Matriellez word      MY EDUCATION BLOG

I worked for years as a teacher and retired in June 2006. I am beginning this blog in preparation for my opus which will rock the foundations of education. No chance of rocking, and not much chance of an opus either. The dominant powers of greed, politics and careerism won't let any rocking happen. Matriellez will be focussing on education and learning, and the three afore-mentioned powers want nothing to do with the E-word.


If you wish to contact me or add a blog entry email me by clicking the quill


Archive - pre-book

I have become more active on this blog since I have tried again with the opus; this is an archive prior to this opus. Back to current blog

20/12/08

Staff Development Letter

08/07/08

Dear CM,

27/07/08

Matrielling

15/08/08

Enabling Love of KuanYin - signposts of Nature

09/10/08

On overseas teaching

05/06/08

Trust

09/06/08

More on Education Dynamics

20/06/08

Home Education and Community

29/06/08

Dialectics of Education

04/09/07

Human Development

25/09/07

Fragile Intellect and Bullying

04/10/07

Teaching Appropriate Reason

21/12/07

Cognitive Macrobiotic Development

26/02/07

AI vs Meditation

26/03/07

WEBSITE

28/4/07

On language teaching

04/5/07

Computer-Integrated subject-based curriculum

26/12/06

Understanding the Traps of Intellect

26/12/06

Cultural Imperialism in Education

27/12/06

I am a Teacher

19/02/07

What Burdens do we carry?

04/7/07

Some Details on the Exam Centre


Understanding the Traps of the Intellect
In general our education system does not teach understanding, and sadly many very intelligent people have been diverted into intellectual traps by the system. I will try to illustrate this by consideration of earnest discussions I had in Bangkok recently. This will also have an element of conspiracy as two of the system's boltholes come into play - socialism and conspiracy.

It began with Arabs. It is frightening how much anti-Arab feeling is being generated these days. It is so frustrating to watch as the Arabs are becoming the reds of the cold war. Russians aren't bad people but the reds - yet Russians are now overly-allied with capital it is frightening -especially as there is much crime associated. The crime that is capitalism in the West is much more ordered.

Did Arab slavery do more damage in Africa? A reasonable question. Now place it in the context of the current cold war against Arabs, and then rephrase the question:-

Was Arab slavery worse than the western trade?

And here we have the source of the question, it is part of the intellectual assault on the Arab Cold War.

After 15 years of working with black people and learning about their struggles in the UK my culminating insight concerning this was that white people had devastated black Africa in line with Walter Rodney's book "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa?" Here we have the first intellectual bolthole - socialism. Because Rodney's book is part of the socialist arena it was not a source for this intellect. Intellectual socialists are a damage to the cause with their versions of socialism but emotional rejection of all that is socialism is a bolthole that dismisses many facts. Do books that contain socialist principles not also contain facts?

My heartfelt intuition that the West caused the bulk of the damage to Africa was effectively dismissed because it was not based on proof. Then we had another bolthole, an obfuscation within the education establishment. Opinion on black Africa was being formed by Black American academics, and was being dismissed because of that source of radicalism. Aggh! Black African opinion was crystallised around the Senegalese Diop's negritude (apologies forgotten his name). But where were Nkrumah, Fanon, Nyerere, pan-africanism? In the socialist bolthole.

Anti-Arab fervour was being lauded countered against the Western destruction, and the clear intuition I had was being questioned as I lacked proof. I then countered that proof could never undermine the intuition and we were at loggerheads.

The source of this intellectual misdirection is white South Africa. Much intellectual construction has gone into the fortification of the Apartheid regime, and following that justification of the white presence and power. Intuition clearly dictates that South Africa is a black country, it is part of Africa. But then history changes so is it a white country? Then the Dutch being there before the Zulus, and we have a factual dispute as to calling these people white Africans. This obtuse intellectualism is common-place in South Africa, and its root lies in the white intellectual need to justify their presence within the apartheid regime and not to fight such a monstrosity - killing black Africans for wanting their own country back.

This blog is about understanding the intellect, and trying to demonstrate that there is a need in education to value intuition in its true place above intellect, proof and rational obfuscations. In this case it is black and white, and the real education is harmony not based on race but human beings living together - sadly still a major issue in South Africa as elsewhere. Intellectual justification of racial disharmony can never be acceptable.

The second bolthole of conspiracy came up in the conversation but not in the blog.

Tags - QP Process Intellect
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Cultural Imperialism in Education
I choose this title so that many can run for their socialist bolthole and not have to consider this. Mind you they could have run for their conspiracy bolthole already!

We have to understand just how all-encompassing the education conquistadors are.

Let me remind you of where the conquistador term arose in this context. It was a term referring to the IMF, World Bank and Gatt, raised in a Race and Class edition which discussed these agencies as the modern-day conquistadors. Now many accept the G7 as the leaders of these conquistadors. Educators might more be considered in the mould of the missionaries whose religious guidance provided great armour in the forefront of the conquest of Africa.

As education conquistadors what do we do? This arose in a recent discussion in Bangkok. I got drawn into a discussion fuelled by drink, about the purpose of education being to make people happy. It reminded me so much of my own chimera, self-realisation, that I started in.

What cultural conflicts do we introduce to Thai peasant girls who are educated into believing they are in this world to be happy other than bearing children and running the family? How much conflict do we cause Indian women when we say they can be happy by choosing a partner?

And of course the answer is they choose our education system, our schools. No, power and money chooses our system. For non-westerners education is concerned with power, the power that the qualifications can give them in their own countries. For some it is also an empowering to escape, a belief in Hollywood or the golden pavements of London, freedom and money in the West. Does any of this have anything to do with the values of happiness or self-realisation of the western education system's theorists? No, except the socially-indoctrinated "happiness" that wealth is supposed to bring. The West has certainly educated their own in that.

I put forward the context that I only taught my subject as that was what I was supposedly an expert in. I disciplined in that context, and tried to avoid comment or affect on values brought into the classroom by the students. Obviously I bring my culture with me but the context was my subject.

This of course opened me up to a good counter, that secondary education is an exam factory and that primary education is a broader church. I couldn't properly counter that. I recognise the cultural imposition that is the broader perspective of secondary education, this happiness through self-realisation is also at the root of western secondary education as well as primary. But in primary education the goal is obviously more tangible.

This is a good question I am not equipped to answer, how do the two levels of education interact with this cultural imposition? Not for today.

Ultimately the family and society provide the background and strength that allows their children to venture forth into western education to gain qualifications, but in the end this education alters the culture fundamentally as these children become movers and shakers. How much?

Tags - CP Cultural Imperialism
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I am a Teacher
I am going to duplicate this in Bill Z's Buddhist Spirit blog.

I started ACIM, and yesterday understood my anger. Previously I have written about this deep anger (in the Buddhist-Spirit blog), even to the extent of suggesting that it is Karmic. I haven't rejected that thought despite what I am saying here.

This deep anger was because I was going against my heart. But why when my anger was mainly based in teaching? Real anger is not following the heart so teaching was in my heart. But isn't teaching external? And then the job is, but teaching isn't.

Once I started teaching, I knew I was a teacher - I knew it was innate, to such an extent that I was prepared to trust that in the classroom my actions would be those of a teacher irrespective. And I relied on that. Where did that reliance come from? My heart. Why? Because teaching was part of my heart.

But the spiritual decisions of the heart are not about employment. So being a teacher was not about the job of being employed as a teacher in a school. Teaching is spiritual. What does a teacher do? They pass on knowledge and hopefully build wisdom across generations. Therefore teaching is evolutionary, it is part of evolution, part of Nature, part of the Dharma. As such there is a spiritual root that can lead through the heart to teaching, an essence, a nub, a noumenon, a seed.

And therefore a vindication of all the heads-banging. And an understanding of all the anger.

Tags - QP Vocation
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What Burdens Do We Carry
My stress caused me difficulty yesterday, and I needed time out. And then last night a teachers stress dream. You have to laugh at the pathos. There was some event, and break came along with 3 separate areas for tea, 2 for children and 1 for the teachers. Nothing appeared for the teachers. Off I went in typical tirading fashion to find some genial guy carrying a tea trolley. He laughed at me "teachers are always last", and I authoritatively told him to take it to the teachers now. He smiled and said he couldn't, presumably someone had told him to do it this way. Off I tiraded, and reached a sedate lounge where a genial Mr Norris completely agreed with me and said he would deal with it.

I woke up totally burdened with stress, it was as if my stomach was pregnant with it. Now I know I was particularly anal making issues like this mine but burdening myself with this 8 months after I have retired. How much more is there?

