The teacher can be an inspiration, a mentor and a motivator for the student. The teacher can stimulate curiosity, joy, and enthusiasm, or can dull or deaden the child's senses. The key to creating planetary experiences is the teacher, for it is not only what one teaches, but how one teaches, that gives meaning and understanding to the learning experience. Qualities of love, wisdom, gentleness, acceptance, and the nature of one's voice and body language all send messages to the student. These qualities or emanations influence the child's ability to make positive responses to learning experiences, in fact, they form part of what is called the "hidden curriculum" to which the child is attuned. The teacher's reflection of these qualities helps form a student's concept of life. Therefore, it is important for a teacher to accept the students' sensitivity to these qualities, and to recognize their appreciation for a sense of purpose, as valid parts of any teaching/learning experience.

As an educational guide, the teacher must be inspired with the purpose and meaning of the teaching/learning process, and must be able to radiate this to the students. Vision, enthusiasm, knowledge and wisdom will provide experiences and opportunities which allow students to strive towards their highest potential.

Effective teaching and learning experiences are founded upon two basic principles: relationship and communication. Students need to understand how they are constantly relating to, or communicating with, their environment. In this process, there is a continuous reference to interdependence regarding man's place and function on the planet and in the universe.

Qualities such as responsibility, inner control, concern for others, cooperation, and open-mindedness are important in establishing right human relations and communication. Students learn how to accept responsibility and develop cooperation through planning, implementing, and evaluating learning experiences. Younger students accept responsibility through sharing, interchange, and proper use of equipment and materials.



Inner self-control


or discipline, is at the heart of every learning experience. Inner self-control develops gradually within the child's mind and heart as it becomes a part of his or her attitude and value system. This occurs as the child learns how to accept guidance and follow directions. Definite learning experiences can be set up that increase children's understanding of the balancing process required to bring their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual nature into alignment or harmony.

The following techniques can bring about this greater understanding:

• Develop a oneness or unity through an understanding of the principle of inner self-control. Consistency is the key in acquiring inner control.

• Help students develop control of then-physical body through exercises which strengthen and calm the body.

• Help students learn to use their emotional nature in a positive manner. Introduce skills which develop emotional control, such as: stories, games, and opportunities for individual time with the teacher and for peer interchange.

• Provide opportunities for visualization, imagination, and observation to broaden thought processes and creativity.

• Give encouragement rather than praise; because encouragement develops the feeling of self-worth, whereas praise may develop into an inflated ego.

• Guide students in striving toward excellence in work and relationships.

• Help students develop basic skills of problem solving. Show them how their actions paint a picture. Then discuss how the picture can be changed through different thoughts and actions.

• Help students understand and accept the fact that disruptive behavior is unacceptable. Search for a solution through an understanding of the underlying cause of aggressive behavior. Lead students in finding alternative ways to meet their needs.

• Lead students by demonstrating and encouraging a spirit, a respect and a responsibility for love and discipline for the sake of the whole. Help them develop discriminating minds, yet remain non-exclusive in their pursuit of greater knowledge and understanding.

• Always inspire toward the higher and higher possibilities!

 

Concern for others

is an important factor in all right relationships. This concern is shown through mutual respect, sensitivity to the needs of all cultures, and a willingness to help. Right relationships emerge from a mutual caring and appreciation for the miracle of individual human life.

 

Open-mindedness

is essential in accepting the diverse ideas, opinions, and beliefs which are a part of group interaction. This quality is nurtured through activities such as brainstorming, problem solving, creative thinking, seeking a better way of doing things, and in understanding the relationship between feeling and thinking.


Creativity

is another avenue which helps students gain a wholesome feeling of self worth. It allows them to express ideas, feelings, and talents in various ways and forms. Cooperation is a basic aspect of effective group relationships. Adjusting to harmony or resolving conflicts calls forth a cooperative spirit. High ideals or values provide the urge to strive toward right relationships. This concept begins within the family unit and extends to national and international relationships.


A positive self-image

is needed in any cooperative relationship. Self-esteem or self-worth can only come from within. The teacher can increase the student's feeling of being a competent, worthy person by providing consistent opportunities for developing a feeling of self-worth and self-mastery. Teachers can encourage students to develop an enthusiastic commitment toward setting goals and persistence in working towards them. With conscientious planning, the teachers can:

• Provide opportunities for making choices.

• Help students become independent learners.

• Provide guidelines and include opportunities which develop personal responsibility, neatness, completion of work, meeting deadlines, consistent study habits, etc.

