krishnamurti – teachers

spontaneous human beings

from Krishnamurti’s – significance of life – broken into parts: peaceparentsteachers(this page), intelligence, integration

It is only when we begin to understand the deep significance of human life that there can be true education; but to understand, the mind must intelligently free itself from the desire for reward which breeds fear and conformity. If we regard our children as personal property, if to us they are the continuance of our petty selves and the fulfilment of our ambitions then we shall build an environment, a social structure in which there is no love, but only the pursuit of self-centred advantages.

By being fully aware of ourselves in all our relationships we shall begin to discover those confusions and limitations within us of which we are now ignorant; and in being aware of them, we shall understand and so dissolve them. Without this awareness and the self-knowledge which it brings, any reform in education or in other fields will only lead to further antagonism and misery.

talk to self daily 

But it is of the utmost importance that all the teachers in a school [city] of this kind should come together voluntarily, without being persuaded or chosen; for voluntary freedom from worldliness is the only right foundation for a true educational centre. If the teachers are to help one another and the students to understand right values, there must be constant and alert awareness in their daily relationship.

perhaps 1 to 8 ratio – everyone known by someone

One may doubt that a school can be run without a central authority; but one really does not know, because it has never been tried [in the city, as the day]. Surely, in a group of true educators, this problem of authority will never arise. When all are endeavouring to be free and intelligent, cooperation with one another is possible at all levels. To those who have not given themselves over deeply and lastingly to the task of the right education, the lack of a central authority may appear to be an impractical theory; but if one is completely dedicated to right education, then one does not require to be urged, directed or controlled.

If one does not understand the psychological implications fo obedience, merely to decide not to follow authority will only lead to confusion. Such confusion is not due to the absence of authority, but to the lack of deep and mutual interest in right education.

If teachers (anyone) are not sure of their own vocation and interest, there is bound to be envy and antagonism among them, and they will expend whatever energies they have over trifling details and wasteful bidkering; whereas, irritations and superficial disagreements will quickly be passed over if there is a burning interest in bringing about the right kind of education. Then the details which loom so large assume their normal proportions, friction and personal antagonisms are seen to be vain and destructive, and all talks and discussions help one to find out what is right and not who is right.

To study each child requires patience, alertness and intelligence. To observe the child’s tendencies, his aptitudes, his temperament, to understand his difficulties, to take in to account his heredity and parental influence and not merely regard him as belonging to a certain category – all this calls for a  swift and pliable mind, untrammelled by any system or prejudice. It calls for skill, intense interest and, above all, a sense of affection; to produce educators endowed with these qualities is one of our major problems today.

But what about guidance? Should there be no uidance whatsoever? The answer to this question depends on what is meant by ‘guidance.’ If in their hearts the teachers have put away all fear and all desire for domination, then they can help the student towards creative understanding and freedom; but if there is a conscious or unconscious desire to guide him towards a particular goal, then obviously they are hindering his development. Guidance towards a particular objective, whether created by oneself [yr 2 finding – even when kids write their own curriculum – too directive to account for integration/whimsy/et al] or imposed by another, impairs creativeness.

spontaneous human beings

If there is love and freedom in the hearts of the teachers themselves, they will approach each student mindful of his needs and difficulties; and then they will not be mere automatons, operating according to methods and formulas, but spontaneous human beings, ever alert and watchful.

Instead of being the most honoured and responsible occupation, education is now considered slightingly, and most educators are fixed in a routine. They are not really concerned with integration and intelligence, but with the imparting of information; and a man who merely imparts information with the world crashing about him is not an educator.

An educator is not merely a giver of information; he is one who points the way to wisdom, to truth. Truth is far more important than the teacher. The search for truth is religion, and truth is of no country, of no creed, it is not to be found in any temple, church or mosque. Without the search for truth, society soon decays. To create a new society, each one of us has to be a true teacher, which means that we have to be both the pupil and the master; we have to educate ourselves.

If a new social order is to be established, those who teach merely to earn a salary can obviously have no place as teachers. To regard education as a means of livelihood is to exploit the children for one’s own advantage. In an enlightened society, teachers will have no concern for their own welfare, and the community will provide for their needs.  – Bucky

The true teacher is not he who has build up an impressive educational organization, nor he who is an instrument of the politicians, nor he who is bound to an idea, a belief or a country. The true teacher is inwardly rich and therefore asks nothing for himself; he is not ambitious and seeks no power in any form; he does not use teaching as a means of acquiring position or authority, and therefore he is free from the compulsion of society and the control of governments. Such teachers have the  primary place in an enlightened civilization, for true culture is founded, no on the engineers and technicians, but on the educators.

