 
1. Timeless Learning
What Is Timeless Learning?

 
What Are the Characteristics of Timeless Learning?

 
Holistic/Integrative

 
Embodied

 
Connected

 
Soulful

 
Transformative

 
Flow

 
Participatory

 
Non-dualistic

 
Mysterious and unexplainable

 
Immeasurable

 
What Does Timeless Learning Bring to Today's Classrooms?

 
Conclusion

 
References

 
 
2. The Perennial Philosophy: A Relaxed Universalism
Foundations of the Perennial Philosophy

 
The interconnected nature of reality and the mysterious unity of the universe

 
The intimate connection between the individual's inner self, or soul, and the mysterious unity

 
Wisdom or knowledge of the mysterious unity can be developed through various contemplative practices

 
Values are derived from seeing and realizing the interconnectedness of reality

 
Awareness of the mysterious unity of existence leads to social action to counter injustice and human suffering

 
References

 
 
Part II Timeless Learning: Processes and Practices
 
3. Letting Go and Becoming Empty
Psychosynthesis and Dis-identification

 
David Hunt

 
Krishnamurti

 
The Bhagavad Gita and Non-Attachment

 
Spiritual Knowing

 
Just Let Go

 
References

 
 
4. Attention and Meditation
Meditation

 
Forms of Meditation

 
Intellectual Meditation

 
Emotional Meditation

 
Physical Meditation

 
Action Meditation

 
Meditation Practices

 
Insight

 
Body Scan

 
Mantra

 
Visualization

 
Movement meditation

 
Getting Started

 
Meditation With Children

 
Just One Minute by Naomi Baer

 
References

 
 
5. Compassion, Caring, and Lovingkindness
Kindness, Empathy, Compassion, and Love

 
Lovingkindness Practice

 
Caring in Schools

 
School with Forest and Meadow (Ojiya School)

 
Service Learning

 
Engaged Service

 
Community-Based Work

 
To Be and to Have

 
References

 
 
6. Contemplation, Mindfulness, and Presence
Mindfulness

 
Presence

 
Contemplation and Mindfulness in Classrooms

 
Contemplation and Action

 
References

 
 
Part III Timeless Learning: Perspectives, Examples, and Outcomes
 
7. Educational Perspectives on Timeless Learning
Transcendental Education

 
Emerson

 
Thoreau

 
Bronson Alcott

 
Holistic Education

 
Linear Thinking and Intuition

 
Relationship Between Mind and Body

 
Subject Connections

 
Community Connections

 
Earth Connections

 
Self Connections

 
Slow Education

 
Conclusion

 
References

 
 
8. Examples of Timeless Learning
Krishnamurti Schools

 
Principles of Learning

 
The School

 
The Teacher

 
Waldorf Education

 
Steiner's View of Development

 
Rhythm

 
Montessori Education

 
Conclusion

 
References

 
 
9. Creating Conditions for Timeless Learning in Public Schools
Work on Yourself

 
Be Fully Present

 
Recognize the Importance of the Nonverbal

 
Honor Silence

 
Develop a Rhythm

 
Integrate Timeless Learning with other Forms of Learning

 
Balancing Spontenaity and Planning

 
Don't Forget the Body

 
Live Your Own Truth

 
Acknowledge the Mystery

 
Let Your Humanity Come Through

 
References

 
 
10. The Fruits of Timeless Learning
The Present Educational Context

 
The Results of Timeless Learning

 
Research on Contemplative Practices

 
My Own Research

 
Nature of Mediation Practice

 
Personal Effects of Meditation Practice

 
Professional Effects of Meditation Practice

 
Profiles

 
Ultimate Outcomes of Timeless Learning

 
Wisdom and Compassion

 
Joy: The Singing Soul

 
Awe and Wonder

 
Wholeness

 
Sense of Purpose

 
References

 
 
Bibliography
 
Index

"In Educating for Wisdom and Compassion: Creating Conditions for Timeless Learning, John Miller creates the category of timeless learning and describes its qualities and aspects. For someone new to this perspective, the book provides an enormously rich introduction to these insights and offers ready access to a set of detailed and wide ranging resources, including many activities the reader can experience at once. For those who are more knowledgeable, the book offers an opportunity for significant deepening of their understanding about the value and enactment of timeless learning. Educating for Wisdom and Compassion: Creating Conditions for Timeless Learning is clear and direct. It’s a book that provokes reflection, engagement, and a deeper vision."

David Marshak
Professor of Education, Seattle University

"Fills a vacuum in the education literature, a vacuum for an approach to teaching and learning anchored in the insights of various wisdom traditions and spiritually-oriented educational innovators. . . .It is a clearly written, concise, and inspired book which will be of great value to many of us in the education field."

Lourdes Arguelles
Professor of Education and Cultural Studies, Claremont Graduate University

"...the vignettes and stories, the suggested practices, the invocation of a fundamentally better way of being and of being in school, the focus on wisdom and compassion as outcomes of education.  Much of the material is wonderful, as is the message."

Geoffrey Caine
Learning and Education Consultant, Caine Learning LLC

"This is a timely, thoughtful, and very important book. In emphasizing the contemplative mind, it elaborates a key dimension of a new vision of education that is grounded in the wisdom traditions and essential in today’s classrooms. In a sensible, mature, and down-to-earth fashion, this work offers a philosophical context, an intimate understanding of the processes of consciousness, and a wide range of tested practical means to integrate the contemplative mind in the classroom."

Tobin Hart
Associate Professor, State University of West Georgia

"This is a timely and valuable resource for educators concerned with integrating a spiritual perspective in their work...The book is written in a very reader friendly manner, using no or very little terminology unfamiliar to most readers."

Robert London, Professor
California State University at San Bernardino

"What this book offers that this country and others could benefit from is a different version of what our children need...The book’s major strength is the stimulation of a different point of view in a climate that may need some remediation. The quotes and anecdotes are very good."

Pearl Solomon
Associate Professor of Teacher Education, St. Thomas Aquinas College

"In this engaging book, John Miller has effectively distilled the essence of holistic education, providing parents, teachers and researchers with a solid foundation for understanding its key ideals and characteristic practices. Miller explains how a pedagogy rooted in caring, compassion, mindfulness and meaning truly makes a difference in in our lives. I will recommend this book to my students as a core reading on holistic education."

Ron Miller, Goddard College, Vermont
Author, Caring for New Life: Essays on Holistic Education

"At a time of high-stakes testing and increasing emphasis on standards, Education for Wisdom and Compassion presents the value of a more holistic education. Author John P. Miller argues that a holistic approach allows students to gain a greater sense of purpose; reduce stress; and improve memory, alertness, and attention. Through meditation, contemplation, and reflection, Miller shows how students can find joy in learning and develop true wisdom."

Ed. - The Magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education
Winter 2005

"Like a precious opal, examination from multiple angles and perspectives reveals the beauty of this magnificent work."

PsycCRITIQUES, February 15, 2006, Issue 7, Volume 51

"Well-conceived and brilliantly brought to life, this valuable introduction will be useful to teachers, parents, administrators, and researchers interested in holistic education for diverse students of all ages."

PsycCRITIQUES, February 15, 2006, Issue 7, Volume 51

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: Timeless Learning


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