How much more of this is there to uncover? On and on I carry this misshapenness. Am I "not letting go" or is it that I just have to go through with all of it and for how long? And then to think how much do other people carry? And how do they deal with it? After all I was supposed to have been coping with this stuff well through meditation and Tai Chi all the way through. I was supposed to have been aware. Is it any wonder we are all so crazy in this world of wage slavery?

And then think of the deck of cards we call economics. It is all an image. Poor Gaia. She wakes up and sees these thoughts flying past. Let go, she wants. She observes. But some prick wakes up and sees the thought. He attaches to the thought, if I can make others attach to this thought I can make a killing. He invests his money and makes a few calls. More invest their money. The prick watches and waits . and waits, and then sells. Others see him selling so they sell. And months later a factory closes, a weak man cannot face getting up another day to search for money and gives up. He runs to the bottle. That was the child's medicine drunk but he is partly dutiful and borrows. But he had borrowed before, and this time he must pay his debt back quickly. He delivers the drugs. And these drugs were tainted - which was why he was brought in. The idiot at the other end who had long time given up takes the drugs and that night was dead in a pile of his vomit.

And the next day Gaia watches another stray thought passes her by. And a prick who is part of her latches on, and his attachment is another game that he snorts up his nose later. And meanwhile up the line .

Market forces. Snorting pricks, drunken consequences and life goes on. Gaia watches.

Tags - QP Vocation burdens
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AI vs Meditation
I was sparked into writing this because it's raining and because of this article. (I didn't want to waste my blogspace with it so the article is referenced elsewhere on my site).

It annoys me because it is academia defending its territory - I must watch this, academic territory raises anger. Why does defence of meditation perpetually discuss states - it opens itself to academic counter?

Clearly AI can have a rational mind as a rational mind if used properly will argue logically. But again how does AI choose the axioms from which to develop the logic? Possibly the most appropriate axiom can be programmed but I don't know enough about the possibilities of AI to be definitive.

However how can any discussion of AI vs meditation ignore insight? This totally confuses me as Vipassana is a major meditation technique. To use Alan Turing's words used in the article, an "operationally explicit definition of intelligence" could be:-

Intelligence is that which has insights.

The discussion is fundamentally flawed. Unless insight is accepted into the discussion, then how does one discuss intelligence? If insight is accepted into the discussion, then how else can it be described but as an intelligent faculty of mind? And then how can a machine possess insight?

"Consciousness, AI researchers contend, is not a single, ineffable quality; it's a matter of degree, dependent on the complexity of those connections. And the hardware doesn't matter; whether an entity's brain is made of meat or transistors, mind is as mind does." I can only see insight being accepted into the discussion as some form of complex connection. And that makes little sense to me.

How does one value insight? This of course is why academia does not accept insight as intelligence, because an insight can only legitimately be valued by the person having the insight. There are certain accepted objective forms of insight which by mutual consent society or academia have agreed to call genius although the tendency there is to describe the ego as the genius. This then gets appropriated as academic genius - brought into the fold.

But this opens up the whole question of what is an insight? - my next blog.

But to continue with this one, consider the playing field the article places meditation in:-

"They settle into a "deep state of equilibrium," free of torpor or distraction, penetrated by light and joy. If they persist, they can reach "the level of primordial consciousness, transcending the conceptual demarcations of subject and object, mind and matter, and even existence and nonexistence," an achievement that produces "a state of well-being beyond imagining." It also frequently produces clairvoyance, clairaudience, telekinesis, and lucid dreaming." quoted in favour of meditation by Wallace in some fabricated consciousness studies academic department.

Legitimately however this Wallace says "And it answers our fundamental questions about the nature and origin of mind". That's not a bad definition of intelligence.

I did mention above the question of "defending territory", and I think it is appropriate to take that further here. For years as a teacher I was conscious of being in a profession that taught minds without there being an understanding of many aspects of minds. The profession filled minds with thoughts which were reproduced in exams. Occasionally the students' minds were expected to create. There were the more obvious forms such as arts and crafts, then there was the creativity in writing although that was mainly stifled by the format of literary criticism and reproduction of quotes as standard questions. And in my own subject there was the creativity of problem-solving - the determination as to the start-off where rational method could be applied.

The exam qualification was the determining factor, and the establishment of what is contained in the exam was originally determined by academia although that is now tempered by business requirements. Yet less intelligence is required for the business component than academia, as business laments the lack of skills in contemporary students - I translate that as not knowing the particular techniques a business requires, not a creative process.

I have made a leap in the above, I have used the word creativity without any form of justification. Hereby I propose that creativity be considered intelligent as it is unique, and this is usually accepted. Where else do we find intelligence? Perhaps that is easier determined by asking the question, where else do we not find intelligence? Is it intelligent to solve a maths problem? Out of fear or inability many people say yes, but is it? As a maths teacher I claim there is only one intelligent process in the solving of the problem, and that is the determination of the starting point, development from there is logical and prone to human error rather than application of intelligence.

I am unwilling to speculate about the application of intelligence in other subject areas as that is only appropriate to the specialist, however I will pose these questions:-

Is repetition intelligent?

Is technique intelligent?

Is skill intelligent?

To these three questions I personally am satisfied to answer no, however to all three I am equally satisfied to put my hand up and say I cannot. In mentioning my own inability I point to the importance of teaching the above, but equally point to intelligence not being a requirement.

In the context of the referred article I am still satisfied with the definition of intelligence that I always gave the students, intelligence is what a computer cannot do ie intelligence is that which is not AI.

Suppose I used a random paint package on a computer. Imagine somehow this computer repeatedly painted pictures on the screen (using random coloured pixels). Let us suppose that the computer were then to randomly produce the Mona Lisa. Is that creativity? Then ask "would the computer know it had produced a Mona Lisa?" Yes, but only by comparison - and therefore it is not a unique creation but only a copy. Would other computer canvas also be works of art? Maybe? Would the computer recognise it without comparison? No, so can a machine be intelligent?

The issue of AI needs to be considered within a political framework especially when counterposing it with meditation. It is a defence strategy. What would happen if meditation insights were accepted as intelligence? And here we have the nub of the issue. Innumerable academics whose claim to intelligence might be summarised as the volume of output in academic journals would be hard put to lay claim to insight. They cannot be proved as insight. With no disrespect even countenanced, what about the following? I insight the 4 Noble Truths as being a means to Awakening. No-one can disprove that I had this insight. Here we have the dilemma of academia. The process of insight is not part of academic intelligence because it cannot be proven as original, and therefore it is not considered as such. Insights that are original and considered useful by society or business are determined as genius; insights, that lead to personal well-being and drawn out to a grandiose conclusion lead to enlightenment, are not necessarily intelligent by the same criteria. A thesis which delves into the minutest detail of some cloistered discussion on nanodecooctoprobes can be awarded a Ph D, but insights would not get past the research proposal.

There is no conclusion in this discussion, thankfully. Insight is not part of academia, and yet insight is an intelligent process. Meditation cannot be considered academically as intelligent as it produces insights that cannot be shown to be original despite their being intelligent. And therefore we have the argument that AI is intelligent.

Now there is also the politics of the negative. How many of our academics can claim to have ability to insight, an aspect of intelligence? If it was benchmark (an unprovable benchmark), how many would qualify? How many people have insights who have not served years of penance to academic instruction? The real issue of any argument between AI and meditation, insight, creativity and intelligence is that of job protection. Protecting our "knowledge" and epistemological methods, defining criteria for academic success and ensuring that existing postholders remain in situ, and that pretenders to the throne must serve the same apprenticeship, are the main academic pre-requisites. Understanding this gives a clarity to an AI discussion that no open-minded individual would bother entering - that AI is intelligent.

Tags - ND Meditation Consciousness AI
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WEBSITE
Matriellez has taken a direction. A couple of weeks ago I decided that part of the giving back involved study skills and, of course, problem-solving. Hopefully as well there will be a forum where study skills issues can be addressed, and maybe problem solving skills - but not my solving problems. To this end there is a plan to build a series of pages developing these skills, this of course will take time.

At the same time I decided to put online the IGCSE exams - for how long depends on CIE; not long see here. I have explained that this is my attempt at levelling certain aspects of the field especially in the poorer schools.

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On language teaching
Dear Alec,

So we are going to be talking language education as well as economics, at least I have more job experience concerning this - as opposed to finance in the public and private sector of education being my only job experience of economics.

I have limited experiencing of direct language teaching but have much experience of second language environments in schools, both in the UK and abroad.

Firstly I have full agreement with your immersion policy for volunteers, if the volunteer is motivated and requires language interaction then it is the only way. I had hoped that that would be my way of learning when I came to Trat, but my learning has not been that successful. However my teaching of language has led me to pick up useful everyday language such as consonant, homework, and next lesson is. I am motivated to learn but it is not my highest motivation, and I consider my progress way too slow. Now I hear the language most days but everyday I am writing and listening to English, so I am not in an immersion process; this makes a big difference.

