Academic journal article The International Schools Journal

Transforming K-12 Educational Institutions: The Global Morfosis Paradigm (gMp)

Academic journal article The International Schools Journal

Transforming K-12 Educational Institutions: The Global Morfosis Paradigm (gMp)

Article excerpt

K-12 academic institutions hold the power to transform the world. They can play a leading role in shaping and preparing young people to cope with and be productive members of an increasingly global society. Assuming such a role requires continuous attention to being aware of the tremendous influence institutions have on students and the responsibility that accompanies the relevant mindset. As we have previously stated (2008) the educational experiences students receive in K-12 schools are closely linked to their learning outcomes and to the opportunities they have, but they are also closely linked to their ability to interact with the world around them. As educators we must ask ourselves, what should education address today that is different from the past? It is a question that we address in the present article.

To begin with it would be a grand omission to neglect reference to the work of John Dewey. 'For Dewey, the purpose of education is to develop agents for social reform' (Livingston, 2003 p.9). Education therefore must reconsider experiential learning and socialization. Socialization refers to the individual's acting for the community in ways that are useful for society. (Childs 1967). Dewey was not a strong advocate of theoretical knowledge, focusing instead on practical 'action' via class projects that would ignite student's 'social spirit' (Rand 1971). John Dewey (1933) advocated the role of teachers as Action Researchers and active reflectors of their work so that they engage in problem solving across the school rather than only in the classroom and thus become example citizens for students.

Grounded in the traditional work of John Dewey, the well known Humanistic Psychologist, Abraham Maslow, developed a widely known theory of human behavior and motivation based on a Hierarchy of Needs largely because of his dissatisfaction with pathology based theories. Instead he expressed an optimistic view of human beings as capable of knowing right from wrong, guided by a higher good and capable of expressing values such as love, truth and beauty (1943a, 1970a). Maslow was interested in what was right with individuals not with what was wrong. The idea of holism is central in Humanistic Psychology with emphasis on subjective experience, freedom of choice and responsibility (Meyer et al, 2003). Maslow (1970b, p.88) described humans as 'perpetually wanting animals' because as 'one desire is satisfied, another one pops up'.

I wanted to prove that human beings are capable of something grander than war and prejudice and hatred (Maslow, Psychology Today, 1968 (2), p.55).

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs addresses firstly the basic needs for human beings. Humans have the need to be safe, to belong, to be loved, the need for self-respect, the need to know and understand and ultimately the need for self-actualization. Self-actualization cannot ever be achieved if basic needs are not first met. Self-actualization refers to each individual's ability to reach their full potential. Every individual has this potential at birth but it is often thwarted by conditions and circumstance, such as poverty and war, particularly in early childhood. Maslow's theory has been extensively used in the field of psychology since the 1940s but in the 1060s the theory gained popularity within the business sector as well (Steers and Porter, 1987). In relation to this article, one of Maslow's significant contributions is his idea of an Eupsychian society. Greek in origin, the word means Eu, (good/euphoria) and psych (mind or soul). Maslow discussed the Eupsychian society as 'the Good society', which would be made up of 'psychologically healthy or mature or selfactualizing people' (Lanchman, 2013). 'Once people satisfy their basic needs, they are capable of reaching optimal health or being fully human.'

Likewise, the psychologist Alfred Adler describes self-actualizers as having deep feelings of identification, sympathy and affection, despite negative feelings such as anger, occasionally. …

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