- What is holistic education?
- Purpose of holistic education
- Importance of holistic education in schools
- How to implement holistic teaching methods in school curriculums.
There are two gifts we should give our children- one is roots and the other is wings.
Education today has undergone a metamorphic transformation. Comparatively, the traditional system of education was more theoretical rather than practical. However, some educationists may argue that traditional education like the gurukul system, included a perfect blend of theory and practice.
This may be true to a certain extent, but one cannot argue that the education system today is far more advanced. Today, education is more holistic in nature and includes a blend of theory, practice, skill and overall development of the students.
The importance of the holistic approach to education has become an integral facet of the system. So, what is holistic education and what is the importance of holistic education?
What is Holistic Education?
In the general sense, education refers to the formal schooling of students in a classroom. Here, students are taught subjects and concepts that will help them to secure a job and earn a livelihood in the future. On the other hand, holistic education is a broader concept that includes aspects other than theoretical learning.
Holistic education refers to the overall development of the students. It can include skills, behavioural training, physical fitness, and other such particulars which are required for the overall development of the students as an integral member of society.
It must however be noted that holistic teaching methods do not ignore theoretical education. Holistic education incorporates all facets of human development and also includes the theory of subjects.
With this understanding, it can be inferred that holistic education plays an important role in today’s education system. Schools that adopt holistic teaching methods are usually considered progressive schools and are more likely to attract more students and parents within their fold.
The purpose of holistic education is to develop all aspects of the student’s life while at the same time not compromising on the quality of theoretical education.
Through holistic education, students are able to develop talents and skills that are required in order to survive in society. Without these skills, students may find it difficult to fit into the already defined society.
Importance of Holistic Education
From the above inference, it is understood that holistic education plays a vital role in today’s schools and colleges. A holistic mindset adds balance to your life and lays emphasis on positive relationships in society and is an inspiration for booming careers. The holistic teaching methods adopted by the school can decide the future of a student. Let’s look at some of the benefits of holistic education.
1. Emotional backing
One of the most important aspects of a holistic approach in education is that students are emotionally cared for. The aim of teachers in a holistic environment is to gain the trust of every student.
A holistic environment encourages students to be open about their emotions and share their feelings with their teachers. This way, the teacher is able to recognize each student for his or her talents and skills.
2. Physical development
Another benefit of holistic education is that the physical well being of students is much cared for. While traditional teaching often takes place within the four walls of a classroom, holistic teaching methods adopt different styles of teaching that enhance the physical fitness of students.
The holistic approach to education includes outdoor classes and the importance of exercise and fitness. Schools that follow a holistic system of education include sports and other activities within the day’s curriculum.
3. Health care and technology
Holistic approach to education also improves the health care and technology of the nation. Quoting the words of Bill Gates ‘Technology must be implemented as part of a thoughtful, holistic approach to education transformation that includes teacher training, relevant curricula, parental involvement and programs for children that fill unmet needs for basics like nutrition and healthcare.”
4. Creation of bonds
Traditional teaching methods were more rigid in style. That is, teachers and students have a more formal relationship. Whereas, in a holistic approach in education, students and teachers feel more free to interact. This is because of the change in environment. As mentioned above, traditional teaching takes place within the four walls of the classroom.
This kind of atmosphere creates a stern relationship between students and teachers. Whereas, in the holistic teaching methods, students and teachers are more likely to bond and interact with each other because of the change in environment. The atmosphere is more friendly and non-formal.
Apart from friendlier student teacher relationships, parents also play an important role in this kind of education system. Parents tend to become more involved in the all round development of the child and take an active interest in extracurricular and co scholastic activities of the child in school.
5. Reduces academic pressure
With a change in the attitude of parents and teachers in a holistic environment, the academic pressure on students will automatically diminish.
Now, teachers and parents are no longer of the opinion that only the theory of subjects matters. Parents and teachers are completely aware of the benefits of extra curricular activities in the lives of students. Students can now concentrate on other activities like sports and excel in these activities.