Now I compare my own situation more with those of well-motivated schoolchildren. I have two hours lessons a week and two hours where I am teaching kids, so 4 hours use of Thai plus the limited Thai I speak when I escape the western trappings of my home. Non-immersion, and the progress is slow.

From birth children hear the language on a minute-by-minute basis and so can learn by imitation, and of course at that age their minds are attuned to the natural process of learning by imitation.

Students coming to the UK not speaking English start an immersion process in schools, but in fact second language teachers withdraw these students from lessons claiming language support was better for them. When I was teaching maths in China the language teachers there also preferred the separate environment.

I have forgotten how I learnt English and so can only talk about my own experience of learning Thai. Reading the writing is helping me to speak, and imitation is impossible as it is spoken way too fast. The little reading I am doing with the teacher is helping me to recognise words, and with the pin Thin system (Thai pinyin) of the texts I am able to communicate one-way but not two. Writing the words even with the computer is helping me learn. So I am describing a natural process of an adult learning all three in a part-time language environment. I would suspect the same would be true of teenage Thai school students.

So for school students a combination of reading writing and speaking in the limited time available would be the best way forward. However if the objective is only to read English then a stylised curriculum could be worked on to do that, but you can never read properly if it is not reinforced by writing and speaking. However a read-only curriculum could possibly work.

However the two stumbling blocks we spoke of are serious.

At the early stage of speaking Thai and therefore speaking English, if there is not transliteral consistency (Pin Thin) then there will be confusion. I am pleased you confirmed my publishers' theory in that.

When you change teachers' materials then that makes it so much harder for teachers to teach. As people move up the ladder they always encourage changing materials as they are closer to the slush money publishers throw around - school text books are a HUGE market. Teachers never want to change as they have too much work to do without learning new materials. As you say changing materials reduces the confidence of the experienced teacher, let alone a teacher already lacking in confidence.

I would like to continue to thrash this one out, and you are now behind on your last two assignments on the conference.

Hope you are keeping well, All the Best Bill Z

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Computer-Integrated Subject-based Curriculum
From a chance discussion with a D&T friend I have opened up into the whole arena of curriculum. I am just going to refer to the paper in my education papers section.:-

LINK

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Some Details on the Exam Centre
In my reasons for putting the papers online, I discussed in part how expensive exams are, and how some international schools are resisting paying for the papers. Maybe those of you who contacted me are in those schools. But education exemplified by CIE is big business in the UK, and as costs are spiralling there what people in the Third World can afford the papers - even those with relatively more money. It is getting harder and harder for all people to have access to education.

To be quite honest Matriellez didn't put up much of a fight, there are no legal grounds for me putting online papers that are published and copyrighted by someone else. Although it was exam season, the papers had only been up just over a month before I received the letter.

What Google has to do with this I don't trust. I spoke with some of the people who contacted me and they said they found the site by a Google search. Maybe CIE also periodically searches on Google, and found the site the same way the students did.

Anyway the letter arrived and I contacted my ISP. Although the letter is suitably British for heavy-handed, they hadn't contacted my ISP. In discussion with my ISP it was quite clear that their business interests did not merit a forlorn battle over exam papers, and if they had been contacted they were going to ask me to remove British copyright material.

It was a vain fight with dubious moral integrity.

Unfortunately what I hoped would attract students to my site has now gone. I referred the students who directly contacted me for help to the Study Skills, and I received some nice pleasantries. Whether they are of more use than that I don't know, but I thank those students.

Who will now access the site I don't know!

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Human Development
At birth we respond by instinct. Here we seek food, the security of the family, and all such. These instinctive needs are rarely disputed except in detail of description and that is not important here. It is appropriate at this stage for humans to become attached to these instinctive needs, but as we grow older we need to extract ourselves from these attachments. Whilst not saying that some of these instinctive needs are not still part of our lives eg food, it is not necessary for the instincts to guide our lives - as it was when we were young.

In contemporary society young people move from having these instincts satisfied at home into an education environment - usually a school. At school we learn the skills required to interact with the world of work, primarily by obtaining qualifications in various recognised subjects. So we grow from satisfying instincts into a supposed learning environment. But is the material we learn about appropriate?

The subjects that we learn are division up of what society tends to accept as skills we need. It is difficult to rationalise this division as it is not justified anywhere. Schools have been this way for a long time so that's what we do. What is clear is that schools focus on the development of intellect, the system wants the power to reason and deduce. These mental attributes tend to lend themselves to the money-making and profiteering essential to western life. At the same time schools do not develop a humane and caring curriculum for the same purpose, these skills do not lend themselves to the money-making and profiteering.

So our schools develop the intellect, and as Matriellez has discussed throughout, this focus on the intellect is dangerous particularly in adolescence when there is an absence of a proper basis for understanding. In adolescence learning continues to be a driving force. Instinct has developed a model of self and as we develop in adolescence we seek that self. Intellect searches inside and finds adolescent fantasies and desires, and knowing nothing else deduces this is self. Society does not offer anything else, and this becomes the modus operandi of society.

Hear our teenagers and look at what drives society. More money for clothes, fashion, entertainment, sexual playing and diversity, drugs, portrait people as iconic leaders, the list of objectified adolescent traits is endless. We are driven by desire that drives the greed that fuels economy, that fuels war etc.

Our teenagers are looking for guides, they see our adults doing the same thing and know this is not the right way. The adults are also seeking guides but when the guides they hear tell them to reject the desire-gratification lifestyle, the guides are rejected one way or another. Rejecting the lack of adult guidance young people further seek desire-gratification whilst rejecting any form of adult control. This has got to be a recipe for social breakdown.

Meanwhile there is guidance all around, moral codes in our religions that are rejected, but more importantly guidance in Nature. Nature is now saying enough is enough as the planet is irreparably changed, perhaps permanently damaged. Adults reject what Nature tells us, and for most children brought up in cities Nature has little access. Let us hope that soon our adolescents will begin to hear the voice of Nature, as the adults cannot hear it.

Tags - QP Exam Centre
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Fragile Intellect and Bullying
Earlier I discussed the impact of western-style education on the development of an intellectual ego that has no base for understanding - Western Education - Hollow Core 18/07/07. In this and other blogs, different impacts of the intellectual ego on western society, and therefore the world, are discussed. Whilst the concept of Nature as part of Matriellez Ecosophy schools is much wider, it is this fundamental issue that at this stage of human development is most important to address.

But there are certain insights into the fragile intellect that can be considered in order to help understand the importance of the need to redress this educational inadequacy. The keyword here is fear, the fear the intellect has of being exposed. This fear pervades western society, and becomes objectified contemporarily as anti-terrorism, and previously "the reds under the bed" fear that dominated life for a quarter of a century causing much global hardship whilst filling the coffers of the Military Industrial Complex.

This fear creates a collective blindness. Instinctively these intellectual egos recognise the threat of awareness, the impact on their collective western lifestyle of such awareness, and the fear of the required change dominates. It has reached such a consistently high level that politicians misuse this fear to bolster their ratings by populist measures that appeal to this fear - anti-terror and race campaigns, at the same time adding to the profits of the speculators and transnationals that back them. Wars are fought to maintain the status quo that allows this intellectual ego to survive, and even those who do not directly benefit by living in these western societies allow their fear to dominate their global perspective.

The fragility of this ego is perceived by many at an early age but is not recognised as such. School bullying is now at epidemic proportions in the West. At the age of adolescence intellect moves people away from the viewpoint of the masses, moves students away from the Natural Path. Sadly there is an opposite reaction as discussed in the Hijack, in which non-intellectuals, rather than celebrating that part of their understanding that holds them to Nature, reject education as a whole. In the middle of this is bullying. Bullying has always been a school phenomenon. It is usually portrayed by intellectuals as physically-bigger boys picking on weaker boys, often intellectuals, for no reason. Whilst bullying is inexcusable, it would be better (more natural) if these intellectuals developed a backbone, and unconsciously part of the motivation for this bullying is an attempt to provide this backbone, Nature's way of addressing the imbalance. At the same time the bullying occurs as a recognition of the Hijack, and a sense of jealousy that at the end of their education these fragile intellects will become part of the fear-induced social infrastructure that propagates much of the inequalities in our society, inequalities that these bullies are subjected to.

The bullying does have one impact, it hardens the fear of these fragile intellects. Having been subjected to bullying which they consider irrational, they wish to isolate themselves from the bullying element. This initially shows itself as snobbery and aloofness, but later it is part of the fuel that creates social policy Throughout western society this social policy creates a two-tier society, and the rich send their children to private schools in the hope that bullying will not occur there. But Nature does not allow the fragile intellects to escape even there, but the bullying occurs in different ways - a curtain call to the notion that intellectual aggrandisement is not an appropriate form of education.

