A G L O B A L L E A R N I N G C U R R I C U L U M
The global learning curriculum presented here embodies an integrated and unifying narrative to uncover the common themes, linkages and cross-cultural patterns that together weave a rich tapestry of human development and world culture.
This model will constellate a cohesive and global overview to systemically encounter and interpret the broad fields of inter-relatedness of science, culture and human diversity. Such an approach encourages the student in a lateral exploration of the evolving cosmogenesis, with the goal of attaining an eco-centered and mindful awareness of global responsibility, personal accountability and respect for cultural remembrance.
Behind us lie the great scientific discoveries and also the ecological and social dilemmas of the 20th century; it behooves us to now determine how the future of education can be given a more satisfactory direction.
By recognizing the timeless commonality of human experience and by drawing on our concern for the planetary habitat and its web of life, we shall appeal to a deeper level of thought and a more universal understanding; surely an essential step toward a global culture of peace among the nations.
WHAT IS AN ECOZOIC CURRICULUM ?
An ecozoic curriculum subscribes to the premise that our emerging awareness of the well-being of the entire Earth community will be our main concern and the context for any positive continuance of the human venture.
From the classical period of Western civilization the dialectical method of establishing knowledge (is it this or is it that?) became a convention that has given us our dominant approach to learning in general; i.e. to separate and divide any area of consideration into subjects and parts. In this way the rational and analytical faculties have come to serve a scientific paradigm in which knowledge is derived from measuring, comparing and differentiating. We are now asking whether this ever greater scrutiny of the details is the best way to grasp ‘the heart of the matter’?
Today many transpersonal and depth psychologists and new paradigm educators believe that it is the intuitive faculty that allows us to ‘think in wholes’. The mind naturally wants to embrace ‘the larger picture’ and also to make associations through image-apperception. This method recognizes whole patterns that connect disparate elements and has become known, in its formal development, as the ‘systems approach’ or the ‘systems model’ following from General Systems Theory, a scientific template now widely applied in the study of all living systems, from the micro-biological to the macro-societal.
With this in mind we are now asking if our common habit or bias, in the Western mindset, of ‘breaking everything into parts’, could itself have been contributory to the divisive and fragmented quality of our world today.
In these critical times when so much is in the balance for us in North America, as for the human community, it seems vital that we educate our children to better understand the world by grasping the ‘whole picture’ and by continually seeking out our connectedness rather than our differences.
We believe that when teaching is approached from a holistic understanding and perspective, the mode of ‘whole brain learning’ can be fostered to great advantage.
THE PARADIGM SHIFT
The modern worldview began to take shape in the early 17th century when a new scientific method, in which knowledge was to be established only through the physical senses or measured through their extension in the form of man-made instruments, began to evolve and became known as the Empiric Method. It took on the assumption of a clear demarcation between the physical and the non-physical, or the objective world and subjective experience, and its acceptance became a common-sense foundation for all future science. Through the centuries and into our own time, the prestige of the worldview that arose was such that it was able to dismiss as of secondary consequence the spiritual, aesthetic and intuitive experiences of humankind.
However, countervailing this dualism, and never lost from view in Western culture, a long line of poets and philosophers, from William Blake to Henri Bergson, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Aldous Huxley continued to offer profound insights from their own transcendent experiences. They pointed to the primacy of spirit and warned that the emerging technological ethic of ‘man controlling nature’ would bring on an unnatural separation of humans from the matrix of life around them.
Indeed, we see today many of our social institutions engulfed in all manner of difficulties, not least of which are poverty, the global ecological crises and widespread international conflict. And as our children, the new generation, grow up amid the excesses of material consumption, some are already asking themselves whether modern society is denying the possibility of a fulfilled inner life.
We saw, over the last decade, how new discoveries in consciousness studies suggest that both understanding and creativity in any field of endeavor, including the academic, is best served by the capacity to see ‘patterns that connect’ and thus ‘grasp the unbroken wholes’. The receding paradigm seems to no longer serve this new integrative process where we are called to hold ever more inclusive perspectives. This ecozoic curriculum is therefore offered in the hope of setting a broader context, while pointing to a closer connection between inner-directed and outer-directed values.
The one year course includes in many respects the required standards of scholastic attainment and is divided into four themes, each to be covered in 9 weeks of one or two hours a day, two or three days per week GAIA (studies of the living earth); HUMANITY (the story of the human race); THE GLOBAL BRAIN (the historical record and the continuing drive for planetary connectedness); THE EMERGING WORLD PARADIGM (a new context - living in a world of change in culture and meaning). The syllabus will include readings from the Book List, class discussion of each topic and student creative essay writing to demonstrate a comprehensive overview.
