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WHO WE ARE
Holistic Think Tank is a non-profit organization
whose aim is to promote a new way of thinking about education
and provide schools with concrete systematic solutions.

OUR MISSION

The Holistic Think Tank operates on two levels, which are the solid basis for the human beings to grow their potential:

THOUGHT: creating and shaping fundamental ideas for education to impact the future world in terms of the values, skills, and beliefs, including giving a space for exchanging visions and expertise between experts.

PRACTICE: researching as well as working on curricula and class scenarios for schools and teachers to guide and implement a change in the thinking of the humanity of tomorrow.

OUR "WHY"

Why we need to devise a new, interdisciplinary school subject (IDS)

Schools of today teach multitude of skills and provide students with a plethora of information. At the same time, they do not explain how to apply the said skills and information in practice. Therefore, schools do not equip their students with insight for leading a good and wise life.

We work on a new, interdisciplinary subject to integrate school with reality outside the classroom.

We believe that a new, interdisciplinary school subject (IDS) will be instrumental in changing the picture. The new subject shall be a bond and common denominator of fragmented knowledge contained in the mutually isolated school subjects of today. The raison d’être of the new subject is to transform school into a place conducive to finding happiness in the future.

Through IDS, we strive to:

  • strengthen young people’s competencies in the area of conscious and active participation in social life;
  • teach them how to find themselves in relation to the world, nature and their own body;
  • enable their self-development in terms of personality, intelligence, sensitivity, and worldview;
  • show them how to plan their own life path and manage inevitable changes;
  • familiarize them with the idea of science and learning through the ability to manipulate data and formulate conclusions;
  • give them the tools to deal with the aggression of the world and redefine what it means to be successful; and finally
  • attain any other relevant aim that our research shall reveal.

The reality outside classrooms abounds with sources of knowledge and opportunities to obtain skills that hardly ever find their way into school curricula. The prospective interdisciplinary subject will be a comprehensive solution for it. Its aim is not to replace any particular curriculum, but rather to broaden and rejuvenate it. After all, the broadly understood school environment can and should be inclusive. Then, the new subject will become a space to flourish for students and teachers alike, and for anyone who deeply cares for children and the youth.

Holistic Think Tank

In focus: What Schools Ought to Teach (WSOT)

A list based on preliminary analyses
 compiled by Jan Bazyli Klakla and Katarzyna Pająk-Załęska.

Schools ought to teach students:

How to confront themselves with challenges, including especially »

problem formulation, that is, being able to formulate a problem at many levels of abstraction, presenting it in a concise form that facilitates its further analysis and with a view to solving it later on by employing different methods and tools;

problem decomposition, that is, being able to break the problem into components (constitutive elements) and reduce it to easily solvable elements (recursion);

problem solving, in other words: finding the way out of a novel situation based on previously acquired knowledge and skills/competencies;

collection and ordering of data, that is, drawing data in from all available sources and ordering it logically to facilitate its further analysis;

critical thinking, which encompasses the practical skills involved in finding and interpreting information and the competences of proper judgement and effective reasoning related thereto.

How to function in relation to the world and nature, as well as with one’s own body. In particular, they should focus on »

searching out recurrent patterns, reasoning abstractly, and creating models, especially finding schema, identifying regularities and repetitive sequences of patterns occurring in a concept, as well as being able to present those data that are essential while eliminating those that are not, and to generalize and present a problem as a model or simulation;

understanding causal relations, along with correspondences between the past, the present, and the future, particularly: a proper comprehension of occurring dependencies, and understanding of how change and the continuation process happen, along with their relation to the present and the future;

sustaining, tending to, and justly distributing both natural and cultural resources, which means being aware of the common good and responsibility for the world, in particular in conscious choices and acts aimed at the common good;

making choices based on the common good, therefore based on empathy towards others and sustainable usage of natural resources, as well as cooperation with nature.

The ideas of science and scholarship (learning), including especially »

respect for scientific and scholarly achievements, namely, to hold truth, scientific facts, and research heritage in high regard, while remaining open to new developments;

how to analyze sources, namely, how to understand the context in which facts are presented, along with the possibility of their different interpretation relative to the standpoint or perspective being assumed;

positive attitude towards learning and an attitude of openness in relation to new experiences, which should translate into discovering gaps in one’s own knowledge, based on which new developmental goals are then set, in addition to the attitude of lifelong learning, in accordance with which acquiring knowledge is a process both variable and dynamic;

knowledge both empowering one to think and act autonomously in a given field, and subsequently generating further knowledge, namely, how to first use knowledge independently and then use it to seek further knowledge instead of deriving it from others’ expressed experiences;

self-regulated learning, namely, an efficient and self-reliant process for planning, estimating, forecasting, and noticing one’s own capabilities, and being able to determine the level of usefulness of each of them.

