Recently, I've been coming across posts and people who believe in a "free" approach to education, allowing kids' natural exploration guide their own learning, and having them do this outside the confines of a formal school. I like this in theory; but in practice I wonder about the competencies parents need to guide this experiential learning. Continuing on from my post on the ‘right kind of education’, Krishnamurti places a lot of emphasis on the role of both parents and teachers. With the challenge of developing integrated individuals, parents and teachers need to be integrated themselves.
One of my favourite Krishnamurti quotes sums this up:
What we are in ourselves is much more important than the traditional question of what to teach the child.
He goes on to explain that our fears from childhood are often not dispelled by parents nor teachers, which is dangerous as we grow up with these fears dominating our judgment and preventing deeper learning:
..there cannot be intelligence as long as there is fear. Fear perverts action and is one of the causes of self-centered action.. To be without fear is the beginning of wisdom, and only the right kind of education can bring about the freedom from fear in which alone there is a deep and creative intelligence.
Krishnamurti also boldly calls parents out for failing to care enough to transform society, and instead continuing the status quo:
Most people are unfortunately not very earnest about life except, perhaps, when it comes to making money, gaining power, or pursuing sexual excitement. They do not want to face the other complexities of life, and that is why, when their children grow up, they are as immature and unintegrated as their parents, constantly battling with themselves and with the world.
On this note, it is not that Krishnamurti sees no value for educators; on the contrary he places great value on true teachers; ones who see themselves as both student & teacher, focused on educating themselves first and imparting the search for “Truth” within children. Finally, Krishnamurti highlights the importance of teachers being ultimately free from the control of governments and from societal norms:
The true teacher is inwardly rich and therefore asks nothing for himself; he does not use teaching as a means of acquiring position or authority, and therefore he is free from the compulsion of society and the control of governments. Such teachers have the primary place in an enlightened civilization, for true culture is founded, not on the engineers and technicians, but on the educators.
This sense of responsibility Krishnamurti places on parents and teachers feels both empowering and overwhelming, until we consider the practicality of the small schools he suggests, which I will address in my next post!
A passionate educator.. on a quest for a schooling model to love!