As I look over the past several issues of the Journal of the Krishnamurti Schools, it strikes me anew that there is a very consistent set of issues that the pieces in this publication tackle. The widest theme—the interrogation of human existence itself that Krishnamurti pursued with fierce compassion over several decades. Then there are ruminations on individual spiritual or intellectual journeys in this context. Finally, many teachers write to us detailing specific experiences and insights in classrooms over the years.
Issue 24 contains many such valuable articles written by teachers, on both the structural as well as the personal nature of the learning moment. There are pieces on, for example, children learning about social contexts of extreme deprivation, questioning their own social location, and learning about the fragility and beauty of an ecosystem. There are detailed explorations into how students process their daily worlds of love, friendship and conflict, and the specific challenges some have to learn about. There are threads of curricular questions and expectations, probing at how to structure the learning experience as well as how to allow the student’s creative energy to emerge. There are essays that challenge the educator about the fundamentals—for instance, the role of reward and punishment in a learning context or indeed, about this very role, or understanding, of being an educator itself. It is striking to me how intensely all of these pieces touch the texture of the daily experience that is a state of actual learning. This touching or close textural contact is, of course, emotional, because learning is an emotional and visceral experience, not purely an ‘intellectual’ one (perhaps we ought to do away with these rather simplistic divisions in the first place!). It is also practical, born of close observation of children in various locations. The contact also often shows an awareness of structure, of the social context in which education happens and is also shaped. In other words, taken as a whole, the reflections in this journal are minute examinations of what is most important at the very heart of education.
Though these pieces are largely pedagogical in nature, they often ride on some subtle philosophical threads. One such thread is characterised by one author in this journal issue as “facing the self and learning about it”. The title of another essay captures another vital thread—‘The Common Ground of Humanity’, the enormous worlds of thought and emotion that we all simultaneously participate in and create, and which have such powerful consequences for all beings. These phrases, and the questions they point to, form the large and spacious background that frames the contributions for this issue.
I find I have learnt a great deal by reading the contributions to the Journal of Krishnamurti Schools over the years. The most valuable learning for me, being a teacher myself, has been the sheer variety of the contexts that teachers present their questions and observations from. We have had pieces from educators who work with Adivasi students, with middle- and uppermiddle- class students from elite city schools, and everything in between. To get a glimpse into the heart and mind of a teacher in these contexts has been invaluable. And it has also been curiously enabling, and satisfying, to understand that in these very varied contexts, fundamental questions about the human psyche, about the learner, and about our communities, keep raising their heads. It seems that no location is so fundamentally alien to another that we cannot communicate with each other about the basic questions of life.
Before I leave you to this valuable issue, I should mention that we have been asking teachers to write brief pieces on a few specific themes for the Journal. This time, the themes chosen have been ‘solitude’, ‘energy’, ‘balance’ and we have had some poetic, insightful and even hard-hitting responses to this invitation.