The right kind of education begins with the educator, who must understand himself and be free from established patters of thought; for what he is, that he imparts. If he has not been rightly educated, what can he teach except the same mechanical knowledge on which he himself has been brought up? The problem, therefore, is not the child, but the parent an the teacher; the problem s to educate the educator.

The pupil is there to be guided and helped but if the guide, the helper is himself confused and narrow, nationalistic and theory-ridden, then naturally his pupil will be what he is, and education becomes a source of further confusion and strife.

intelligence via integration graphic

If we see the truth of this, we will realize how important it is that we begin to educate ourselves rightly. To be concerned with our own re-education is farm more necessary than to worry about the future well-being in and security of the child.

To educate the educator – that is, to have him understand himself – is one o fo the most difficult undertakings, because most of us are already crystallized within a system of thought or a pattern of action; we have already given ourselves over to some ideology, to a religion, or to a particular standard of conduct. That is why we teach the child what to think and not how to think.

Moreover, parents and teachers are largely occupied with their own conflicts and sorrows. Rich or poor, most parents are absorbed in their personal worries and trials. They are not gravely concerned aout the present social and moral deterioration, but only desire that their children shall be equipped to get on in the world. They are anxious about the future of their children, eager to have them educated to hold secure position, or to marry well.

Being absorbed n their own problems, many parents shift to the teacher the responsibility for the well-being of their children; and then it is important that the educator help in the education of the parents as well.

He must talk to them, explaining that the confused state of the world mirrors their own individual confusion. H must point out that scientific progress in itself cannot bring about a radical change in exiting values; that technical training, which is not called education, has not given man freedom or made him any happier; and that to condition the student to accept the present environment is not conducive to intelligence He must tell them what he is attempting to do for their child, and how he is setting about it. He has to awaken the parents’ confidence, not by assuming the authority of a specialist dealing with ignorant laymen, but by talking over with them the child’s temperament, difficulties, aptitudes and so on.

Enlightened teachers in an enlightened community could work out this problem of how to bring up children, and experiments along these lines should be made on a small scale by interested teachers and thoughtful parents.

The first thing a teacher must ask himself, when he decides that he want to teach, is what exactly he means by teaching. Is he going to teach the usual subjects in the habitual way? Does he want to condition the child to become a cog in the social machine, or help him to be an integrated, creative human being, a threat to false values? And if the educator is to help the student to examine and understand the values and influences that surround him and of which he is a part, must he not be aware of them himself? If one is blind, can one help others to cross to the other shore?

Surely, the teacher himself must first begin to see. He must be constantly alert, intensely aware of his own thoughts and feelings, aware of the way in which he is conditioned, aware of his activities and his responses; for out of this watchfulness comes intelligence, and with it a radical transformation in his relationship to people and to things.

Intelligence has nothing to do with the passing of examinations. Intelligence is the spontaneous perception which makes a man strong and free. To awaken intelligence in a child, we must begin to understand for ourselves what intelligence is; for how can we ask a child to be intelligent if we ourselves remain unintelligent in so many ways? The problem is not only the student’s difficulties, but also our own; the cumulative fears, unhappiness and frustrations of which we are not free. In order to help the child to be intelligent, we have to break down within ourselves those hindrances which make us dull and thoughtless.

entirley vulnerable to life

How can we teach children not to seek personal security if we ourselves are pursuing it? What hope is there for the child if we who are parents and teachers are not entirely vulnerable to life, if we erect protective walls around ourselves? To discover the true significance of this struggle for security, which is causing such chaos in the world, we must begin to awaken our own intelligence by being aware of our psychological processes; we must begin to question all the values which now enclose us.

We should not continue to fit thoughtlessly in to the pattern in which we happen to have been brought up. How can there ever be harmony in the individual and so in society if we do not understand ourselves? Unless the educator understands himself, unless he sees his own conditioned responses and is beginning to free himself from existing values, how can he possibly awaken intelligence in the child? And if he cannot awaken intelligence in the child, then what is his function?

