The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School


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The yearning for deep connection. The longing for silence and solitude. The search for meaning and purpose. The hunger for joy and delight. The creative drive. The urge for transcendence. The need for initiation. The Soul of Education also demonstrates how nurturing inner the life can lead to success in all areas of our children's lives -- academic, social, and civic. It will be appreciated on a number of levels:.

We continue to ask ourselves why our children hate school, why there is so much hopelessness, failure and violence in those institutions.

The thinking behind Battling for the Soul of Education

With the publication of The Soul of Education, we have access to new patterns in education that may help make a difference. She is married to author Mark Gerzon and is the mother of three sons.

The soul of education : helping students find connection, compassion, and character at school

She lives with her family in Boulder, Colorado. For a more complete biography of Rachael Kessler please select the Who We Are link on the left navigation. Can we come together to address soul in schools? Doesn't the "separation of church and state" mean leaving all this alone? How do we nourish spiritual development appropriately in public schools? The yearning for deep connection describes a quality of relationship that is profoundly caring, is resonant with meaning, and involves feelings of belonging, or of begin truly seen and known. Students may experience deep connection to themselves, to others, to nature, or to a higher power.

The longing for silence and solitude, often an ambivalent domain, is fraught with both fear and urgent need. As a respite from the tyranny of "busyness" and noise, silence may be a realm of reflection, of calm or fertile chaos, an avenue of stillness and rest fro some, prayer or contemplation for others. The search for meaning and purpose concerns the exploration of big questions, such as "Why am I here?

How do I find out what it is?

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The hunger of joy and delight can be satisfied through experiences of great simplicity, such as play, celebration, or gratitude. It also describes the exaltation students feel when encountering beauty, power, grace, brilliance, love or the sheer joy of being alive. The creative drive, perhaps the most familiar domain for nourishing the spirit in school, is part of all the gateways. Whether developing a new idea, a work of art, a scientific discovery, or an entirely new lens on life, students feel the awe any mystery of creating.

The urge for transcendence describes the desire for young people to go beyond their perceived limits. In some cases, such acts were a precursor to child abuse. It stressed the need for researchers, clinicians and societal leaders to be alert to the importance of childhood animal cruelty, and suggested that the evolution of a more gentle and benign relationship in human society might be enhanced by our promotion of a more positive and nurturing ethic between children and animals.

Such path-finding studies are of key importance for society and educators alike. Amongst their findings are:. A useful book which brings together research in this area and charts some actions already being taken to address this problem is: 'Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, and Animal Abuse: Linking the Circles of Compassion for Prevention and Intervention' by Frank Ascione and Phil Arkow, and published by Purdue University Press The book can be ordered from online bookshops.

The book can be ordered from online bookshops. When adults disrespect, neglect, abuse or harm an animal, it starts a process of desensitization or loss of feeling in our children — they become able to witness the neglect, hurting, harming or killing of an animal without feeling a response. Importantly, desensitization directly opposes the crucial development in early childhood of empathy. In addition, adults who are under-developed emotionally are more likely to resort to violence to solve problems.

pilireport.tk Abusive adults pass on this handicap to the next generation. When someone is ill-treated or relegated to a demeaning position in society, they often respond by venting their frustration on someone whose societal position is even lower than their own.

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By destroying or tormenting the weak, such as an animal or a child, the oppressor becomes the master who has, in turn, tortured them. The anger is directed at an innocent instead of the perpetrator of their own victimization, and it is difficult to break the cycle of abuse. Humane education is needed to develop an enlightened society that has empathy and respect for life, thus breaking the cycle of abuse.

The aim is to create a culture of caring. It is also a sound investment - working on the prevention of criminality and antisocial behavior, which can have a massive societal cost, both in terms of reduction in 'quality of life' and in financial costs incurred through criminal damage, maintenance of law enforcement systems, court costs, prison systems and juvenile work.

An academic whose research supports the view that humane education should be a vital component of every day learning is Dr. Kai Horsthemke from South Africa. The practice and reinforcement of kindness, of care and compassion towards animals, through formal and non-formal educational processes, is viewed as having a range of positive spin-offs in terms of pro-social attitudes towards people of a different gender, ethnic group, race, culture or nation.

The National Link Coalition says :. Empathy means: I identify with the way you feel. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another being. In his book, The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty , he offers a new theory on what causes people to behave with extreme cruelty. He also looks at social and environmental factors that can reduce empathy, including neglect and abuse. Empathy, says Professor Baron-Cohen, is like 'a dimmer switch' on a light - with a range from low to medium to high.

BEST QUOTES EVER ON TEACHING, LEARNING & EDUCATION

When empathy is dimmed, it causes us to think only of our own interests. When we are solely in the 'I' mode, our empathy is switched off. Baron-Cohen has developed a scale from 0—6 to measure the differing degrees of empathy among people. Level Zero is when an individual has no empathy at all. At Level 6, an individual displays remarkable empathy. The majority of people fall between Levels on the scale. Level 0 - People have no empathy at all. These people find relationships difficult and they cannot understand how another is feeling. They may or may not be cruel to others.

Level 1 - People tend to lack self-control. Level 1 people hurt others because when they get upset they cannot control their behavior.

Level 2 - People have difficulty with empathy but have enough empathy to understand that they have hurt someone afterwards. Level 3 - People still have difficulty having and showing empathy. They know they don't understand something that everyone else does. Social interaction is hard. Level 4 - People have a low-average amount of empathy; this level is more typical of normal men. They prefer not to talk about emotions and base friendships more on shared activities.

Level 5 - People are slightly above average on empathy and more typically female. They are careful about how they interact with others, trying to be sensitive to the feelings of others. Level 6 - Represents people with unusually high levels of empathy. They can pick up on the feelings of others and are deeply interested in them. Empathy is one of the most frequently cited affective components of moral development Emde et al.

Typically empathy is understood to be natural and to have a biological base as well as to be a source of moral reason and more mature moral affect. However, whilst young children often have an intuitive grasp that actions - such as hitting and stealing - are prima facie wrong, the child's moral concepts do not reflect a fully developed moral system. For example, although young children view it as wrong to keep all of the classroom toys to oneself and not share any of them with the other children Damon , Nucci , Smetana , pre-schoolers think it is quite all right to keep all of the favored toys to oneself as long as one shares the remainder Damon , Thus, while the young child's morality is structured by concepts of justice, it reflects a rather egocentric moral perspective.

The early development of empathy helps to prevent further development of this egocentric perspective. Teaching empathy is not just about helping learners to recognize consequences, but also to feel these — even when they relate to others. This leads to a more enlightened and compassionate outlook.

It also leads to a deeper search for the moral compass within.


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Young children demonstrate a natural feeling for animals, which can be used to develop their empathy and compassion at an early stage. This serves as a firm base for the future moral development of learners. See this YouTube video : Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist and Director of the Hayden Planetarium, discusses the human-animal connection from a scientific standpoint — and makes a call for the development of empathy through humane education for school children.

The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School
The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School
The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School
The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School
The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School
The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School
The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School
The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School
The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School

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