An introduction and Curriculum Outline of these four follows:
GAIA STUDIES begins with an overview of the origins of our universe. We shall then introduce the new earth system science which, at its core, is a view of the earth where life and its material environment are seen as so closely coupled that self-regulation is an underlying principle. The biosphere, the zone of life on earth, is thus acting as a single living organism, and through its adaptive control systems, maintaining the earth in homeostasis. This planetary perspective gives the student a deeper understanding of the interrelatedness of all life and its extended environment. Following are the areas to be explored in this 9 week syllabus:
1.The Primordial Flaring Forth - Cosmogenesis and the Birth of a Billion Galaxies, the Supernovas and the
2. The Fragile Miracle - the Planet in Motion and the Biosphere as a Web of Life Support Systems.
3. Living Oceans for a healthy planet; the Marine Ecosystems.
4. The Dynamics of Climate Change and its impact on Bioregional sub-systems.
5. Our Genetic Resource - the importance of Plant Diversity and the Interdependence of Species
6. The benefits of the Global Forests and the impact of Desertification.
7. The Protection of Wildlife - Case Studies from Five Continents.
8. The nature of Fertile Soil and our irreplaceable heritage.
9. The Green Potential - Feeding the World with Agriculture in the Balance
HUMANITY STUDIES will span the story of the human race and develop for the student a clear sense of a single human family and a consciousness which is inclusive in nature. The migrations (divergences) and the coming together (confluences) of the many races over the millennia tells a story that for all people can be both extraordinary and riveting. The continual cross-pollination of culture, mythology and spiritual wealth clearly shows how the overall experience of the race has been woven together in a common destiny. Following is an outline of our 9 week syllabus:
1. Self-reflective Consciousness as the Efflorescence of Creation.
2. Human Emergence from Africa and the Settling of the Globe.
3. The Neolithic Village and Early Cereal Cultivation.
4. The First Civilizations of Eurasia.
5. The Dispersed Cultures of the Americas, Africa, Oceania & Australasia.
6. The Development of Classical Civilizations.
7. A Global Pattern - Displacement of Indigenous Peoples by Invading and Migrating Populations.
8. The Rise of Modern Nations; Abundance and Strife in the Era of Technology and Political Dominance.
9. The Diffusion of Western Megatechnology and the Polarized Perspectives of Indigenous Peoples &
THE GLOBAL BRAIN adapts the work of Peter Russell bringing an overview of the human venture as an historical reaching out to communicate and connect. The great migrations, the spread of empires, the invasions and conquests, the voyages of discovery, the trade routes and the colonizations have all led up to our present age of widespread global awareness through technology. The world’s population growth has now begun to slow down but the linking of billions of human minds is increasing. It would seem that a planetary supermind is beginning to emerge from the complexity of today’s near-instant telecommunications. At this point, the wider meaning of this quickly integrating ‘nervous system’ is perhaps beyond our imagination. It is quite possible, however, that we will soon see ourselves as no longer isolated individuals but as freely-determined nerve cells in an awakened supermind .' Following is the progression of our 9 week syllabus:
1. Language as the Primary Interlinking of Humanity.
2. Storytelling - the Transcultural Nature of Mythic Archetypes.
3. The Early Commercial and Cultural Bonds of Eurasia.
4. Voyages of Discovery and the Eurasian and African Trade Routes.
5. The Industrial Revolution in Europe and its Aftermath – The Emerging Global Economy.
6. Cultural Cross-pollination through Empire and World Trade.
7. The Spread of Science and Technology as Human Culture.
8. The Age of Global Civilization.
9. The Modern Transnational Supermind.
THE EMERGING WORLD PARADIGM is where we give overall consideration to the effects on the planet’s biosphere, on human culture and on our own lives of the increasingly rapid changes currently shaping our world. We have seen, in our time, the huge advances in technology of all kinds. Thoughtful observers, from Albert Einstein to Vaclav Havel, have commonly asked whether the human community is prepared to balance the immense technical power that is presently in our hands with wise consideration for the manner in which it is used. In that context, we shall examine some of the ideals for human living that have been put forth over the ages and find out in what way they may be followed, in our own lives, for the betterment of the largest number.
1. The Modern Revelation – Changing Time.
2. The Nature of Consensus Reality - Our inherited Stories.
3. The Impact of Industrial Technology on Human Consciousness.
4. Uncovering Current Assumptions – Profit, Growth, Competition and Progress.
5. An Addictive Meme - Breaking the Cultural Trance of Materialism.
6. Identifying Healthy and Sustainable Technologies for the Benefit of the Global Community.
7. The Evolutionary Pattern toward a Shared Survival.
8. The Web of Life - a New Conceptual Framework for Actualizing the Human Venture.
9. A Change of Consciousness - The Paradigm Shift in our Hands.