New Age Schooling

Swami Muktananda Saraswati

Student riots and teachers' strikes over the last decade have made it all too obvious that there is a drastic need for educational reform. Many blame it on the system which crushes the ideals of student and teacher alike. Students are more likely to claim that what we really need is to raise the consciousness of teachers, and now this call is being sounded even more loudly- not by students, but by the teachers.

Esther P. Rothman in Troubled Teachers:

"I have never met a child who did not want to learn, did not want to be smart, did not want to achieve."

Rothman attributes inefficient education to teachers' lack of ability, and to their unconscious needs and conflicts. She claims that teachers must free themselves emotionally in order to make best use of the existing system, and to bring changes where possible. To do this they must go inward to seek self awareness and further their own personal growth.

Bob Samples, Cheryl Charles, Dick Barnhart in The Wholeschool Book:
"Our basic vision is simple. Education can transform culture. But only as much as the individuals who perform it are transformed."

Prof. J. Smith, Dept. of Education, Indiana University, USA
"Teachers must somehow enlarge their responsibilities to deal with the metaphorical and metaphysical, the aesthetic and dramatic, the spiritual and inspirational. We teachers have dwelt too long on the safe ground of lectures, textbooks, tests and grades."

Practical steps in opening up new ground are already being taken by such BSY trained innovators as Micheline Flak (Yogabhakti) and Swami Nitya Abhedananda (June Jackson). Yogabhakti took yoga into her French high school and has obtained a grant to further her work. Swami Nitya Abhedananda has been successful in having yoga accepted as an accredited unit in the Diploma of Creative Arts course taught at the Darling Downs College of Advanced Education, Australia. Also in Australia, Macquarie University has established a radical 'experimental' school in conjunction with yoga experts from the Yoga Institute, Santa Cruz.

In India, yoga has been introduced in schools throughout Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and Raipur University.

In the USA efforts of educators to integrate the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical aspects of a child's education has produced Meditating with Children by Deborah Roz. This clear, simple and practical book is now being used in various school districts. The Second Centring Book by Gay Hendricks and Thomas B. Roberts contains "more awareness activities for children, parents and teachers". It is designed to integrate a child's mind and feelings, to quiet stress and to open the way to imagery and creativity through a whole range of techniques including fantasy, dreams, relaxation and meditation. In May 1978 the California State University held a conference on education which pointed out that transcendent or mystical experience will be recognized as complementary to cognitive learning.

Yoga will play a role by enabling students and teachers to follow systematic, safe and practical techniques which are ladders to higher awareness.