The real meaning of education – holistic education

you thank you very much for your welcome and it is a great pleasure for me to be in Hong Kong again second time and speak here and teach at kadoorie farm and botanic garden I am NOT an educationist but I'm interested in education and I would like to start with a simple understanding of the word education what is the meaning of the word education we have I think forgotten it we are treating our children or students in the universities like this as if they are empty baskets and we are to fill that basket with lot of knowledge a lot of information a lot of ideas and so on but the meaning of the word education is not to fill an empty bucket the meaning of education is to bring out what is in their head you carry the word Latin word EDD Yukari is to lead out to bring out what is in the child in the person so education never stops at school or university education is a lifelong process and you are all the time learning to bring out what is inside you now this is a very profound word a very profound meaning just on this word and the meaning of this word you can write a whole book how in your whole life you are going to bring out what is inside you so I generally give example that a student a learner is not an empty basket or a bucket but a seed now if you look at an apple seed very tiny seed welcome from Beijing professor has travelled a long way from Beijing I was your guest last year at your universities I remember our meeting so thank you for coming it's all right I've just started so I started to speak about the meaning of the word education and I was thinking that take a seed for example and I proceeded tiny apple seed small so bitter that you can't eat it and if it by chance mistake it comes between your teeth you don't like it you spit it out if you break that seed there's nothing in it to your two eyes but if you imagine properly the whole tree is in that shade and not only the whole tree in that seed but thousands upon thousands of apples year after year after year for 50 years which will come out of that tiny seed now the work of a gardener or orchard keeper is not to tell the seed how to become an apple tree and this is what mostly our teachers doing the work of a gardener an orchard keeper is to provide right conditions good soil good water good sunshine good steak a little fence maybe protection so that that seed can develop into a tree what this orchard keeper is doing loving the seed caring for the seed devoting himself or herself to the seed now for me is a very simple but they beautiful metaphor for education every child and for that matter every human being each and every one of us are born with a potential like every seed has a potential an acorn has potential to become a mighty oak tree so each and every one of us have come here with our own particular potential and hopefully we get some help from schools from our teachers from our colleges from our universities from our parents hopefully we get some help like an orchard keeper helps a seed of course in the rain forests you don't need an orchard keeper if you are born a tribal society but if you will not need colleges and universities the holy universe will be your university your whole natural world will be your book of nature a however we are in this civilized world so hopefully our teachers and our parents will help us to follow a journey go on a journey of adventure to discover ourselves who we are education is a journey of self-realization nothing less what we have turned education into and we are spending millions upon millions if not billions of dollars and palms and gems and euros and whatnot on building these great universities but what but we have what we have done we have reduced the meaning of Education to getting a degree passing the exam so that you can go and find a job in an office still in front of a computer we are given no idea that you are born in this world with a particular potential and what is that your potential is your journey to discover to find out so this is this is the meaning that I want you to remember when you are thinking about holistic education now we are born in this body beautiful body amazing architecture of this body amazing magical mysterious design of this body what we have in this body we have brain mind mind is bigger than brain might permeate throughout the body but bone brain generally is somewhere in our head or in our glance but we are born with brain with mind with heart with imagination with creativity and then we go to university and say no no your body rest of your body in just a vehicle maybe an excuse to look after your head so our education has been reduced to learning what in England we call I don't know the British colonial time also influenced Hong Kong education but in Britain they say the purpose of Education and the responsibility of the schools and the teachers is to teach three RS reading writing arithmetic and those 3 R's are learnt through your head so your imagination your creativity your soul your spirit your heart your mind they're all and your hands and your body are all irrelevant to our education our education main purpose is to train your brain teach your head head education how to read how to write and how to add they are not accurate Riaz arithmetic C's is not spelled with our but never mind now if you want to expel if you want to focus on holistic education then we have to replace 3 R's with 3 HS we have two or maybe four HS or many more edges but to start with three ages we have to educate our head of course I'm not against learning reading writing arithmetic writing books all that is fine no problem that's not enough we need to also educate our heart heart and also we need to educate our hands because if your heart is not trained not educated not developed how are you going to deal with any relationships in your life and the key to our life is relationships we are not like Rene Descartes the French philosopher said God Guiteau ergo sum I think therefore I am that was a completely misguided philosophy of materialistic dualistic kind we are members of all of part of the web of relationships I don't live in my head I live in my relationships I'm speaking to you not just because I have some ideas in your head but because you are here the audience is here I'm speaking because my teachers taught me something I'm speaking to you because my mother and father brought me in this world I'm here because the soil the Earth Mother Earth has been holding me on her body and feeding me with food and air and the water and the sunshine and the ancestors so I'm not just head I am an amalgam of relationships once I met a great philosopher called Gregory Bateson and he said to me Satish what do you have in your hand you have five fingers I said what a question this great philosopher asking me you have five fingers yes of course I have five fingers say no Satish you don't have five fingers I said what do you mean one two three four at least I can count five the five fingers they said no you don't have five fingers what do I have he said you have four relationships what a beautiful metaphor in nutshell he was trying to teach me that everything is based in relationships how are you going to deal with relationships with your friends with your parents with your with your wife with your children with your natural surroundings with your trees with the animals and birds around you how are you going to deal with the day-to-day relationship in the world if schools don't help you to develop that aspect of your life the universities don't pay any attention to this aspect of our lives then education is not enough it's not complete so we need to train our heart

12 thoughts on “The real meaning of education – holistic education

  1. Magnificent speech.

    The three Rs, reading, righting (lol), rithmatic (lol). Now I know why I'm so bad at spelling.

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