How to function in society. In particular, they should emphasize »

participation, that is, an active engagement in the educational process, where an active individual becomes co-responsible for his or her own development and thereby also for other social processes;

respect, that is, evident appreciation of a variety of opinions and beliefs, and due regard for different cultures and religions, as well as for human rights, justice, etc.;

reflection, that is, the ability to contribute to society accompanied by a critical approach; capacity for well thought-out and responsible participation in the economic, social, cultural, and political life, as well as for presenting a critical stance towards prevalent but transient/changeable values, along with an ability to order such values hierarchically;

ways to deal with conflicts, that is, searching for solutions that will be workable and beneficial for all parties involved, wise use of others’ assistance, ability to admit one’s own mistakes and errors, demonstrating understanding towards others’ stances, and preventing the deepening of divisions;

recognition of bias and privilege, that is, perceiving one’s own prejudices and cultivating the ability to identify privilege both in oneself and in others, including in everyday institutional functioning, as well as recognizing the impact of the foregoing on society and its internal dynamics and relationships.

Aesthetic and cultural awareness, including especially »

how to assign meaning, in particular, how to decode the culturally significant elements in one’s everyday reality, and how to recognize different values and various shades of meaning;

aesthetic competencies, especially in the context of language usage; how to transfer the aesthetic qualities of language associated with higher art into one’s everyday language;

awareness of sound, which means using the full potential of sounds to mark mathematical and material similarities, differences, and qualities of subjects one deals with;

conversation analysis (CA), that is, being capable of recognizing the aesthetic aspects of non-verbal communication comprising bodily gestures, and facial expression or countenance, therefore noticing such physical aspects as to facilitate greater acknowledgement of an individual’s circumstances;

creativity, namely, how to actualize one’s natural potential through activity pertaining to various fields of art (music, the visual and graphic arts, as well as other creative fields).

How to function in variable contexts and environments. In particular, they should teach »

how to deal with differences, therefore, knowledge of cultural differences and of appropriate rules of behaviour in various social situations, especially unfamiliar ones; awareness of prejudice and discrimination, ability to adapt to the wishes or needs of others, and considering the consequences of differences between people and various cultural backgrounds for important social processes, such as exclusion or inclusion;

local and global understanding, that is, the understanding of the contemporary world both as a whole and as the particular processes – political, social, economic, and any others, that shape it; connecting global issues with their corresponding local dimensions;

global literacy, that is, understanding people from other cultures who speak different languages, and being able to interact and cooperate with them;

effective and constructive tools for interacting with others, namely, confidence, responsibility, autonomy, initiative, cooperation, empathy, self-awareness, listening, flexibility, and adaptability.

How to function in relation to the state. In particular, they should focus on »

social justice, namely, overcoming systemic and structural inequalities, as well as dealing with power relations that pertain to everyday interactions, including amongst children, and between children and their teachers, tutors, and care providers;

social responsibility, that is, knowledge and the attitudes stemming therefrom, that facilitate consideration of common good and shared social interest in making one’s decisions, such as: solidarity, non-discrimination, a sense of belonging, and a protective outlook towards environmental and cultural heritage; 

democratic action, that is, an ability to stress legitimate entitlement in interactions with political authorities;, participating in civil society; being able to engage in activism and initiate change.

Entrepreneurship, particularly »

financial decision-making, that is, the analytical competencies along with the necessary tools for making wise financial decisions;

being proactive, namely, single-handedly initiating activities and assuming accountability for them;

planning, that is, dividing learning and future endeavours into periods and portions determined by reasonable goals;

hope, that is, envisioning the future in such a way that it motivates one to follow through with endeavours;

tenacity, that is, due perseverance in one’s endeavours and pursuits.

Interpersonal communication. In particular, they should teach »

communication skills and ability to change perspectives, that is, getting both one’s intentions and actions across whilst communicating them to one’s leaders, representatives, and fellow citizens; being capable of listening to one another, understanding other people’s interests, and attaining compromise within communities; developing a capacity for effective conflict resolution and respect for different perspectives;

how to properly verbalize one’s thoughts, that is, making use of appropriate terminology to verbalize discovered meanings and communicate them to others, thereby conveying them;

understanding language culture, that is, the place and significance of a given language as an element of a particular culture; acknowledging the advantages of a given language and deploying them in different contexts, as well as recognizing cultural codes of language.