• Provide creative, challenging activities and experiences.

• Develop social skills, such as:

* The ability to control feelings and to consider the rights of others.

* The ability to share with others - in personal and public matters.

* The ability to communicate effectively with others in all events and situations.

* Learning the skill of conflict resolution.

• Develop the skill of inner self-control, or self-discipline, by providing opportunities for decision making. This increases the students' feelings of mastery and the feeling of being a competent, worthy person.



Creating a Global Perspective

We are constantly being influenced by our environment. If quality learning is to become a reality, the classroom environment must hold high interest and challenge for the student. Visual and auditory materials that invite student participation can bring about a greater understanding of the life process. The classroom needs an atmosphere which will develop a sense or awareness of life from a global perspective, and demonstrate the interconnectedness of all life forms on the planet. To paraphrase a portion of Education in the New Age (pp.75-78), by Alice A. Bailey, this environment is possible when the following atmospheres are present:

An atmosphere of love, wherein fear is cast out and the child realizes he has no cause for timidity, shyness, or caution. An atmosphere in which he receives courteous treatment at the hands of others, and is expected also to render equally courteous treatment in return. This atmosphere of love is not an emotional, sentimental form of love, but is based upon a realization of the potentialities of the child as an individual, on a sense of true responsibility, freedom from prejudice, racial antagonisms, and above everything else, upon compassionate tenderness. This compassionate tenderness is founded on the recognition of the difficulty of living, upon sensitivity to the child's normally affectionate response, and upon a knowledge that love always draws forth what is best in child and man.

An atmosphere of patience, wherein the student can work naturally without a sense of speed or hurry. One in which the teacher expresses calmness, balance, peacefulness, and adjustment towards harmony. With a balanced emphasis upon knowledge, patience provides an atmosphere of thinking, sensitivity to beauty, love, and caring for the general welfare, which is needed in the learning process.

An atmosphere of ordered activity, wherein the student can experience a sense of rhythm, directed purpose, and creatively constructed freedom within the structure of the learning process.

An atmosphere of understanding, in which the student feels that the teacher understands, has respect for, and is sensitive to his or her needs. The student must be sure th~t the reasons and motives for his or her actions will be recognized, even though the teacher may not necessarily approve of the actions themselves. The many small and petty sins are of no real moment If these aspects of the child's life are rightly handled, then the truly wrong things, the infringements upon the rights of others, the encroaphments of indivi~ual desire upon group requirements and conditions, and the hurting or dam~g of others in order to achieve personal gain; will emerge in right perspective and at the right time.


When all four of these atmospheres are present within the classroom, students will feel a sense of love through acceptance and courteous actions. They will feel patience through the freedom given them to question, explore, and experiment without a sense of outer pressure.

An atmosphere of ordered activity will motivate and challenge students to freely express their capacity for learning and their ability to assume responsibility. They will feel understanding through a sense of acceptance of their feelings, actions and accomplishments. Vigilance, patience, loving understanding, constancy, rhythm, and order will bring about a symphonic classroom atmosphere in which student and teacher share a beautiful relationship in time and space; thus bringing about an expansion of consciousness or global awareness necessary for an understanding of the issues and problems facing humanity at this time.

 



Creating Planetary Learning Experiences

In the development of a World Core Curriculum, it has been found that varied teaching techniques provide challenging learning experiences. Presentation of the universally oriented WorId Core Curriculum through diversified methods of instruction provides a broader range of learning opportunities, as well as holds student interest on higher levels. This process of varying instructional techniques and broadening learning opportunities also gives students a greater understanding of the interconnectedness of all life on our planet Thus, students can grasp the fact that learning is life and life is learning. Learning experiences are planned to include physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels, according to the needs of the individual student In consistent combination, the following instructional approaches provide a wide range of learning opportunities for students:


Directed instruction (group and individual) enables the student and teacher to meet according to need and purpose. It provides an opportunity for introduction of new concepts, content and objectives on specific topics. Information, issues, ideas, and experiments can be presented and then followed up through other types of learning experiences offered in the curriculum.

Learning Centers provide optimal learning opportunities for student and teacher to share instructional experiences. The Centers provide settings through which the themes of planetary life can be explored by an individual as well as by small or large groups.


Independent study plans free students to explore, experiment, and learn, through their own initiative, in a less structured learning environment The framework of a global cUrriculum provides a wide range of issues, knowledge, concepts, themes, subjects, and ideas, ranging in scope from the microcosm to the macrocosm.