Tags - ND Curriculum Intellect sila rejected
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Teaching Appropriate Reason
Teaching appropriate reason was always a major excuse I gave for teaching maths, and with the repeated criticisms of intellect made in this blog and elsewhere it is perhaps proper to investigate again the meaning of what is appropriate reason.

First and foremost let me describe what I consider to be reason, it might also be what I consider as intellect - intelligence being clearly different in my view. Deduction - start from a particular axiom or insight and deduce other results. Induction - start with a result and determine that such a result will always occur - specifically referring here to the method of induction. Algebra is a useful symbolic process of reason as the symbolic use of letters to represent numbers enables us to determine results generally. The process of hypothesis and verification is a useful method of investigation, considering a possible result and determining a method of verification of this result.

Understanding how to perform the above intellectual skills, how to reason, is a worthwhile teaching objective, but perhaps an even better objective would be that of considering the limitations of reason and perhaps exposing misuse of the reasoning skills. At the level I taught these additional objectives were not appropriate.

In reality the teaching of reason was mostly the teaching of mimicry; here is one, do 10, and hopefully that would be enough to pass the exam. Sometimes the exams offered the challenge of attempting to understand the question, considering the context and abstracting an appropriate mathematical starting point. This undoubtedly required some form of insight, and was sadly lacking. I considered this shortcoming as primarily a lack of motivation or interest, together with an inability to concentrate.

However in the context of contemporary education such small inroads into what might be called proper knowledge was perhaps more than in other subject areas, as quite clearly the purpose of modern western education is to provide the component workers of contemporary capitalism - at all levels. As such knowledge and understanding of humanity is not a high priority - understanding the role and purpose of reason would be an integral part of that.

Unfortunately within the compartmentalisation that is academic knowledge, the function of reason as part of wisdom would be predicated on a sound basis of understanding nature, especially understanding virtue. Lacking these insights reason can often be used to misdirect appropriate investigation, and sadly an observation that I made whilst being a maths teacher was that investors often employed those qualified in maths. Some might see this as familiarity with numbers, being who I am I always saw the more nefarious side. I felt that the increasing intellectualisation brought about by the honing of reason enabled those concerned, the mathematically gifted, to dissociate from the more caring aspects of humanity. Although many mathematicians had a moral side, such mathematicians had the ability to ignore the virtue of nature. They were very capable of ignoring the consequences of their investments, with their job requiring a profit they were capable of producing that profit within the limitations imposed on them and their intellect dissociated them from some of the more inhumane results. As a mathematician myself I can see this as a particular mathematical gift, the ability to use the mathematical mind to compartmentalise and ignore what is not pertinent to the job - the profit-making.

This particular ability of mathematicians was something I was conscious of for a long time, I hope the warnings that came out as one of my many lectures reached fertile ground.

In choosing work there is very little choice. In western education there is not enough emphasis placed on pure creation, understanding insight at a young level. Given my abilities and duty as a teacher I would want to question involvement in maths but realistically there is no choice.

Tags - CP Hijack Bullying Intellect
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Cognitive Macrobiotic Development
It is first necessary to model what is developing within the mind-body continuum. Before manifestation there is the pre-mind or Kammic consciousness, and associated with this consciousness is an unformed spirit body, based on chakras and meridians. The term spirit has so many confusing connotations, so to avoid a terminological issue I will call this the Qi body. At some stage mind develops, and below is Encarta's description of Piaget's 4 stages of mental; development:-

In the sensorimotor stage, occurring from birth to age 2, the child is concerned with gaining motor control and learning about physical objects. In the preoperational stage, from ages 2 to 7, the child is preoccupied with verbal skills. At this point the child can name objects and reason intuitively. In the concrete operational stage, from ages 7 to 12, the child begins to deal with abstract concepts such as numbers and relationships. Finally, in the formal operational stage, ages 12 to 15, the child begins to reason logically and systematically.

In this discussion I will discuss the mind-body continuum as consisting of 3 elements, the physical body, the Qi body and the mind.

Throughout childhood the individual, consisting of Kammic consciousness and the mind-body continuum, develops through food and parental care. At this stage I have no issues with food preceding thought, and it is equally important to understand that in childhood the mind has not formed and therefore it is up to the parents to ensure that the child eats well in order for food to develop the optimum individual. As the children do not understand it is up to the parents to ensure proper development, and this is yet another reason why the development practices in the West where children make decisions without developed minds is just so unnatural.

Equally in childhood the Qi body develops again through the proper ingestion of food and physical development - exercise. It would be interesting to consider how Japanese and Chinese education trains the Qi body in order to consider what would be good education practice in these terms.

As to mental development, discussed in Matriellez' blog and throughout in the ideology of Matriellez' ecosophy schools, minds are trained in schools but when they become adult functioning minds is difficult to decide - differs with individuals. It has to be recognised that minds are not fully developed in schools, and therefore it is necessary to be careful when to allow adult decision-making when clearly the physical and Qi bodies are in ascendancy.

At some stage the physical body is considered to be adult, and concomitant with this is a recognition of adulthood in the Qi body and mind, although why that is the case has no basis in reason. Given this however, we reach a stage where the 3 elements are considered adult, and we therefore need to consider what could crassly be called adult maintenance:-

Now the physical body needs good food - the Natural Macrobiotic Diet, and it needs exercise.

The Qi body needs energetic development and development of the chakras. In terms of energetic development and the body's exercise, this development can be fulfilled with Tai Chi or yoga, or other martial arts which fulfil the same purpose. Yoga helps the energetic body but perhaps specific energetic exercises such as Qi Gung should added to a yoga routine. Chakra development can be fulfilled through chakra meditation - see this page for a description of a chakra meditation.

The mind cannot function well unless it is clear. Is the mind cleared just through eating of good food? The mind needs meditation to maintain its natural clear state, rather than the confusing swirling state of most people's spinning minds.

Integrating the continuum. The 3 elements of the mind-body need to be integrated to function with the one purpose of returning to the oneness. This involves the two stage process of uniting with the Kammic consciousness and then with the Oneness of Nature. In the last blog entry I referred to the Do-In book that describes meditation the macrobiotic way. I don't know this meditation but am happy with the notion that Vipassana fits the bill.

In conclusion I can accept that food precedes thought in childhood, but once adulthood has been reached a different stage of development has been reached. At those stages it is perhaps better to introduce exercise that develops the physical and Qi body such as Tai Chi or Yoga with Qi Gung. Chakra meditation can develop the chakras, and then Vipassana for dealing with mind, integration and returning to the Oneness of Nature.

Tags - QP ND reason maths
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Trust
I have just started Zukav's Heart of the Soul again to help deal with the emotion that is more apparent now I am doing Chi Gung. What is fascinating is that I forgot trust but remembered it as peace. Breathe in love and trust, breathe out fear and doubt. Although he says anger is part of fear and doubt, my own version of breathing in love and peace and breathing out anger and hate is so very different. Understanding that difference could help but it is not what I want to look at here.

Where is trust in education? For me the love is clear, education is a significant part of love. If a parent loves a child, that parent wants the child to be well educated. Usually the parent accepts that well educated is the same as educated as society provides (wherever that society is), it is however up to the educationalists to determine what is appropriate as education in society. In the UK since 1979 that has definitely not been socially acceptable. Thatcher's Saatchi and Saatchi analysts determined that she should want the votes of the good parents as opposed to just being the votes of business people. So to bring in the good parents they advised she target education, and so began a process of government control of education, not for the purpose of education but for the purpose of garnering votes.

Now this clearly damaged the vocation of the teachers for whom winning the votes for the prevailing political incumbents had little to do with the love or education that hopefully inspired their vocation. This politically-imposed damage resulted in an increased predilection for power inherent in all humans, and so outside the classroom became the main focus of teachers. Combining the appropriation of educational direction by the politicians, their partial handing of that direction to parents, and the politically-engendered redirection of teacher vocation into career advancement has completely broken the trust between parents and teachers essential to drive good education.

This breaking of trust is significant for me on a personal level, and is a reality that has given me conflict all my life. And that is because I kept hold of the vocation, but how could I not and be true to myself? By holding to education even more so as I grew older had to bring me more and more into conflict with the careerism because it highlighted that the careerist were not there for education and the parents were looking for education. If all the teachers were towing the careerist line then the parents had no choice, but if the parents saw teachers for whom vocation mattered then this brought into question the position of the careerists. As a consequence the careerists were forced to sit on the educationalists.

What made this matter far worse was that as I grew older I accepted the curriculum. As an educationalist the curriculum has to suck, what has the bunch of mind-filling subjects got to do with real education; everyone knows that. But if an educationalist can use the vehicle of these subjects to create education then that makes them a bigger threat. I am sure this can be done far more than it is, and is a good way forward for the reclaiming of educational ground. But in doing so a battle is created.

