Paul Howson’s Website

Personal Reflections

Four Podcasts: “Total Education Conversations”

In 2010, Richard Waters and I collaborated on the production of a podcast titled “Total Education Conversations”.

Four episodes of the podcast were produced and published on the website of The School of Total Education (SOTE) in Warwick, Queensland, where Richard was the longstanding Principal (subsequent to being Principal at the original Melbourne School of Total Education in the late 1970s).

Our goal with the podcast was to attract an audience of people with an interest in education and in schools which have a spiritual/holistic philosophy. We felt that the practical experience that had been gained through creating and running such a school for 35 years meant that Richard and the team at SOTE were well-qualified to conduct such a podcast.

The podcasts remained on the school’s website for about ten years until the website was re-developed circa 2020. By that time Richard had retired as Principal and these interviews were probably seen as belonging to the past.

Nevertheless, they document some of the SOTE philosophy from that time and convey messages which remain relevant today.

I am re-publishing the interviews here, together with the original explanatory texts which accompanied them.

Program 4 — December 2012

The Soul of Education

The Passageworks Institute in Boulder, Colorado in the USA, was founded by Rachael Kessler, educationalist and author of the book, “The Soul of Education”. Richard Waters speaks with Laura Weaver and Batya Greenwald, from Passageworks, about their work, and their understanding of “The Soul of Education”. Topics covered include:

  • What does “The Soul of Education” mean?
  • The work of the Passageworks Institute.
  • The concept of “deep connection” and the importance of the teacher-student relationship.
  • What can schools do to foster a positive sense of community?
  • Ways to help adolescents feel safe to talk about themselves.
  • Shortcomings of the “one size fits all” approach to education and over-emphasis on test scores.
  • Student well-being.
  • Transition to adulthood — risk taking and “initiation”.
  • Precursors to unlocking creativity in children.

Duration: 35 minutes.

Listen Now: Click the play button on the audio player:

Download: Click here to download an mp3 (25MB).

Program 3 — October 2012

Jan Dugan and Jan Gudkovs — The Focused Child

Richard Waters speaks with Jan Dugan and Jan Gudkovs, authors of a new book titled “The Focused Child — How Yoga Can Help You Raise Happy, Healthy, Contented Children”. In today’s society, with escalating rates of learning and concentration problems, mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, and physical health conditions like obesity and diabetes, the ancient science of Yoga has much to offer. Topics covered include:

  • What motivated the authors to write their book.
  • Contemporary causes of poor concentration.
  • Importance of health, energy and vitality for concentration.
  • Distractions to concentration from a Yoga perspective.
  • Role of parents in helping children develop concentration.
  • Importance of healthy relationships.
  • Positive factors which bring about a state of concentration.

Duration: 38 minutes.

Listen Now: Click the play button on the audio player:

Download: Click here to download an mp3 (27MB).

Program 2 — February 2011

Michael Funder — Reflections of a SOTE Teacher

Michael Funder has been a teacher at the School of Total Education for over 30 years. For 20 of those years, Michael worked under the guidance of the school’s founder, Vijayadev Yogendra. Michael has a wealth of experience both as a teacher, and as a parent — with two children of his own who attended and graduated from the school. In this interview, which was recorded in February 2010, Michael talks about the following topics:

  • The reasons SOTE was originally established.
  • Innateness.
  • The deeper purpose of education.
  • The role of parents in the educational process.
  • Nurturing the spirit or soul in education.
  • Benefits of teachers working collaboratively.

Duration: 21 minutes.

Listen Now: Click the play button on the audio player:

Download: Click here to download an mp3 (20MB).

Program 1 — November 2010

Satish Kumar — Small Schools and Nurturing the Spirit in Education

Richard Waters speaks to Satish Kumar, author and founder of the Small School in Hartland, UK. Satish Kumar is also the editor of Resurgence magazine, founder of Schumacher College in the UK and featured in the BBC television series “Earth Pilgrim”. Satish Kumar visited the School of Total Education in 2007. This discussion (recorded in April 2010) covers the following topics:

  • Early influences on Satish Kumar’s educational philosophy.
  • The benefits of small schools.
  • Nurturing the spirit in education.
  • Ways to foster innateness and creativity in children.
  • The origins of Schumacher College.
  • Balancing government requirements with small school philosophy.

Duration: 41 minutes.

Listen Now: Click the play button on the audio player:

Download: Click here to download an mp3 (39MB).