6. Building members of society
One of the main purposes of holistic education is to create socially accepted members of society. Theoretical education may ignore this aspect of education. While the concentration in traditional education is mainly focused on examination scores and knowledge, the holistic approach to education includes other aspects too.
Referring to the definition of holistic education above, we can say that holistic education includes the overall development of the student. Holistic education teaches students communication skills that are required and expected from members of society.
7. Integrated system of education
The importance of a holistic approach in education can be seen from the fact that it encompasses various aspects of human development. It integrates skill development along with the physical and mental well being of students.
At the same time, the approach does not ignore the importance of theoretical education. Therefore, it can be rightly said that a holistic approach to education is an all encompassing and all inclusive system of education.
8. Promotes active learning
Active learning can be defined as any learning in which students take part in the teaching process. Experiments, visual experiences and projects are all a part of an active learning process.
Holistic methods of teaching rely heavily on active learning. The importance of holistic learning is that it promotes active learning amongst students, making them more interactive and interested in the subject.
9. Freedom of thought and expression
One of the most important benefits of holistic education is that it allows students to have freedom of thought and expression. Having the freedom of thought and expression is an important part of a student’s life. It allows students to think individually and develop cognitive and critical thinking skills. All these qualities are a training ground for a lucrative career.
10. Education of the whole being
Attributing the same meaning to holistic education, it means the education of the whole being. The holistic approach in education refers to the overall development of the student including physical development, cognitive development, emotional development and social development.
How to Implement Holistic Education in Schools?
Now that we have studied the benefits and importance of a holistic approach in education, the question now arises, how do we implement holistic education into the curriculum of a school or college?
Different schools adopt different approaches to implement holistic education in their curriculum. While there is no right or wrong approach, the underlying aim of these schools is the overall development of students. Here, we have explained some of the methods schools can adopt holistic teaching methods in their curriculum.
Holistic Teaching Methods
1. Extra curricular activities
Extra curricular activities or co scholastic activities is one of the methods of how schools can implement holistic education in their daily curriculum.
It allow students to take part in activities that are apart from the theoretical subjects taught in the classrooms. Extra curricular activities include sports activities and cultural activities like music, dance, art and theatre.
Sports and games in school can teach students leadership and team building skills. These skills are an important aspect of the holistic development of students. However encouraging students to take part in music, dance and art can help students identify their personal skills and talents.
2. Clubs and after school activities
Beyond academic activities like clubs and after school activities is one of the methods how schools can adopt to implement holistic education. These clubs encourage students to think beyond academics and focus on lighter aspects of life. It also helps students to understand that there is much more to life than academic scores.
3. Teacher training programs
Regular teacher training programs promote sensitivity amongst the teachers. Schools and colleges must concentrate on training teachers to deal with students emotionally and socially. Students will be better able to identify themselves with teachers and may also open up emotionally.
The role of teachers has undergone a radical change in the past few years. Traditionally, teachers were the autocratic head of the classroom, whereas, with a holistic approach to education, teachers are more friends than autocrats.
Teachers need to adopt new and more meaningful roles than ever before. Teachers are now expected to be more like friends, mentors and guides to the students under the holistic approach of education.
4. Active participation from parents and guardians
To adopt holistic teaching methods, it is essential for parents to take an active role in the students education. Schools and colleges must encourage parents to play an active role in the education of children.
Adopting a holistic approach to education is easier said than done. It is a fact that schools face innumerable problems while trying to adopt holistic teaching methods.
Therefore, Some of the problems may include a lack of infrastructure and funds and problems with proper teacher training facilities. Also, it can be argued that a holistic approach to education undermines the value of academics.
However, all these problems of holistic education can easily be overcome with proper planning and organization at the grassroot level, that is school management. Schools must implement holistic teaching methods to stay ahead of their time. With holistic education, students can gain overall development of mind and body.
Also check: Importance of Physical education in Schools