This brings me back to personal trust. How could I have trust when every step in my chosen profession had to be a battle? In the latter stages of my career I resigned myself to the classroom caring little for professional advancement. In so doing I reached HOD as I became focussed on improving the subject, something the careerists would want. Yet it was double-edged because those careerists did not want others to have too much success so they applied restrictive measures. These policies of restriction had little to do with education but more to do with their power, their control and the necessity of presenting themselves in a good light so that parents did not see that their careers had nothing to do with education.

So in this battleground a teacher is to live trustingly. How can they? Even if they understand and accept that there is no need for career, how can their love be expressed whilst in so doing they become restricted by the powers of the careerists?

Understanding this means that I have to have trust issues, and then when you add in my father it is not surprising I forget that Zukav's second keyword is trust. I can trust Nature but how do I trust people?

And then relationships. By choosing love in education how does that sit with women? After giving up on the cosmic dream, relationship became more pragmatic. But in that pragmatism what was then offered, a home environment in which love was offered to education especially as I never desired my own children. Even though I accepted that a relationship could be functional I never accepted the inherent conflicts that had to occur. What was the function of the relationship? There was some vague notion of provider, but provision of what? For me the provision was secondary, and yet in that function the woman has to seek greater emphasis for the provision either for themselves or for the home, either of which was I greatly interested in. I sought a minimal contentment in the relationship whereas for the partner there had to be greater emphasis. Understandable there was never peace because there was never any way I wholly offered it.

So on a personal level I could never achieve trust because I never offered the conditions that could lead to trust. But if I am not seeking a relationship and if I am not now working, trust can flourish. With my lack of involvement why can I not trust people because nothing of what I stand for brings in conflict. I have always seen personal power as a source of the conflict and the lack of trust. This is not the case. I failed to recognise that in the involvement that I took on that power became a means of conflict, not intentionally, but as a by-product. People could never trust me because I never played by careerist rules, and they could never understand someone who didn't - as the Waynes had the same rhetoric and presumed it was used for the same purpose - career.

Now that I have no need to fear trust as there is no inherent conflict then I can become more trusting. Just accept people for who they are. You are not an educator in personal relationships as no-one has appointed you. If they assign you the role then practise it. Once you try to educate you create conflict. If you want to be an educator your desire creates a problem so don't educate unless asked. Then people can trust you, and that means you can trust them. Wait to be asked control desire, and trust will out. If Nature wants to use your knowledge then Nature will give the opportunity. Trust in Nature and control your desire.

Tags - ND Zandtao Piaget
Theme - Careerism, Profiteering
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More on Education Dynamics

The dynamics I am referring to is the balance between education and profiteering and careerism, and the stress that occurs between them.

The next issue that increases the stress is self-righteousness. Once an individual sees education as the pure raison d'etre, then the careerism, either institutional or fed by profiteering, places pressures on the educationalist. How does the educationalist respond? Ideally such pressures should have no impact because of non-attachment but in my case that didn't happen. The conflicts fed upon themselves and conflict became a continued part of my life. And this conflict was fed by self-righteousness. The very educationalism became a fortress to fight the legions of careerists who had given up on their own but whose guilt festered and attacked.

The big question is can the self-righteousness not occur? The dynamics of guilt must exist as those in education have to see that career in education cannot function as a business model without being detrimental to the students. Compromise usually helps these people but then they expect compromise in educationalists; when that doesn't happen the guilt of compromise is directed outwards. How are these attacks then defended? A self (the ego) appropriates the attack and feeds off it, more attacks produce a bigger ego. The ego sees self-justification in being an entrenched self-righteous educationalist, and it is hard to see how such self-righteousness cannot occur.

In my own case it contributed greatly to my stress. When attacked the self-righteousness became a beacon of justification that refuelled and prepared me for future defence. Hours of meditation always ended up with the frustration of being right, especially in China; the meditation helped assuage this self of rightness but it was so hard not to find an increase in stress - and in China it gave me sleep and headache issues - especially with the China syndrome (forgotten the word I used for this for the strangeness of living in China and the difficulty of acculturalising).

I can still feel that stress inside me after two years of retirement. And it shows in professionalism with my token language teaching. When the kids didn't turn up, Sai came and there was a misunderstanding, I became professionally concerned. There was emotion in my stomach (GERD), and there was the emotional neutrality in my head. In my head emotions were in conflict. I wanted to be angry and do something about it, but years had taught me to control the emotions leading to this neutral emotion of inaction. The mind then processed this neutrality leading eventually to a response that was professionally acceptable although not necessarily wise. I made an attempt to solve it through asking Gik to phone - although she didn't understand it. And only the next morning did I see that trust was the issue. I needed to trust in the Dhamma even if the parent and the child did not understand. Whatever happened happened. I was not at fault although I can never explain anything to Sai as she doesn't understand - she is only 7. If there is a long-term problem the Dhamma will direct me, trust it. Of course I couldn't do that at the time because of my self-righteous professionalism.

How do I deal with the self-righteousness? And the answer I think is that I can't. The only choice is non-attachment to caring, I always knew that but was never able to apply it - always ending up stressed. Do your best and move on, I always knew that. Kids like the Boss don't know me now. I fought hard for her (for me and my self-righteousness), but she doesn't keep in contact. Obviously learning will have occurred and that is enough but somehow there is a self who wants more - maybe flattery or "you made a difference". How important is that self?

In truth once in the situation I know that at the moment the pattern would repeat itself, and self-righteousness would be the winner. How to learn from it?

Tags - ND CP Sila Trust ask
Theme - Profiteering, Careerism
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Home Education and Community
In the recent blog on home I put forward the insight that the home should be the focus of attention as to the purpose of society; this is in line with evolution - if we are to evolve as a species bringing up of children has to be the priority of society. As an educationalist I have always believed this but I have not placed the emphasis on the home. I have always sought trust between parents, teachers and students, but that trust happened rather than being built. It happened if the parents trusted me as a teacher, and I always sought to deserve the trust of the parents by being a caring teacher. But that is not enough. Look at the success the Tories have had with their political ploy of parental involvement in school governors. The effect has been primarily detrimental but it demonstrates the desire of parents for involvement. Quite rightly I have always said that the teachers are the experts, and therefore need to be responsible for educational content. But that position is also false, when are teachers ever responsible now? It is always politicians and exam boards who control what is taught. This of course is what is wanted as powers-that-be wish to maintain the status quo, and they create an education system to maintain that. Parents just feel powerless as the system is doing nothing for them or their children, so they react by meddlesome involvement and react badly to the parent-teacher partnership giving the teacher problems because the teacher is the front end of the system that gives them so little. Perhaps all teachers should give up teaching and schools employ pretty receptionists whose full time job is to divert parental anger.

The following has to be an idealistic description because we are a long way from the home being the political unit of importance, all they are now is an exploited consumer unit. So what must education do to fit in with this evolutionary imperative of focusing social attention on facilitating the home as the primary target of governance. As mentioned above the biggest issue is trust. The parents don't trust the teachers, quite rightly because the teachers are not in control.

Previously I have recognised that in this area of distrust any teachers have subverted their educational direction into career, and they have been able to be careerists because the institutions are large enough for there to be a career structure. This aspect of schools is a source of many problems. The size of the school allows students to "disappear", their behaviour is out of control as only the "stars", the serious troublemakers, are recognised by all the teachers. Diversity of curriculum is enabled by large schools, but more could be gained by schools being smaller. What if a school were only to be responsible for 20 kids? And this school was in the community, was part of the community, and the community included the teacher(s) and their children. The parents and teachers would be neighbours, and there would be some conflict but because it was community there would need to be community resolution. Maybe the schools would be houses scattered around an estate, each school being an age and the kids changed school every year. This would not be an issue because the schools would be on the estate/in the community, and already known. The first problem to this is resources. In current large schools there are a diversity of resources because there are many children to cater for. Labs especially are an issue. Obviously these home schools cannot have labs, maybe labs could exist in a wider community and the students visit the labs. Depending on the age of the students, maybe the kids, the whole 20 kids, visit the labs one or two days a week. In this day and age these community schools need computers and television, and curriculum diversity can be designed through these aids, but up to a certain age these "home schools" can satisfy.

Because the schools are small they become homely. Parental involvement would be encouraged because home is the priority, and if the home is traditional (role-wise) then mothers would be contributing. Firstly they would want to because the home is being empowered. Secondly they would not be out at work as being a mother would be the primary job in society. Hearing this single mothers would scream, but of course single mothers would not be the tremendous problem that it now is in the West. The home and family is the priority, and therefore breaking up that family would become a social "crime". Family creation or marriage would become a more serious step than it is now. Marriage would not be a social occasion but would be recognised as the beginning of the evolutionary process of the next generation of the species. If life creates those single mothers, through death sadly, then the state would support the single mother to enable her to bring up the children without the necessity of work, as bringing up children and not earning money in production is the social priority.

