True to its eclectic character, this fifteenth issue of the Journal of Krishnamurti Schools has a collection of articles on diverse subjects and topics.
The fate of the earth is a constant source of anxiety to mankind. While we all seem to agree that we have done harm to the earth in which we live, we do not know how to educate ourselves as to what is exactly happening to us and the earth, let alone as to what is to be done about it. Gary Primrose points out the limits of environmental education and shows us how to learn from nature by taking up one specific activity, gardening, and doing it with all our hearts and minds. Shailesh Shirali asks the intriguing question: ‘Is man part of, or is he different from, nature?’ For him, nature is a metaphor for life itself, hence one can indeed learn a great deal from it.
Four pieces talk about the school as such. Mark Lee movingly evokes the golden first decade of the Oak Grove School and how much of a moving force Krishnamurti was during this period and beyond, in helping the school find its feet. Anant Mahajan gives a charming little primer on setting up an astronomy kit in the school. While Gurvinder (Neetu) Singh gives an account of the programme of the Bangalore Study Centre in integrating its activities with the children of the school, Shagufta Siddhi reveals the inward life of a high school teacher through the format of diary entries stretching over an academic year and more, in her role as a teacher of History.
Raji Swaminathan examines a facet of education that is rarely explored by educators—the role of the parent in the education of the child. Gerard Bayle tries to evoke, in his interview, his work in the theatre. Acting is essentially movement and communication and, the best way to go about teaching it ‘would be to develop in children an aesthetic sense, a sense of what is beautiful’. Lionel Claris takes us through the thicket of twentieth century models of learning, essentially the behaviorist and the constructivist ones. He shows us the need go beyond them if we are ever to get to the ‘total insight’ that Krishnamurti spoke about. The general section winds up with a piece by OR Rao written on the larger canvas. It explores the very depths of human consciousness, what distinguishes us humans from the animals, the origins of fear and the essential condition of modern man—truly a psychological panorama, if one may be permitted to call it.
This issue contains a special feature: a section in the main Journal on the theme of Fear, as also a separate ‘resource pack’ that accompanies it. This part of the Journal, together with the contents of the pack, is introduced at the beginning of the section.
Fear is a dominant factor in the life of the schoolgoing child, and we decided to examine for ourselves its various contours. The material in the pack is based on responses received from children to a questionnaire that was sent to a range of schools. It was fascinating to come upon the true voices of children on what they are really afraid of and how they meet their fears.
Our intention in including a special feature in this issue on a significant emotion such as Fear was to sensitize teachers and parents as to what is actually happening within children, so as to enable them to establish a rapport with them both at school and home, talk to them, draw them out and create an ambience of trust and openness. Learning can take place only when there is no fear.