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Title: Holistic education : its philosophical underpinnings and practical application
Author: Hansen, Ulcca Joshi
ISNI:       0000 0000 4760 0928
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2007
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The holistic education (HE) movement is loosely organised across the globe through organisational networks and particular schooling philosophies such as Montessori and Waldorf/Steiner. Movement actors define themselves in juxtaposition to what they see as public educational establishments with very different values. Given HE’s predisposition to emphasise many of the personal and social aspects of student growth that critics of mainstream schooling find lacking within the conventional education system, there has been a growing interest in ways to make these approaches more widely available within the state system. This study begins by examining the philosophical underpinnings of the holistic worldview and its implications for education through an analysis of the work of the three main HE thinker/practitioners, Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner and Jiddu Krishnamurti. It goes on to examine how HE ideas parallel and can be understood through the lens of the absolute idealist framework in a way that allows for a more critical examination of holistic theory and practice. With regard to the aims of education, one of HE’s defining characteristics is the emphasis it places on the development of persons through the vehicle of community and relationships. The holistic philosophy affects the work of schools in five main areas: growth as a person, development of community, notions of authority and discipline, the development of knowledge and understanding (curriculum), and modes of teaching and assessment. All of these areas are examined in turn. The study concludes with an examination of the challenges involved in implementing holistic principles and practices in a state school through a case study of an English secondary school which has been adopting a holistic model. The school’s experiences, including the results of a state inspection by Ofsted during its second year, provide some insight into the process for other schools wishing to adopt a holistic model; these include, the importance of working with a coherent theoretical framework including specific principles for practice, and of engaging in particular approaches to professional development. The school’s experience also demonstrates the need for changes to be made to the Ofsted inspection process if the government is serious about supporting schools adopting innovative approaches to education.
Supervisor: Pring, Richard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ontology ; Human-centered education ; Ofsted ; Learner-centered education ; Krishnamurti ; Waldorf ; Epistemology ; Holistic education ; Steiner ; Philosophy of Education ; Montessori ; Personhood