The home schools would grow as homes, community pride would move schooling away from being institutions. Parents, teachers and children all would see the home schools as a second home, a place that is theirs. If it is your home you look after it, if within your home school people are not looking after it then social pressure is applied to help all look after it. If a child has an issue at school the community will want to help, if that means the community helps the parent sobeit. If such help is beyond the remit of the community then governance aid will be sought, but it will be there as the primary function of governance is to aid the family unit.

As an outline this is the home school scheme, small schools are beautiful to paraphrase E F Schumaker. The schools are not currently practical because of the major change in social education required. In truth it is unlikely to happen as there is too much power invested in the status quo for people in education outside the classroom and book companies who thrive off the carrion of our destitute education system. However it could happen privately.

But there is one major issue the above has not addressed, and that is specialisation and expertise. Some primary teachers would balk at this but I believe it would be possible to use such home schools until the kids are 14. This would require a level of resourcing through media for delivering higher level concepts but it raises an important question that I have raised elsewhere on this site. Education should not be concerned with accumulation of facts, but educating a conceptual approach. A teacher aware in such a process would find it easy to move between disciplines. As a maths teacher I would never have the skills as an artist but until 14 I could provide resources that would enable the child to develop themselves. It would be better I were artistic but there is more to be gained in the community of the home school than there is in the expertise at this age. In creativity expertise is better at an early age, but in other subject areas specialisation is not as important as proper conceptual learning. A well balance child mentally can soon develop specific skills after 14, whilst attending a subject-oriented school. I envisage a possible problem of size in these subject-oriented schools, but if smallness is considered a priority in terms of a home-centric approach this can be avoided by making subject specialist peripatetic moving from post-14 community school to school.

With this not being practical in the current political and educational climate I want next to consider the impact of this home priority within Ecosophy schools.

Tags - CP careerism profiteering self-righteousness
Theme - Home schools
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Dialectics of Education
This came out in a conversation that was otherwise difficult. The important thing to consider when examining whether something is functioning well is "what is happening?", and not "what in theory should be happening?" In education we have a high proportion of vested interests who reinforce the view of "what should be happening?" and few who discuss "what is happening?"

"What should be happening?" The vast majority of students are failing exams. Students should be passing but education is not quite right. Somehow the system isn't quite working because we as teachers want the students to pass, but social factors prevent this. But not only do the education professionals want the students to pass but they also want them to get a broad-based education that is meaningful in life. We are sorry that so many students drop out especially from the minorities, and wish we could do something to give them a meaningful education.

"What is happening?" The vast majority of students are failing exams. As this has been going on for so long this has got to be what is wanted. It makes sense because in the corporations there are a few jobs for the educated, primarily saved for the rich classes, and many jobs that require some level of education but a low level. Somewhere Henry Ford said something like the purpose of education was to make the masses educated enough for the factories. One important factor in the working classes is to make them want to work so in the education institutions they see enough of what money can buy so they then want it. And therefore they want a job that is wage-slave labour. Failure in education is not a design fault but a design success. If education was equal opportunities there would be corporate black faces - not a reality executives really want. Less able black students see the way the system is stacked, see that a lifetime of education won't change things so they don't bother. They then become a criminal underclass whose main function is to maintain black people as second-class citizens, but secondarily they also provide rich whites with their recreation drugs.

An integral part in accepting these dialectics is to have an understanding of intellectualism. Teachers are intellectual being primarily successful within education. With intellect comes arrogance, it is part of the training process, so in their arrogance they cannot accept they have been conned. What is the con? That education is designed to make students aware, leading out, producing a majority of failures and maintaining the corporate status quo is not what is meant toi happen.

What happens to teachers when they get into the profession? Initially they struggle as teaching is difficult to begin with, and once they have begun to understand what is actually happening they have been sucked in. Classroom teachers are powerless to make overall changes, so they recognise that they have to climb the ladder to improve what is happening. But in order to climb the ladder they have to accept compromise, and with compromise comes the trap of career. Money buys the house and the house becomes the family trap. The higher you go the more entrenched the system is so that moving up the ladder does not bring with it the power to change. By this time position has captured them, and this keeps their mouths shut. And in all of this is the teacher's intellectual ego which cannot accept that their whole profession is functioning as society wants. So they persist with the illusion that education is to make students aware, the efforts they make to educate and include suit the design of the corporations who want to include more people to work as wage-slave labour. So the conned intellectuals are an integral lynch-pin of the status quo.

In the end people who speak out are ostracised, and there is good effective social control.

Tags - ND Home
Theme - failure
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Dear CM,
CM Yogi is an educationalist in Nepal. Soon after retiring I came across his work in Nepal, and he has kept in touch. At one stage he intimated I might choose to work there as a volunteer. He promotes the notion that education should have value as a component, but to what extent I don't know. It would be interesting to find out, and in the back of my mind maybe volunteering could be a possibility. But at the moment, no; I wrote him this to explain.

Dear CM,

How are you?

I have received with gratitude all of the below. They have remained unanswered as I have been unsure what to write.

Two things definitely lie at the basis of our communication - my interest in Nepal and my interest in education, a third might also be in the background - possibly volunteering.

In terms of the first two I enjoy your emails with information on the school, but it is the third I wish now to discuss. The longer I have retired the less I wish to return to the classroom, yet this has little to do with teaching. It concerns institutions, and the effect that working in institutions has had on my psyche and my personal health - more than two years after retiring after releasing much stress I am now going through a difficult time with my throat, a throat that was damaged primarily in interactions with students. But that is not to blame them but to recognise the institutional and social factors that prevail leading to difficult student interactions.

But it is not primarily as a personal issue that school institutions are extremely difficult, what about the institutional issues based on the egos of teachers themselves? Of its modality education is giving to children, isn't this sufficient in its worth? Yet teaching participants in school institutions don't always see this as their value, and instead of controlling their own egos they allow them to thrive and much that is difficult in education stems from these egos. Whilst one should not expect teachers to be perfect human beings - and as such egoless, teachers are extremely lucky, because their profession itself can bring with it the endless joy of the good teaching of children. Many forget this aspect, and their ego drives them into institutional competition. Their egos measure themselves not in terms of their value in the classroom but their role in the institution. This following is no reflection on yourself as we have never met, but I know of headteachers whose style of running the school could be described as nothing less than presidential, an approach that is totally out of place when measured against the true value of the institution - the education of children.

I now draw a caveat in my above observations. They are based on my own experience, and that experience has been based in the English state system and private schools elsewhere in the world, but all working towards a typical western education model of training towards a business society through a curriculum of examinations.

However in truth I would fear for the existence of these teacher egos elsewhere in education systems. This is based on a fundamental flaw within the education system as a whole, the failure to address the understanding of mind. For most of us, where there is mind there is ego. Unless there are measures to counteract ego on a personal level through meditation and on an institutional level through awareness, ego will prevail and show itself through institutional weakness.

Such egos are engendered, apparently necessarily, as a by-product of the traditional education system. An obvious example of this is the ego generated in students who are successful in exams; that becomes a measure of their worth, and on leaving the institution they have an inflated view of their own success. How to deal with that one problem alone is very difficult, but how often is the problem even addressed? In terms of teachers they have primarily reached a level of success in qualifying as a teacher, and so they have gone through a process of ego-creation which then transfers to the institution they start to work in.

In the traditional schools teachers carry titles as badges of honour, and whilst the roles such titles perform are integral to the school the ego attached is definitely of detriment. Yet the career structure is measured in terms of these titles, and the egos of teachers often measure themselves in terms of career and the money associated with that career.

What then happens to someone who does not measure themselves by the egos of the institution, by the same measure of ego as the fellow teachers? What happens to the teacher who measures only by the education of the children? Conflict. One might hope that because such a teacher is not interested in the arena of ego as demonstrated by others, they would be allowed to teach unheeded - after all they are not in competition. But sadly egos are not renowned for such common-sense behaviour. The ego sees this teacher as a threat because the ego feels undermined. Firstly the ego has to deal with the guilt, the guilt that underneath every teacher knows their focus should be education yet they have opted for the field of their ego. Secondly the ego then feels insecure because their position could be threatened by the example of the education focus of this teacher. Whilst such egos use the rhetoric of education focus and caring for the children, in practice these are often the use of words as rungs on the ladder of career. As such the education teacher often becomes undermined by institutional decisions that have little to do with education and more to do with the egos creating difficulties. Conflict. At the same time this conflict can then introduce its own egotistical backlash in said teacher enhancing the conflict in an unhealthy way; such a difficult problem.

