How Krishnamurti’s educational thought features on this website

Education as transmission

In order to come up with a viable account of holistic education, this website explores the depth of Krishnamurti’s work on education. This is done in several ways.

  • Krishnamurti’s work is presented on its own terms
  • It is brought into dialogue with other educational thought
  • Suggestions for practice are worked out

Presenting Krishnamurti’s educational thought on its own terms

Krishnamurti left behind around one thousand discussions, talks, and letters about education. These tend to be short documents, where one or two issues are gone into in depth.

Altogether we have a fairly comprehensive narrative of what education should be like. But because it is all contained in short documents, there is no systematic exposition of this educational thought.

The first goal of this website is to present Krishnamurti’s educational thought in a way that is organized, so that the reader does not need to go through innumerable documents to get a fairly comprehensive picture.

This is not to say that this website can replace going to the source in Krishnamurti’s own work. Rather, the purpose of bringing together Krishnamurti’s educational thought in this way is to provide the reader with a first map of the terrain, making it easier for them to then explore Krishnamurti’s work on their own.

Bringing Krishnamurti’s educational thought into dialogue with other work on education

To bring Krishnamurti’s educational thought into dialogue with other work on educational works two ways.

On the one hand, it clarifies what exactly Krishnamurti’s educational proposal is all about. For example, looking at his work against the backdrop of other forms of holistic education helps bring out what is characteristic of Krishnamurti education.

On the other hand, a dialogue between Krishnamurti’s and other educational thought can sometimes put challenges to existing educational approaches. For example, Krishnamurti’s notion that only a form of insight that is not based on memory can ever be whole can challenge existing attempts at holistic education to become more truly holistic.

Importantly, such a dialogue between Krishnamurti’s and other educational thought is not meant to show that one is better than the other. It is simply to gain a deeper understanding of Krishnamurti education by considering what else is there in terms of educational thought.

Working out suggestions for practice

The third objective of this website flows from the first two. Once we are clear about the exact nature of Krishnamurti’s educational proposal, and once we understand where this proposal is located within the wider field of education, we are in a good position to work out what Krishnamurti education looks like in practice.

That is, because Krishnamurti did not leave behind a detailed or systematic pedagogy, the step of bringing his ideas into practice requires that we either use existing teaching techniques or invent new ones. And this involves taking a good look at which approaches to teaching and learning fit with his proposal

Let us look at an example. After reading Krishnamurti on education, someone may come to the conclusion that he proposes a form of discovery learning. They may do so, for example, on the basis of him saying that students should find things our for themselves and only say they know something, if they have understood it for themselves.

But if we look closely at what is called discovery learning in the literature on education, we find that it is an approach to curriculum for which we find little, if any, evidence that Krishnamurti had this in mind. This then forces us to look again at what exactly Krishnamurti said about finding things out for oneself.

Note that this does not mean that discovery learning should not be part of education, merely that if we want to develop educational practice that is based on what Krishnamurti had in mind, we need to bring his thought into dialogue with existing approaches to teaching and learning

The five moments in holistic education

These three goals of presenting Krishnamurti’s work, putting it into the wider educational context, and presenting suggestions for practice are organized around five themes. And because Krishnamurti education can be seen as a form of holistic education, I call these five themes the five moments of holistic education.

So for each of the five moments of education we will consider what Krishnamurti himself said and wrote about it, how this relates to other educational approaches, and what kind of practice does justice to his approach.

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