Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

The Cultivation of Wisdom in the Classroom

Juliane Reams

Abstract: This article focuses on a research project that was designed to inquire into the cultivation of wisdom in the classroom in the context of a newly implemented school subject called Glück (English: happiness). Glück was introduced in order to make a difference in traditional mainstream schooling as a reaction to school curricula that emphasize data and knowledge transfer. It is different and new because it embraces the kind of learning that includes the senses, the mind, body, spirit and the guts. Its multidimensional approach makes an attempt to validate a renunciation of the reductionistic perspective of traditional and contemporary schooling. How it is implemented served as a transformational process through a set of experiential exercises, group discussions, contemplative practices, teamwork etc. It is my aim to give an insight into what I understood as an alternative learning arena embedded in a traditional schooling system and the implications for further development beyond the transfer of data and information in adolescents. Zooming in on Glück, I aim to provide some perspectives on how key experiences and the reflection upon them can lead to the cultivation of wisdom.

The understanding of cultivating wisdom I have gained from this study is that it is a dynamic process where the creation of new structures of meaning making emerge through the interaction with others, with oneself and the reflection upon one’s own interior processes that can help unfold, know how to use and refine tacit knowledge. Part of this process is actively discovering and transforming complex information in order to embody it and make it one’s own.

Due to the assumption that traditional schooling mostly puts an emphasis on conveying informational knowledge (Hart, 2009; Sternberg, 2001) (to the more or less attentive) students and another assumption that wisdom is often seen in connection to age, this article makes an attempt to give an alternative perspective. In this article I propose a synergistic model of the interior process that enables the activation of tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge and the development of age-appropriate wisdom in stages in due consideration of the nature and life tasks of adolescence.

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