An Online Course: Producing A Project of Ideas & Resources. May be taken twice for 8 credits total.
A Distance Learning Online Course Focusing on Inclusion, Bilingual/English Language Learners, Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles, and Multicultural Education
An Online Course: Producing A Project of Ideas & Resources.
May be taken twice for 8 credits total.
This is a distance learning course, concentrating on uses of the Internet for teaching, learning and professional development. It also is intended to give you enough web sites and leads-in to more web sites to be a continuously useful resource for your learning and doing.
Assessment is based on work you produce in series of essays/listings for each Essential Question or topic you "connect with," and with an annotated lists of sites supporting your views and reflecting your web work. Note the Rubric for Course Portfolio Assessment.
For instance, you might write “The site XXXX [http://www.xxx.com] gave me a different perspective on how to help students learn _____. It also cleared up for me something I was confused about, and that is what educators mean by __________.” Certainly you would want to elaborate more.
This work may be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or snail-mailed to me at Chad C. Osborne 923 W. Mission St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101. If you email the work, you may wish to put it in a Zip file, which compresses text and makes it easier to send over the 'Net.
As we begin a new millenium, a number of teachers and leaders are exploring character education, higher levels of consciousness, practicing spiritual disciplines, and envisioning learning that will honor the spirit as well as the intellect. This usually means changing the focus from external things, and using tools such as meditation and contemplation to journey inward. While it takes courage both for teachers and students to explore the personal dimensions of learning, it is a timely and appropriate response to the materialism and consumerism of this era. This experience of inner life, referred to by some as character education, by others as spiritual or emotional intelligence, by still others as developing knowledge of the soul or heart, has led many educators to question the comparable shallowness of the curriculum that has evolved from the Standards and high stakes testing movement. Higher standards, if they are not also deeper standards, thin education to a lifeless and unsustainable shadow of the substance most parents want their children's education to have.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, folk singer Woody Guthrie wrote and recorded an instant classic called "The Talkin' Dust Bowl Blues." Among its many bittersweet lines is this one: "That soup was so thin you could read a magazine through it."
The 20th century, for all its scientific and technological amazements, might be described as a century of thin soup, and not only because too many people went hungry. It was a century in which we watered down our own humanity—turning wisdom into information, community into consumerism, politics into manipulation, destiny into DNA—making it increasingly difficult to find nourishment for the hungers of the heart.
Education has not been exempt from this process. Early in the century, eager to create factory workers who could produce material prosperity, we took teaching and learning—that ancient exchange between student and teacher and world in which human beings have always explored the depths of the soul—and started thinning it down into little more than the amassing of data and the mastering of technique.
That's the bad news. The good news is that the educational soup became so thin—and our hunger for real life so deep—that in the last decades of the 20th century people started seeing right through it. Teachers, administrators, parents, and citizens who care about education have been working hard to reclaim the integrity of teaching and learning so that it can once again become a process in which the whole person is nourished.... --Parker J. Palmer
2. A second brief reading to respond to in your Journal and Discussion board is Why Spirituality in Education?, from Australia.
3. A third orientation to thinking about spirituality in education highlights some of the differences between religion and spirituality, and begins to address the 1st Amendment-based fears that have traditionally dogged this issue: RELIGION, SPIRITUALITY, AND EDUCATION ON THE EVE OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY. Reprint, read and respond, again in both your Journal and on the Discussion Board, to this viewpoint. Consider and reflect, too, on the types of spirituality/worldviews Nord delineates in a key passage:
Ninety percent of Americans continue to claim to believe in God and church membership may actually have increased over the course of the century. We shouldn’t be unduly impressed with such statistics, however. Much belief is nominal; it is what one tells a pollster and has little to do with how one understands the world or lives one’s life; and we all know that membership in a congregation may be prompted by many motives, not all of them religious.
I am more interested, at least for my purposes here, in how religion has responded to the challenge of modernity—the challenge of modern science and social ideologies. Let me map three general (if overlapping) responses to give us some sense of the lay of the land.
1. A few years ago, the historian Mark Noll published a book that created something of a stir called The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. The scandal, Noll suggested, is that there isn’t an evangelical mind. (I should say that Noll is himself an evangelical.) No doubt things are changing; there is a growing engagement with modern ideas among evangelical theologians, but there has certainly also been a powerful current of anti-intellectualism that has run through fundamentalist, charismatic, and evangelical churches, whose position has been one of retrenchment before the onslaught of modernity and the reassertion of doctrinal orthodoxies.
2. The second religious response to modernity has been a liberal response that has led to a sometimes radical rethinking and reformation of Christian and Jewish traditions in the light of modern science and social movements. Liberal theologians were quick to accept evolution and modern science; they have used secular historical scholarship to rethink the claims and authority of the Bible; and they have drawn on various secular ideologies—liberal, feminist, Marxist, liberationist, postmodernist--to shape a new theology for the churches.
3. Liberals, as I am defining them, want to keep the faith—even while they renegotiate boundaries and reform their traditions, and in this they are more conservative than the adherents of the new spirituality, my third category of responses to modernity. Of course, traditional religions have always had a spiritual dimension. What distinguishes the new spirituality is first, that it has refused to be confined within the institutional structures of traditional religion, which its adherents typically view as authoritarian and confining. The new spirituality is deeply individualistic. And, second, it is profoundly eclectic, drawing on a wide range of both religious and secular resources in seeking new and deeper forms of meaning: Eastern religions, myth, meditation, humanistic and Jungian psychology and various kinds of therapy, holistic healing, new developments in cosmology, deep ecology, left-right brain research, shamanism, feminism and goddess religion, the self-help movement, and, at least on its ill-defined borders, astrology, channeling, reincarnation, witchcraft and neopaganism. One of the reasons the new spirituality is to exciting and so frustrating is that it blurs the traditional boundaries between the sacred and the secular.
