Question: At the beginning of the 20th century, in Russia in particular, there was a widespread campaign to eliminate illiteracy. What seems perfectly natural today back then was received with hostility. Many people refused to send their children to schools and didn’t wish to learn themselves because they considered it a pointless waste of time. Today a similar situation may arise, when the integral education that we are offering could be perceived as something useless, unnecessary. How can we overcome this resistance?
Answer: I think that today a large number of educators, psychologists, and sociologists understand the brewing problem, except they don’t know how to deal with it. It means that it’s necessary to approach them as broadly as possible with explanations.
Teachers empathize with students, and moreover, at times they suffer even more than their pupils. After all, they are forced to exist under constant negative pressure from children, whose beastly egoism, unrestricted by any boundaries, is directed against the teachers. Every student tries to assert before them his or her own independence and striving for self-affirmation.
I think that teachers and educators need some training on this to be able to discern in a new methodology at least something for their own benefit, something that would allow them to work with children normally.
The work of an educator today is rather difficult, serious, and I would even say risky. A person is subjected to such conditions, such moral pressure that this work could even be called “harmful.” Forty five minutes of being in the classroom with the children generates a lot of stress and enormous strain on the teacher.
Together with the educators, we need to prepare for them a methodological resource that would help them understand that first and foremost, we are concerned with the atmosphere in the classroom, without even changing the class itself yet.
Students cannot get used to integral discourse yet because right now it’s impossible to discuss anything with anyone—it will lead to shouting, shutting each other up, abuse, swearing, and who knows what else. Now the educator at least sits them down, holds them still in some way, and somehow, out of necessity, pacifies them. Meanwhile the pupils are sitting, all miserably, each in his own place, and they wait for this whole ordeal to come to an end.
A slow, smooth transition is needed here. I think that educators will gradually agree with this. They can already see that the current system is not one that has a right to exist in the new generation.
From a “Talk on Integral Education” #5, 12/13/11