So at present I do not envisage a return to the educational institution and classroom.

But you once said to me that I was lucky to know who I was - an educationalist. And I do know that is who I am. I worked long years in traditional education learning what that means, and since I have worked to give back - My website. Whilst the building of this Natural education approach continues, I hope that somewhere the ideas contained therein might be of value somewhere. For myself I have much to learn about such ideas, mainly in application, hopefully one day I will be able to advise on such.

I wish you every luck in your ventures, and hope that we can still stay in touch.

Hope you are keeping well, All the Best Bill Z/Matriellez

Tags - CP careerism exams self-realisation con
Theme - Institution, ego
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Matrielling
Well that was a difficult title to find - changed after two years, what does it mean? It started as the wheel of Samsara coming from the Buddhist notion of Nirvana, and that we are all involved in samsara the cycle of birth and death until we can break out of that cycle and end suffering by achieving Nirvana. By recognising that we are on this wheel we can start to extricate ourselves from the process. By so doing we so ease the burden of life because we don't get trapped by all the delusions that life presents us, and we can develop a lifestyle that can lead to Nirvana.

Now this is Buddhist terminology, and as such is certainly not going to be accepted in western education, nor am I suggesting it should be. Nor am I proposing Buddhist dogma be taught in western schools, Buddhist dogma is for Buddhist families and Buddhist societies, and in terms of the home-evolution principle should be decided through the home and direction of the parents.

But the educational principle that can be taught in schools is awareness of the delusions, for education I am going to call this process - Matrielling. This is a significant principle because of course it goes against the prevailing western political system of capitalism yet teachers do of occasion resist this prevailing juggernaut. The keynote that can be introduced is the notion of happiness, what makes us happy? Happiness is part of the hidden curriculum, and it is fundamentally understood through this hidden curriculum that we will be happy if we grow up to live in a good home and have a successful job. Of itself this is a good approach in schools as good home and successful jobs would fit in with the home-evolution principle but the problem lies in how society then interprets a good home and successful job. And that problem lies in the unwritten notion that the successful job is so much more important, and then the problem is further worsened because successful jobs are seen in terms of status and power within a capitalist system. This is not simply an attack on capitalism for what the political system does to global society, but it is an attack of focus. The focus of the capitalist system is on the power and status within society, and has limited focus on the family and the bringing up of next generation's children - home-evolution principle. This is not a happy focus.

The hidden curriculum of happiness presents the delusion that happiness can be obtained through the accumulation of personal wealth - through the purchase of material wealth. Whilst the focus of this personal wealth is usually a house, it is the possessions in and of the house that are targeted as happiness, rather than the love and joy that comes from bringing up children - the home-evolution principle. We become deluded with happiness in a social context. Fame and notoriety - status - are the delusions that children clamour for, the film star, the pop idol, even the footballer, and none of these images are based around happiness. They are based on success within a social context, famous in movies, a famous footballer winning a title, being famous for performing on stage. Whilst there is a certain amount of acumen required to achieve these status positions, it is not always this acumen that puts people in these positions - in the case of movie stars and pop idols it is often packaging - marketing. Top flight footballers do require skill to become top-flight - and dedicated training, but there is no notion of happiness per se. They are deemed to be happy because they are famous and winning titles.

Examination of such lifestyles - such fame, often shows sorrow, with accompanying addiction to legal and illegal drug as well as sexual errancy. As in all walks of life some of these people eventually do find a home, following the home-evolution principle, some even find happiness in a truer form, but this is not the norm. And once these people become of a certain age they become hangers-on to what made them famous, sometimes lucratively, more often living a life of memory and dissatisfaction.

Recognising delusion is the first part of this process of recognising the awareness of the wheel. Secondly recognising that happiness does not come from these delusions is a significant part of the process. Demonstrating that happiness comes from being in a good home (a good home practises the home-evolution principle) is an important step. But there is another step to understanding this happiness, and that is the understanding of joy - the joy of fulfilment in a good home, the joy of fulfilling one's role in Nature, the spiritual joy that comes from not being caught up in all the false delusions that society attracts us to.

This education principle - educating for happiness - is difficult to introduce because the teachers themselves are often caught up in the delusions of social happiness. And how can you convey "educating the true meaning of happiness" when you don't believe it? Of course that can't be done. In the same breath you can ask how can you educate for the recognition of the awareness of the wheel when you don't believe it?

Very difficult. I have found some level of happiness through my journey and through not being caught up in the delusions that attracted me when younger and which hold some that are older. I was even lucky when 23 to hit bottom and find myself in part on my journey, and yet up until now I was not happy because the delusions mattered. I never sought a home so I never found happiness in a true relationship. I never understood that true happiness came from a journey that was not caught up in delusions, however I gained some happiness because of the underlying joy connecting with my journey had given me. But how I wish I could have known what were the delusions. In fact in some ways my awareness of some of the delusions made my attachment to other delusions far stronger producing greater unhappiness. Being aware of the journey when 23 made me realise that life was a search for happiness but not recognising all the delusions that search for happiness got me trapped in the delusions I didn't recognise - a major one, a search for a relationship that was not based on the home-evolution principle.

Unfortunately also tied up in these delusions is the need for money - survival. We are required to interact in some way with society in order to pay for living. In some ways I was fortunate because of learning of the journey when 23. I sought a job that gave me some happiness - I was a teacher (and am but not working - retired). But inherent in that happiness was all the sadness I experienced as a result of the way teaching has been ruined - by careerism and profiteering.

In Thailand they have buat, young men spend three months in a monastery when they come of age. At least these young men will have been exposed to the principle of Nature described above - the awareness of the wheel. Whilst many understandably do not understand what this means they have at least been exposed to it, so that if when older they become aware that they want true happiness - not the false happiness in delusions they know where to look.

Home-evolution schools, or Ecosophy schools, will begin to convey this principle of Nature, but what about western education so steeped in educating for unhappiness? How do we being there?

It would have to be a slow process. To begin this process there needs to be a promotion of these principles somewhere - teacher training? Not the desire to teach Buddhism, but recognising that western schools are educating for unhappiness and begin to educate for happiness.

My home-evolution principle is the waste of time my own delusions have caused me, and hopefully find a way so that those delusions can be seen though at the right time.

Tags - cp careerism ego
Theme - HEP, HES, happiness
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Enabling Love of KuanYin - signposts of Nature
What I have been searching for in my educational understanding is that education provides the signposts of Nature. By this I mean that if we are beginning to awaken to an understanding of life, of purpose, then we have received sufficient knowledge of Nature that Nature will take us onto the Path. Where does this knowledge start to come from but a mother's love - the emissary of KuanYin's compassion.

What does this emissary do? Through her love she imparts soul-sila, and this soul-sila grows into the sila that is the morality and responsibility needed for good living and governance. This emissary is the link to Nature, if the home is true it provides the nurturing of an understanding of Nature. The emissary is self-less in that she exists to bring up the children, and the society that functions well is the one for which this emissary-function is prioritised.

Education cannot provide a mother's love, society cannot either. Education cannot provide the signposts of Nature, for without the love and the soul-sila humanity cannot connect to that Nature. It is this lack of connection that leaves people wandering around looking for Paths. Education's role is to support the role of the emissary of Nature, and explicitly make children aware that the priority of life is the home and that governance needs to be geared to the enabling of the home.

Nature herself can provide this love. Throughout life we can learn of Nature, and through this learning discover the Path that She provides, but this Path is simplified with the love of the emissary.

Education needs to squash the egos of men whose posturing makes them evaluate life in terms of their social power and material possessions, their view of the home as an expression of ego, their view that life is about social position. Education needs to guide men into governance that prioritises the evolution of the home, and into recognising that their role is to support the emissary. The compassion of men enables the mother's love to suffuse the home, and these selfless actions of men then act as a role model for future evolution.

Instead male ego has attracted female ego into the same rat race. Understandably feminists demanded equality in the workplace lessening the importance of the role of women in the home. Education needs to counter this misdirection of feminism. It needs to show women and men that the mother's role is that of the greatest honour, and that women scrambling around competing in the ego environment of society is damaging to Nature and evolution. It is retaining and returning to this mother role that Nature was asking feminism to do, but because of miseducation the women leading the movement had lost their roots - even their desire to bear children and were lost in the world of social ego.

Where does spirituality fit into this? Women as they get older help younger women bring up their children, sadly in some cultures they replace the young women as mothers. As for the selfless men who have given their lives for their home and their children they develop spirituality and understanding enabling them to be elders and impart that selflessness to the young people of the next generation. Respect for elders who have brought up families is integral to a Natural way of life, and with our "successful" elders being those who have rejected Nature and sought merit in social status this natural respect has disappeared increasing social breakdown.