4. The controversy behind dealing with personal content is explored in Averting Culture Wars over Religion.
A key passage in this essay states: "As Warren Nord (1995) has pointed out, many in the New Age movement proclaim a spirituality that is meant to transcend particular religions. Though New Age thinking is highly eclectic and diverse, it emphasizes a holistic approach to life and a belief that a higher self can be awakened within each person. In other words, New Age spirituality is itself a worldview. Like other religious worldviews, it may be discussed in public schools, but only in the context of learning about various worldviews. Those who propose that public schools address spirituality by taking a holistic approach to education or by encouraging students to seek their higher selves must expect to have their ideas identified with this way of thinking--and to be challenged for promoting one religious view over others."
Does it seem practical and desireable to have students investigate "various worldviews"? In your view, should the choice be explored about whether to seek wisdom through inner ["higher self"] directions as well as outer? The 1st amendment issues as framed in the article are obviously important to consider; in your mind, do they close the issue? Couldn't Nord's statement, the role of corporations in our society, the faith people have in science--all be considered forms of "idolotry," the substitution of something for "the Divine," which makes it fit Nord's view of "spirituality" still being "religion"? Reprint and read this essay, answering these and other questions that occur to you in your Journal and on the Discussion Board.
5. Take the "Spiritual Intelligence Survey" to continue exploring the concept of spirituality. Respond via Journal and Discussion Board to your understanding of this term after you do the self "correcting" survey.
6. For a fifth and final exploration in Part I of this on-line course, read the summary of an adress by Parker J. Parker, the writer, teacher, and activist author of The Courage To Teach and the first reading for this course: Recovering the Sacred in Knowing, Teaching and Learning. Respond via Journal and Discussion Board.
After reading these last two sites concerning the arts as a means to go higher and deeper in "heart-centered" learning, reflect on your thoughts and questions, in your Journal and on the Discussion Board.
"Meditation"--Tethering the Mind
Simply breathing and paying attention. Athletes do not perform at their peak if their minds are in the past or future. Simply sitting, following the breath, perhaps saying "Yes" to oneself with each breath, or hearing a narration. There are several ways of using stillness to go inward, go deeper, into oneself.
1. The FOUNTAIN is a site of links and resources called "A Resource Collection for the Contemplative Practitioner" by the site's creator. Spend time reading and contemplating what you find there, trying to see the diversity of "going inward" practices. Try to minimize judgement at this point, surveying and surfing. Relate what you find of interest in your Journal and on the Discussion Board.
2. Excerpts from "Words that Shine Both Ways" express insights about this experience. Since this going inward, even finding the "flow" that athletes, artists, and inventors relate to, is a wordless and difficult to articulate experience, it gives a sense of what this "tethering the Mind" seeks, and why it has such potential. Several sites relate educational practices in using meditation:
MIDDLE ENERGETIC EMOTIONAL LEVELS
HIGHEST ENERGETIC EMOTIONAL LEVELS
To conclude this audit, compose a LETTER TO YOURSELF in which you summarize what you have learned, and what you want to do with what you have learned. Put this letter in your Journal.
A time comes in your life when you finally get it... When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere, the voice inside your head cries out - ENOUGH!
Enough fighting and crying, or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes, you begin to look at the world through new eyes.
This is your awakening...
You realize that it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that he is not Prince Charming and you are not Cinderella and that in the real world, there aren't always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you and in the process, a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.
You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are ... and that's OK. (They are entitled to their own views and opinions.) And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself and in the process, a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.
You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn't do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it's not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself and in the process, a sense of safety & security is born of self-reliance.
You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process, a sense of peace & contentment is born of forgiveness.
You realize that much of the way you view yourself and the world around you, is a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. You begin to sift through all the junk you've been fed about how you should behave, how you should look and how much you should weigh, what you should wear and where you should shop and what you should drive, how and where you should live and what you should do for a living, who you should marry and what you should expect of a marriage, the importance of having and raising children or what you owe your parents. You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for.
You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with and in the process, you learn to go with your instincts.
You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive and that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" looking for your next fix.
You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a by gone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.
You learn that you don't know everything; it's not your job to save the world and that you can't teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.
You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.
Then you learn about love. Romantic love and familial love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. You learn not to project your needs or your feelings onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name.
You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes.
You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love; and you learn that you don't have the right to demand love on your terms, just to make you happy.
You learn that alone does not mean lonely. You look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a perfect 10 and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you "stack up."
You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK and that it is your right, to want things and to ask for the things that you want and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands.
You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won't settle for less. You allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you, to glorify you with his touch and in the process, you internalize the meaning of self-respect.
And you learn that your body really is your temple. And you begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and taking more time to exercise. You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear. So you take more time to rest. Just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul; so you take more time to laugh and to play.
You learn that for the most part in life, you get what you believe you deserve and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen, is different from working toward making it happen.
More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone and that it's OK to risk asking for help.
You learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time; FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears, because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear, is to give away the right to live life on your terms.
You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions, you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn't punishing you or failing to answer your prayers; it's just life happening.
You learn to deal with evil in its most primal state; the ego. You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you.
You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls.
You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted; things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about; a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.
Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself, by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart's desire. You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind, and you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.
Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you take a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.