Very few of us observe our won thoughts and feelings. If they are obviously ugly, we do not understand their full significance, but merely try to check them or push them aside. We are not deeply aware of ourselves; our thoughts and feelings are stereotyped, automatic. We learn a few subjects, gather some information, and then try to pass it on to the children.

But that is the difficulty: to find teachers who are not themselves the prey of some kind of fear. Fear narrows down thought and limits initiative, and a teacher who is fearful obviously cannot convey the deep significance of being without fear. Like goodness, fear is contagious. If the educator is secretly afraid, he will pass that fear on to his students, although its contamination may not be immediately seen.

Suppose, for example, that a teacher is afraid of public opinion; he sees the absurdity of his fear, and yet cannot go beyond it. What is he to do? He can at least acknowledge it to himself, and can help his students to understand fear by bringing out his own psychological reaction and openly talking it over with them. This honest and sincere approach will greatly encourage the students to be equally open and direct with themselves and with the teacher.

Example and compulsion in any form do not help to bring about freedom, and it is only in freedom that there can be self-discovery and insight.

partial freedom

Domination and compulsion of any kinds is a direct hindrance to freedom and intelligence. The right kind of educator has no authority, no power in society; he is beyond the edicts and sanctions fo society. If we are to help the student to be free from his hindrances, which have been created by himself and by his environment, then every form of compulsion and domination must be understood and put aside; and this cannot be done if the educator is not also freeing himself from all crippling authority. 

To follow another, however great, prevents the discovery of the ways of the self; to run after the promise of some ready-made Utopia makes the mind utterly unaware of the enclosing action of its own desire for comfort, for authority, for someone else’s help. The priest, the politician, the lawyer, the soldier, are all there to “help” us; but such help destroys intelligence and freedom. The help we need does not lie outside ourselves. We do not have to beg for help; it comes without our seeking it when we are humble in our dedicated work, when we are open to the understanding of our daily trials and accidents.

We must avoid the conscious or unconscious craving for support and encouragement, for such craving creates its own response, which is always gratifying. It is comforting to have someone to encourage us, to give us a lead, to pacify us; but this habit of turning to another as a guide, as an authority, soon becomes a poison in our system. The moment we depend on another for guidance, we forget our original intention, which was to awaken individual freedom and intelligence.

All authority is a hindrance, and it is essential that the educator should not become an authority for the student.

The student is uncertain, groping, but the teacher is sure in his knowledge, strong in his experience. The strength and certainty of the teacher give assurance to the student who tends to bask in that sunlight; but such assurance is neither lasting nor true. A teacher who consciously or unconsciously encourages dependence can never be of great help to his students. He may overwhelm them with his knowledge, dazzle them with his personality, but he is not the right kind of educator because his knowledge and experiences are his addiction, his security, his prison; and until he himself is free of them, he cannot help his students to be integrated human beings.

To be the right kind of educator, a teacher must constantly be freeing himself from books and laboratories; he must ever be watchful to see that the students do not make of him an example, an ideal, an authority. When the teacher desires to fultil himself in his students, when their success is his, then his teaching is a form of self-continuation, which is detrrimental to self-knowledge and freedom. The right kind of educator must be aware of all these hindrances in order to help his students to be free, not only from his authority, but from their own self-enclosing pursuits.

Unfortunately, when it comes to understandinga problem, most teachers do not treat the student as an equal partner; from their superior postition, they give instsructions to the pupil, who is far below them. Such a relationship only strengthens fear in both the teacher and the student. What creates this unequial relationship? Is it that the teacher is afraid of being found out? Does he keep a dignified distance to guard his susceptibilities, hid importance? Such superior aloofness in no way helps to break down the barriers that separate individuals. After all, the educator and his pupil are helping each other to educate themselves.

People who have no academic degrees often make the best teachers because they are willing to experiment; not being specialists, they are interested in learning, in understanding life. For the true teacher, teaching is not a technique, it is his way of life; like a great artist, he would rather starve than give up his creative work. Unless one has this burnign desire to teach, one should not be a teacher. It is of utmost importance that on e discover for oneself whether one has this gift, and not merely drift into teaching because it is a means of livelihood.

As long as teaching is only a progessions, a means of livelihood, and no a dedicated vocation, thre iss bound to be a wide gap between the world and ourselves: our home life and our work rem

p. 83

[all above from Jiddu Krishnamurti, Significance of Life]

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more: expert in the room, usefully preoccupied, a uni’s mentor ecosystem, expert individual tutor, …

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