Self-development, including especially »

how to attain a state of anticipatory emptiness, namely, the readiness to accept an unexpected meaning; an attitude of openness both to development and to discoveries, narratives, and non-obvious interpretations; mindfulness; openness with no preconceived expectation;

how to be humane, which means causing no harm, and exhibiting sympathy, empathy, and self-control, as well as kindness and benevolence;

how to remain aware of one’s own uniqueness, that is, how to understand one’s own changeability in time and individual rate of development based on a multitude of patterns;

self-assessment and self-evaluation, that is, how to draw conclusions, learn from both positive and negative experiences, and display a healthy attitude towards one’s shortcomings, losses, defeats, and inadequacies, in addition to openness to feedback;

self-awareness, which should translate into being capable of making judgements, keeping promises, reasoning, and articulating one’s thoughts by means of both spoken and written language and other means, as well as of transcending one’s “self” and perceiving oneself as an element of a greater whole; ensuring that humanity remains connected to the world of nature;

intellectual humility, that is, the ability to doubt one’s own knowledge without discrediting what one has already learned;

how to remain life-oriented, namely, how to orient oneself toward broadly-understood life while fulfilling a necessarily narrowly focussed professional career.


HOW WE WORK

We are open to cooperation with anyone who shares our values. Therefore, we offer a grant to develop an interdisciplinary subject (IDS) aiming to one day introduce it to schools around the world.

Our growing team consists of experts in their fields focused on implementing changes in education. We both analyze the latest achievements of science and educational practice, and conduct our own empirical research on school environments.

The results of our work are presented at an annual educational conference bringing together the most eminent researchers and educators.

Justyna Pokojska, Ph.D.
Justyna Pokojska, Ph.D.
Executive Director
justyna.pokojska@holisticthinktank.com

Sociologist, researcher, popularizer of science. Assistant professor at the Faculty of Sociology of the University of Warsaw,  Coordinator of the “Jobs and Skills for the Future” Program at DELab UW. Member of the working team at the Polish Ministry of Digitization, in which she co-created “Assumptions for the AI strategy in Poland”. Two-time scholarship holder of the Polish Minister of Science and Higher Education. Member of the Program Council of the Polish Civic Congress. Her research interests focus on the area of education and competencies of the future.

Experienced manager of scientific projects, combining academic knowledge with a business approach. A host of the broadcast “Efekt Sieci” (available on Spotify and other platforms), where she talks about digital transformation and its consequences for education, labor market and interpersonal relations in the world of new technological challenges. A regular guest of radio and TV programs as well as an author in the Opinions section of Forbes Magazine, popularizing the idea of ​​transforming the education system towards the education of the future.

Justyna Pokojska, Ph.D.
Justyna Pokojska, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Katarzyna Pająk-Załęska, Ph.D.
Katarzyna Pająk-Załęska, Ph.D.
Research Executive
katarzyna.zaleska@holisticthinktank.com

holds a doctorate in health science along with a degree in philosophy. Over the years, while remaining an enthusiastic educator, she has been researching and tracking education system changes with a particular focus on alternative education. As a researcher she worked for the Educational Research Institute, the Association for Open Education, and the “House of Peace” Foundation.

Katarzyna Pająk-Załęska, Ph.D.
Katarzyna Pająk-Załęska, Ph.D.
Research Executive
Marcin Sakowicz, Ph.D.
Marcin Sakowicz, Ph.D.
Research Advisor
marcin.sakowicz@holisticthinktank.com

Academic and mentor, holds PhD degree in economics, Visiting Fellow at the Oslo University, Department of Political Science, International Policy Fellow – OSI Budapest, at Warsaw School of Economics he was involved in research and expertise on local self-governance, state institutions and democracy, he has more than 20 years of experience in learning and development of youth and adults, works as trainer and mentor, cooperated with Bullerbyn Foundation for Community of Children and Adults, within the National School of Public Administration he stimulates innovative and interactive approaches to training and education in the public sector. He is enthusiast of life-long learning which happens anywhere.

Marcin Sakowicz, Ph.D.
Marcin Sakowicz, Ph.D.
Research Advisor
Sandra Užule - Fons, Ph.D.
Sandra Užule – Fons, Ph.D.
Executive Editor
sandra.uzule@holisticthinktank.com
Sandra Užule - Fons, Ph.D.
Sandra Užule – Fons, Ph.D.
Executive Editor
Maksymilian Woch, Ph.D.
Maksymilian Woch, Ph.D.
Author, Senior Researcher
maksymilian.woch@holisticthinktank.com

Maksymilian holds a doctorate in antropology. His interests relate to the study of various aspects of human culture, mainly those related to changes in the area of spirituality and religiosity, both in its individual and social dimensions. he collaborates with KPSC JU (Cracow, Poland), where he conducts academic classes in various subjects.
Maksymilian admits: “I think the key to a more meaningful life is a greater openness to mutual understanding, which is intercultural and goes beyond individual worldviews. This way, there is a chance to find what binds us together in one global community”.

