20 September 2022

Holistic approach in education


A list compiled by the Holistc Thnik Tank researchers – Jan Bazyli Klakla and Katarzyna Pająk-Załęska – based on preliminary analyses and discation. The list is a central point for the think tank for further research on education and schools worldwide.

Schools should 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 solving it 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 the already acquired knowledge and skills/competencies;
  • collection and ordering of data, that is, reaching data from all available sources, ordering them logically to facilitate their further analysis;  
  • critical thinking, which encompasses the practical skills at finding and interpreting information, reasoning, and competencies of proper judgement related thereto.

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

  • searching out patterns, reasoning abstractly, and creating models, especially schema finding, pinpointing regularities and repetitive sequences of patterns occurring in a notion, as well as being able to present data that are of the essence while eliminating inessential data 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 of how the continuation process and change happen along with their relation with the present and the future; 
  • sustaining, tending to, and distributing justly both natural and cultural resources, which means being aware of the common good and responsible for the world, in particular into conscious choices and acts aimed at the common good;
  • making choices based on the common good, therefore based on empathy and sustainable usage of natural resources, as well as cooperation with nature.

The ideas of science and scholarship, including especially:

  • respect for scientific and scholarly achievements, namely, to hold in high regard the truth, scientific facts, and the research heritage while remaining open to the new developments;
  • how to analyze sources, namely, how to understand the context in which facts are presented but also the possibility of their different interpretation relative to the standpoint or perspective being assumed;
  • positive attitude towards learning and the attitude of openness in relation to new experiences, which should translate into discovering gaps in one’s own knowledge, based on which the new developmental goals are then set, in addition to the attitude of lifelong learning in accordance with which acquiring knowledge is a process both changeable and dynamic;
  • knowledge empowering one to think and act autonomously in a given field while becoming the source of further knowledge, namely, how to use knowledge independently and seek further knowledge instead of deriving it from the others’ testimonies.
  • self-regulated learning, namely, self-reliant and efficient planning, estimating, forecasting, and noticing capabilities in oneself and being able to decide which of them are useful.

How to function in society. In particular they should emphasize:

  • participation, that is, an active engagement in educational process, where an active individual becomes co-responsible for their development and thereby also for other social processes;
  • respect, that is, appreciation of variety of opinions and beliefs, regard for different cultures and religions, for human rights, justice etc.
  • reflection, that is, the ability to contribute to society accompanied by critical approach; being capable of a well thought-out and responsible participation in economic, social, cultural, and political life, as well as to present a critical stance towards the ruling yet transient/changeable values, the ability to order them hierarchically;
  • the ways to deal with conflicts, that is, solutions workable and beneficial for all the involved, the wise use of others’ assistance, ability to admit one’s own mistakes and errors, being understanding towards others’ stances, and preventing the deepening of divisions;
  • recognition of bias and privilege, that is, recognizing one’s prejudices and the ability to pinpoint privilege in both oneself and others, including in the everyday institutional functioning, as well as the impact of the foregoing on society and its internal dynamics and relationships.

Aesthetic and cultural education/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 various shades of meaning and different values;
  • aesthetic competencies, especially the contexts of language usage; how to transfer the language aesthetic qualities associated with higher art unto one’s everyday language;
  • sound (or: phonological) awareness, which means using the full potential of sounds to mark mathematical and material similarities and differences and qualities of subjects one deals with;
  • conversation analysis (CA), that is, being capable of recognizing the aesthetic facet of non-verbal communication comprising gestures, facial expression or countenance, therefore noticing the bodily aspects that allow to more fully acknowledge 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).

How to function in variety. In particular they should teach:

  • how to deal with differences, therefore, the knowledge of cultural differences and of the rules of behaviour in various social situations, including unfamiliar ones; the 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 its particular processes – political, social, economic and the other that shape it; connecting the global issues with their corresponding local dimension;
  • global literacy, that is, understanding people from other cultures who speak other languages and being able to interact and cooperate with them;
  • effective and constructive interaction 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 system and structural inequalities, as well as power relations that sustain in 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, which allow to include common good and shared social interest in making one’s decisions, such as: solidarity, the sense of belonging, being protective towards environmental and cultural heritage, non-discrimination;  
  • democratic actions, that is, an ability to be empowered while interacting with political authorities, participating in civil society; being able to initiate changes, activism.

Entrepreneurship, including especially:

  • financial decision-making, particularly, the tools indispensable when making wise financial decisions along with analytical competencies;
  • being proactive, namely, single-handedly initiating activities and remaining accountable for them;
  • planning, that is, dividing learning and future endeavours into periods and portions determined by adequately set aims;
  • hope, that is, envisioning the future in such a way that it motivates one to follow through with endeavours;
  • tenacity, that is, perseverance in one’s endeavours and pursuits.

Entrepreneurship, including especiallInterpersonal communication. In particular, they should teach:

  • communication skills and ability to change perspectives, that is, getting both one’s intentions and actions across whilst communication 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 our communities, being capable of effective conflict resolution and to assume different perspectives;    
  • how to properly verbalize one’s thoughts, that is, making use of adequate terminology to verbalize discovered meanings and communicate them to others, thereby passing them on; 
  • understanding language culture, that is, the place and significance of a given language as an element of particular culture; acknowledging the advantages of a given language and deploying them in different contexts, as well as recognizing linguistic cultural codes.

Self-development, including especially:

  • how to attain the state of anticipatory emptiness, namely, the readiness to accept a surprising meaning, an attitude of openness to development and discoveries, narratives, and non-obvious interpretations; openness with no preconceived aim; mindfulness;
  • how to be humane, which means causing no harm, 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 variability, variety, and individual rate of development based on multitude of patterns; 
  • self-assessment and self-evaluation, that is, how to draw conclusions, learn from negative experiences, and display healthy attitude to one’s losses and defeats, in addition to openness to feedback;
  • self-awareness, which should translate into being an individual capable of making judgements, keeping promises, reasoning, and articulating one’s thoughts by means of spoken language or otherwise, as well as of self-transcending and perceiving oneself as an element of a greater whole; preventing alienation of a human being from nature;
  • intellectual humility, that is, the ability to doubt one’s own knowledge without discrediting what one has already learnt;
  • how to remain life-oriented, namely, how to orient oneself toward broadly-understood life in favour of narrowly-minded pursuit of professional career.