Research projects give students opportunities to develop their mental skills and mental discipline. A World Core Curriculum is an excellent base from which to work with this type of learning experience.


Individualized study plans meet specific needs or difficulties. Work can be planned according to the left brain, right brain, or whole brain learning style of students. An independent study plan can also serve students with "special educational" needs. It allows students to make in-depth studies of global information, issues, or concerns facing our planetary community today and to view their own lives in relation to these topics.

Units of study explore goals, concepts, knowledge, and skills related to a specific body of information. The 0unifying thread which runs throughout all the units of study is one of global awareness.

Field trips expand the classroom to include the richness of community, national, and international resources.

Through these various types of learning experiences, students gain a knowledge of the synthesis or oneness of life as a learning process. Students will be able to work from the microcosm to the macrocosm, or vice versa, according to their own learning pattern. Let us now consider the use and value of each type of learning experience in greater depth.

 



Learning Centers

One of the most effective ways of reaching students on their developmental level is to set up Learning Centers which allow them to explore, experiment, create, enjoy, or just BE.

Centers tend to invite students into a setting which sparks their interest and activates their innate curiosity mechanism, thus leading to optimal learning experiences. The key to setting up any phase of the student's learning area, is to use the environment to enhance learning opportunities.

Learning Centers give student and teacher more freedom on any instructional level by allowing students to work in each area according to interest or need. Also, the teacher is free to work with an individual student, or with small and large groups, at "moments of readiness". This method of instruction helps students develop a sense of responsibility for their own learning, by making choices, experimenting, and becoming independent learners.

Learning Centers are focal points of interest which draw many types of students: the shy ones, the inquisitive, the experimenters, researchers, artists, readers, writers, dreamers, and 'dawdlers.

The main value and purpose of using Centers as an instructional method is to introduce the student to alternative ways of gaining experience and knowledge. The Centers concept exemplifies the positive aspects of the learning process. The types of Centers used in the classroom are dictated by the level of maturity of each student, according to his or her physical, emotional, and mental development. For instance, Centers for Toddlers can include the following types of emphasized activity:

• Large motor skills - manipulative toys, climbing, running

• Fine motor sKills - drawing, threading, pre-writing

• Self discovery - health, self-care, physical body

• Fantasy - free play

• Music - instruments, songs, movement

• Books - picture;"story, poetry, read-to books

• Language - speaking, pronunciation, languages

• Beauty - appreciation, field trips, nature, art

• Right Relations - family, peers, humanity

• Observation - use of senses

• Listening - understanding instructions, guidance

• Thinking - play, imagination, classification, comparison.

 



Independent Study Plans,
Research Projects, and Individualized Study Plans

Independent and individualized plans and projects allow students to gain knowledge, concepts, and skills in a natural unfolding order, according to their interest and ability. It gives the teacher an opportunity to share with students the beauty and wonder of the creative process. It provides a wide range of possible learning experiences. These experiences allow students to:

• Explore .and experiment - the global curriculum framework provides students with a variety of topics for study and research.

• Participate in group activities - invites brainstonning, discussions, and promotes work on specific skills needed at each developmental level.

• Initiate and develop a valid and meaningful topic of interest.

• Learn interdisciplinary subject matter from a global perspective - through questions, activities, and experiences that present a oneness or interconnectedness of humanity and its relation to the planet.

At the elementary level, the teacher and student prepare a plan which gives the student guidelines and directions to explore and develop an interest or topic. As students develop the skills of study and research, they can assume greater responsibility for planning. The following general outline of possible activities provides interdisciplinary subject matter that might be used as an independent study plan, or could be used by partners or small groups wishing to work at their own rate and ability.

 

Sample Plan and Projects for the Elementary Level Student

General topic: Planetary Peace and Freedom

Introduction: Discussion of two words, peace and freedom. List the main ideas from this discussion. Write an essay about these two words. Discuss the kind of world in which you would like to liv~. Write an article to be sent to the news media entitled: "Actions For A Better World".

Activities: Study forms of artistic expression such as writing, painting, drama and dance. A sample collection for study could be:

• Artwork depicting peace and freedom (meaning)

• Songs of peace and freedom (feeling)

• Dances of peace and freedom (aesthetic and physical expression)

• Memorize the Pledge of your native country (personal and group awareness) . Study the Pledge of Allegiance from various countries. Compare the thoughts expressed in each nation's pledge with that of other countries. Discuss similarities and common ideals. (global awareness)

• Write a Planetary Citizenship Pledge. (planetary awareness)


Natural Expansions: As the student explores the initial phases of this topic through reading, researching, writing, experimenting, and presenting, the student and the teacher would find naturally unfolding expansions of the topic, Planetary Peace and Freedom The student starts from the larger perspective and finds his or her place within. Some of these expansions are listed below.