Maksymilian Woch, Ph.D.
Maksymilian Woch, Ph.D.
Author, Senior Researcher
Anna Wiatr, Ph.D.
Anna Wiatr, Ph.D.
Researcher
anna.wiatr@holisticthinktank.com

Anna Wiatr, Ph.D.
Anna Wiatr, Ph.D.
Researcher
Karolina Czopek
Karolina Czopek
Researcher
karolina.czopek@holisticthinktank.com

A linguist, qualitative researcher and language teacher who has been working with learners of all ages. She co-authored numerous scientific publications in the field of applied linguistics and anthropology. As a Ph.D. student at the University of Warsaw and a firm believer in the power of education, she currently investigates how the experience of learning in late adulthood affects one’s self-beliefs.

Karolina Czopek
Karolina Czopek
Researcher
Jarosław Kordziński
Jarosław Kordziński
Advisor, Author
contact@holisticthinktank.com

Jarosław Kordziński
Jarosław Kordziński
Advisor, Author
Iswar Chandra Naik, Ph.D.
Iswar Chandra Naik, Ph.D.
Local Research Coordinator (India)
contact@holisticthinktank.com
Iswar Chandra Naik, Ph.D.
Iswar Chandra Naik, Ph.D.
Local Research Coordinator (India)
Colette Aoun, Ph.D.
Colette Aoun, Ph.D.
Local Research Coordinator (Lebanon)
colette.aoun@holisticthinktank.com
Colette Aoun, Ph.D.
Colette Aoun, Ph.D.
Local Research Coordinator (Lebanon)
Paweł Rogaliński, Ph.D.
Paweł Rogaliński, Ph.D.
Local Research Coordinator (Philippines), Local Research Coordinator (UAE)
contact@holisticthinktank.com
Paweł Rogaliński, Ph.D.
Paweł Rogaliński, Ph.D.
Local Research Coordinator (Philippines), Local Research Coordinator (UAE)
Deusa Maria Santana
Deusa Maria Santana
Local Research Coordinator (Brasil)
deusa.santana@holisticthinktank.com
Deusa Maria Santana
Deusa Maria Santana
Local Research Coordinator (Brasil)
Maryanne Hasea
Maryanne Hasea
Local Research Coordinator (Kenya)
Maryanne.Hasea@holisticthinktank.com
Maryanne Hasea
Maryanne Hasea
Local Research Coordinator (Kenya)
Richard Cilliers
Richard Cilliers
Local Research Coordinator (RPA)
Richard.Cilliers@holisticthinktank.com
Richard Cilliers
Richard Cilliers
Local Research Coordinator (RPA)
Yeonhee Gwak
Yeonhee Gwak
Local Research Coordinator (South Korea)
Yeonhee.Gwak@holisticthinktank.com
Yeonhee Gwak
Yeonhee Gwak
Local Research Coordinator (South Korea)
Mercy Mhlaba
Mercy Mhlaba
Local Research Coordinator (Zimbabwe)
Mercy.Mhlaba@holisticthinktank.com
Mercy Mhlaba
Mercy Mhlaba
Local Research Coordinator (Zimbabwe)
Luisa Alejandra Tello Pérez
Luisa Alejandra Tello Pérez
Local Research Coordinator (USA)
contact@holisticthinktank.com
Luisa Alejandra Tello Pérez
Luisa Alejandra Tello Pérez
Local Research Coordinator (USA)
Carmen Stevens
Carmen Stevens
Field Research (UAE)
contact@holisticthinktank.com
Carmen Stevens
Carmen Stevens
Field Research (UAE)
Nyoman Agus Indrawan
Nyoman Agus Indrawan
Field Research (Philippines)
contact@holisticthinktank.com
Nyoman Agus Indrawan
Nyoman Agus Indrawan
Field Research (Philippines)
Jan Cieślak
Jan Cieślak
Field Research (Poland)
contact@holisticthinktank.com
Jan Cieślak
Jan Cieślak
Field Research (Poland)
Ewa Wojciechowska
Ewa Wojciechowska
Researcher
ewa.wojciechowska@holisticthinktank.com
Ewa Wojciechowska
Ewa Wojciechowska
Researcher
We’re always on the lookout for new collaborators. Do not hesitate & send us your cv!