Answer: This is a special task because we are teaching those who are not familiar with the world at all yet. And the most important thing here is to organize an environment for them. Without an environment, it is very difficult to teach a child our method. A child needs a connection with other children and together they have to be organized into a group.
In the process of studying they have to sit in a common circle and feel that they are strong only when they are united together. A teacher is not really a teacher, but an educator, a mentor. He is like an older friend of the children. Sitting in a circle with them, he conceals his grown-up understanding of the world and skillfully guides them toward unity of equals. The most important thing is to keep this unity.
Every person attains success only on the condition that he is united with others and attains group results with them. The success of each person is determined by how much he helps others. We evaluate each person not by himself, but only by the achievements attained in the group and through the group.
We don’t need “outstanding” or smart students, and we don’t ask, “Who knows?” looking for a “hero” who will prove himself more clever or knowledgeable than others. We do not want this. What we want is for the children to feel that the question and the answer are aimed at the group, that the most important thing is to be together, and even if the answer is incorrect, it is still correct because it brings about a common solution in which everyone takes part.
If there is a chance to do so, a younger group should work with educators who are two or three years older. Children learn from these kinds of instructors better than anyone, looking up at them like at “angels.” And this obligates the older kids, in turn, to study so they won’t slip up in front of the younger ones. As a result, we win twofold: 10-year-olds happily learn from 13-year-olds, rejoicing that the older kids give them time and attention. And the 13-year-olds study the material, spurred by the feeling of their importance, in order to educate the younger ones.
Children have to be taught how to judge one another, separately and together. If someone acted wrongly, a “court discussion” has to be arranged where we study the incident and its causes, examining questions such as, “Was this action correct or not? Would I have acted the same way in that person’s place?” Every person has to hold himself accountable for conducting intensive, inner psychological work.
It’s good to take children on trips where they get to know the world they live in. Let them visit all sorts of factories, an airport, bank, post office, planetarium, and so on. At every place they visit, they should hear explanations about how each establishment is constructed and how it works. This can even be a storeroom of a supermarket where goods are received, sorted, and stockpiled so they can later be arranged on the display shelves for the consumers.
In short, the children have to know how our life is built and what it is comprised of. At every place they visit, the person responsible or the supervisor should give them the appropriate clarifications, and when they return to school, together they should discuss what they saw and heard. Every one of them has to write a report about the place he visited, describing what it is, what it is intended for, how it serves people and humanity as a whole, what kind of people work there, what kind of preparation they must go through, and so on.
These trips enable children to learn about the big world, how it is built, and the interconnections permeating it. They see how complicated it is to organize various areas of life and this motivates them to prepare for becoming full-fledged citizens of the world.
The process of studying in class is filmed on camera. Obviously, children quickly forget the events of the day that has passed, but later they can come back to them and look at themselves from aside, in particular, noting: Were they able to unite this time? This is part of self-study.
Our primary concern is not so much to give them specific, professional knowledge, but to give them the right approach to life. A person has to know what kind of world he lives in and how human society has to function in order to maintain a harmonious interconnection among all its parts.
We teach our children the inner psychology of the connection between them. This develops them internally a great deal, enabling them to learn new material. Recently, as was requested by the Ministry of Education, they participated in a symposium that was attended by hundreds of pedagogues and educators from all over the country. Teenagers dispersed among different discussion tables and communicated with the experts on such a high level that the experts were astounded.
Also this year, several of our children have been accepted to university. In short, we see that it’s worthwhile to invest efforts and resources into upbringing. An example of the proper upbringing works better than any other example because it shows all of the advantages of the global, integral mode of study in a group that is permeated by unity, love, and correct relationships. This enables one to see with one’s own eyes how this approach opens up a person’s ability to perceive and forms him differently.
We have already published several books on upbringing. I hope that by the end of the year we will complete working on our curriculum and the set of study materials, which will include CDs and DVDs.
It’s advisable to study the topic of upbringing on our website. Maybe professionals in this field should even come to visit us to exchange experience. We will be happy to show you the method and bring you up to date.
From the Miami lecture 9/14/11