The Planet Earth:

• Relationship in the Solar System

• Major bodies of water - names and locations . Continents - names and locations

•Countries - location, culture of its people, natural resources, goods and services, geography, political system, and religious beliefs.



My Heritage:

•Study different concepts of family living (individual, nuclear, communal, extended, the family of man)

• Investigate the symbol of "the tree of life" throughout various spiritual disciplines. Compare a symbolic tree that you are familiar with (ie.: a Christmas tree) to one which you found interesting in your investigation.

• Who were your ancestors? Chart a family tree. Discuss similarities and dilIerences of daily life for dilIerent generations represented on the tree. What historical events happened during the lives of your relatives? How have the members of your family tree contributed to society, served others, or served our planet?

• What will the family concept be for your generation? What elements of your heritage will you want to share with your children? What new traditions will you want to introduce?



Right Human Relations:

• Discuss the significance of right communication in words and actions, caring, sharing, understanding and cooperation.

• Discuss The United Nations - its purpose, history, location, member countries, and its service as an organization for gaining planetary peace and freedom.

Being a Peace Person:

•List ways of being a "peace person" - how you know it and how you show it.

• Brainstorm ways of how one can influence others to become "peace persons".

• Study the life of individuals who have made great contnbutions to world peace - Peace Heroes.

• Design a peace card to give to friends. Send cards to public officials in various countries, enlisting their support for planetary peace and freedom


World Traveler:

• Plan a trip around the world which includes at least fifteen countries. Mark each country and a specific" city within it on a world map. Explain why you chose the particular cities in each country. Describe the people in each of these cities or towns. What do you think their lives are like? .

Through the process of independent study and research, students develop a greater understanding and appreciation of the individual as a functioning member of a group, ranging from the individual family member to that of being a planetary citizen. This course of study helps the student:

• Develop a positive self-awareness.

• Attain essential skills of group dynamics.

• Gain knowledge and appreciation of various cultures, religions, and races.

• Become more aware of the family unit, and its purpose and place in relation to global interdependencies.

• Appreciate the need for essential values and laws that serve humanity.

• Recognize world leaders who are working for planetary peace and freedom.

 

 

Units of Study

Units of study are effective modes of learning. A unit approach focuses on a topic or subject for a period of time. This type of study builds a broad base for acquiring concepts, knowledge, and skills from a global perspective.

Understanding is developed through these experiences. The student gains a positive sense of self, as a personal and social being, who is living as a contributing member of a family, a neighborhood, a city, a state, a nation, a continent, and a planet within a galaxy.

At the primary level, the subject of the family provides a natural starting point for a unit of study and discovery. The study can begin with individual family life and expand to include family life around the world. Thus, students gain a greater knowledge of man's relation to the
Human Family as it unfolds within each country on the planet

The whole brain diagram presents possibilities for this type of experience. It shows a spiralling outward of concepts of "The Human Family". For example, primary students can understand this from the standpoint of their own family unit and how it functions within a neighborhood, a city, a country and on the continents.


Field Trips

To help students develop a global awareness or consciousness, it is necessary to move outward from the classroom environment. Field trips provide opportunities for expanded learning experiences through active participation in planned activities outside the classroom. These experiences enhance the work done within the classroom. Field trips can range from the immediate environment to local, state, national, and international travel.

Field trips need to be planned in conjunction with specific activities related to particular units of study that the students are engaged in. These four objectives must be identified: Purpose, Goals, Concepts to be learned, and Skills to be gained. The following example, a trip to a water purification plant, shows the interdisciplinary value of an environmental experience. Choices of course would vary according to the opportunities that present themselves from nation to nation and culture to culture.

For the older students field trips may take many forms. Students at the Robert Muller School are dedicated to learning how to live as global citizens. They believe that children can make a difference. Our students take advantage of every opportunity offered them for contact with young people of the planet They have participated in art exchanges with Russia and China, The First International Children's Peace Conference, a student exchange with children from Mexico, and are active members of the Model United Nations on the elementary and high school levels. The following report (next page) was written by a student who attended the First Children's Peace Conference held in Switzerland in May, 1987.