Re-evaluating the importance of the home in evolution is a major task of education and those who are aware.

Tags - QP matrielling happiness
Theme - Kuan Yin, signposts
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On overseas teaching
In an email to a friend I began discussing the nature of overseas schools and a comparison with teaching in the UK. Here is the excerpt:-

It is difficult to decide why UK teaching is so awful, and then to decide where is the best place to teach. Working in so many different schools gives me a different perspective. Conditions of service in the UK are generally better. They are regulated and as such generally makes things better except when you have heads like yours and my Brighton head. Overseas schools have no such regulation, and so it is up to the head themselves. This was typified in Botswana where the quality of heads was extremely variable as you know. For most of the time I had a good head for the kids but bad for personnel management. However his personnel management was good for Tswana as he just told them what to do in a dictatorial fashion - most liked that. In my last year or so some guy just ran the school down, and I left before disruption really set in. Overseas schools, national and international, are usually as erratic as this except for the ever-present profit motive. I have always claimed that a good educationalist and the profit motive are not at odds, as a good educationalist will provide the exam results that will bring in the school fees. Unfortunately most overseas schools take a short term view of profits, and become penny-pinching thus limiting the educationalist.

My best teaching situation was in China because the kids wanted to learn so much, but it was ruined by that English depressive. Typically British, the UK teachers became obsequious, and the atmosphere in the staffroom became divided and very embittered. In the end I couldn't stay in the staffroom even though it cost me time. I was lucky for this as half way through the year the teaching area was moved away from the admin area and staff room, and a small room was put aside for coffee; I used to stay there all the time. As you know I was sacked because the boss had seeded my destruction with the management although after two weeks he himself was sacked. I see this scenario as extreme but typical of English people in teaching, and describe it as exporting the teaching problems of the UK internationally. Unfortunately much international education wants the English qualifications so these people are wanted - although in truth I think their divisive attitudes are tolerated but not wanted.

In my last year in Nigeria Englishness became a problem again because the head brought in "watch-your-back" UK practices and imposed them on an unwilling staff. Their standard complaint to me was "why are we doing this we are not teaching the kids?" And they were right, teaching in the UK is about controlling the students rather than teaching the subject, and although many teachers do their best UK students' disruptive attitudes dominate. Getting away from this is a major benefit in teaching overseas.

But not all kids in these overseas schools are serious. In the Middle East I taught spoilt brats who were going to get through whatever, so avoid National schools if possible.

The schools with the best reputations tend to have the UK teachers and UK management, and bring with them UK problems - teacher stress caused by the unnecessariness of UK teachers. This unnecessariness, typical of your art teacher, is so oppressive, and makes life so awful in UK schools. My Brighton school was actually good for this because all the staff were against the head, and against the changes that Thatcher and Baker were bringing in - I was there in the late 80's just before Botswana. This anti-ness brought the teachers together, and so there was less of the teacher unnecessariness that characterises UK teaching. I saw this unity in adversity in Oman as well where everyone was against the owner and his lackey head. This led to strength in the staffroom, and, in retrospect, one of my better staff working environments - sadly in Oman the students were also disruptive.

As a general rule in the classroom teachers from the UK are the best, although they are going downhill a bit because of the paperwork that many now believe is necessary - emperor's new clothes now everyone is doing it they all believe it is OK. This quality is because they have learnt good skills from dealing with obnoxious kids, and they are not reliant on prescriptive textbooks (like American teachers), a reliance which does not give teaching skills. However if there is English management then bad UK oppressive practices follow.

Overseas schools are better than UK schools as a rule. Despite the unregulated management being worse, the staff have more character and are more adaptable - making the move overseas saying a lot. The best school is not a type but is found by luck rather than judgement. A "good school" is not always the best to work in as the management might have brought in all the bad UK practices, making the job long arduous and unnecessary like UK schools. Maybe a small school in Africa could be a good place - Kenya or Malawi?, but small schools can be worse if they are run by crazy owners like my school in Lagos. There was a tell-tale sign at the interview, I was interviewed by the owner's son and the Deputy Head; owner-involvement is always bad especially in the Third World. Third World owners are in it for the profit, and that profit does not have a long-term perspective just short-term penny-pinching.

If I were to try again I would look for a small school, and hope that conditions are good. Maybe word of mouth could give you that school but I was recommended to my job in Bahrain by an erstwhile friend. He had gained promotion in the school, but I couldn't work there because I could not accept being told by the kids what to do. The school had 50% staff turnover.

Tags - QP love compassion home ego
Theme -
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Staff Development Letter
This letter was never sent but illustrates a few thoughts on staff development.

Dear Friend,

How are you?

Sorry we were not able to get together, maybe another time.

Your project sounds very interesting and made me think. Firstly if you have several minute maybe you would consider this question:-

I think your retirement is far more active than mine, in fact you have said that you work harder now you have retired. From your description on the phone and what I would surmise the task of setting up the office again must be arduous. How did you find getting back into it? Very stressful?

In my own case I suspect getting back into anything would be far more arduous as my activity is limited now - intentionally. However I often feel I could have a contribution to make. Sadly the biggest thing I learnt in teaching was how far teaching is from good education. My best compromise was actually to concentrate on providing exam passes, and leave the theoretical educational considerations as the rationale for why this strategy is most appropriate in the circumstances - simple yet deep and complex depending how far you go.

However in line with Matriellez educational theory I would actually like to be involved in some form of Natural Path school or Ecosophy school. The real answer to that lies in appropriate macro-approach ie school backers and management are interested in applying such an approach, but then the micro approach is far more important - what happens on the ground. Having been involved in delivering staff development programmes for much of my career I have learnt that much of the traditional staff development was a complete waste. It was often token, and I can only think of one circumstance where the programme was in any way successful - and in my view that was completely negative (see below).

The best chance of getting something going was when I was in Nigeria, and illustrates much of what I believe is important about staff development. When I arrived I asked for a tour of the maths department and was taken to an empty classroom. I then asked to be taken to my HOD office, and was told there wasn't one. If that wasn't enough in the first staff room the exam results were discussed. There was one GCSE pass and no GCE passes - I am not sure how many kids maybe 20 in total. So there was no education it was just the owner getting money and giving nothing.

The head of school was also new and was cooperative, so I managed to get a maths office and corridor. My teachers cared for the kids and their education but were completely disorganised, and when I had my first holiday at Xmas I went shopping in Bangkok and bought them both teacher files that they had to bring to department meetings. I started them on a small amount of paperwork what I would describe as essential planning and evaluation of lessons but nothing like the bureaucratic mess that British teachers' paperwork is exporting to the world. I looked at it as the minimal of what an experienced teacher does when they teach - know approx what they are going to teach and think about how they could have improved it before the next lesson. Because my staff were not doing this (just doing the next page in the book) I asked them to write it down - and they did. Contrast that with what happened in my second year. An ignorant arrogant English career teacher jumped into being head when offered. He got completely turned around by the owner and ruined the school and she by-passed him by Easter. He introduced various of the non-educational systems that prevail in English education such as unmerited accolades for students, and for the staff he introduced a heavy commitment to paperwork. The teachers saw the direction, did all the paperwork and stopped teaching - the results showed accordingly; they repeatedly spoke to me saying that the head was not trying to teach.

This school would have been my best opportunity to create a good staff development environment. Many of the staff complimented me on my work with my department, and I knew I had their trust if I were able to work with more. But in teaching much staff development is tagged on to the teachers' workload so it is not worked on enthusiastically - the more work you did on development the more work you made for yourself. The staff development was not integrated into daily teaching, and often bore no relationship to what is being taught in the classroom. I know the owner would have insisted that staff development would be an add-on so it was a non-starter.

Let me examine the negative "success" model I referred to earlier. Back in the 80s the then new Thatcher government first established that education was a major vote-winner. They started on a programme of disenfranchising teachers and centralising policy. One aspect of doing this was that they established "innovative" directions from Whitehall, and then offered career salary points to those who took up these directives. As a result the careerists saw their way to the top and jumped onto this. Teachers in general knew that these initiatives were political, mostly non-educational sound bites and red herrings. But programmes were introduced that cemented central power and moved direction away from the occasional erstwhile educational initiative. Careerists were bought and paid for so an initiative happened.

To conclude with relevance to what I am mulling over now. I sometimes feel I would like to be involved in "Matriellez" education practice. To do this I would have to earn the trust of teachers and be an expert from outside. The best way to earn their trust is to be one of them and that means I would have to work again. And I don't think I could - too much effort.

Not sure you are interested in these ramblings but they came about because of your job - so this email is your fault!!

Tags - CP change staff development
Theme -
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