International Foundation for Holistic Education was founded in 1992
by Dr. Ramon Gallegos Nava in Guadalajara, Mexico, to spread holistic
education in Mexico and Latin America as a response to a current crisis
in environmental degradation due to a mechanicist education which has
trained human beings to have a predatory consciousness. The Fundacion
seeks the emergence of a new planetary consciousness through a new educational
paradigm of wholeness and nature, that allows us to teach human beings
to live together in a responsible way in sustainable communities. To
overcome predatory consciousness based on greed, materialism, and self-centeredness,
the Foundation believes that it is important to know our true nature
as human beings. The core of holistic education is our genuine spirituality
- understanding this in a non-dogmatic way. Spirituality is our true
nature which leads us to have a sentiment of gratitude for life and
reverence for our planet in which we live. Holistic education is a pedagogy
of universal love towards all beings.The International Foundation
for Holistic Education organises an annual international conference
on Holistic Education in Mexico.
He is doctor in education. International
Award “Book of the year 2001”, National Award “ANUIES 1996”. Founder
of the International Foundation for Holistic Education. Worldwide
recognized as an eminent holistic educator and perennial philosopher.
Pioneer and creator of the new holistic education paradigm. Dr.
Gallegos has published fourteen books such as: “Holistic Education”,
and “The spirit of education”. His extraordinary holistic vision
has introduced thousands of educators and professionals to a new
consciousness that honors the life in the Earth.
Multi-dimensional Multi-level Perspective of Holistic Education: An
Ramon Gallegos Nava presented a multidimensional multilevel model of
holistic education at the 8th International Holistic Education Conference
in Guadalajara, Mexico, November 2000. Multi-Dimensional Perspectives
of Holistic Education Dr Ramon Gallegos Nava describes at least six
dimensions of thinking and expression that should be taken into account
in teaching and learning:
These dimensions of thinking and expression could be mapped against
literacies or intelligences of the whole person from other models. The
point is that in this model holistic education attempts to consider
the full range of thinking, learning and expression of the whole person.
Thought processes, the capacity to reason logically.
All learning happens in a social context of shared meaning.
All learning is accompanied by an emotional state which can
greatly affect the learning outcome.
or Physical: All learning occurs in a physical body. Mind-body
harmony is an important element in the quality of learning.
Beauty is a key aspect of human existence. Artistic expression
of inner life is key to a happy life.
The total and direct experience of universal love that establishes
a sense of compassion, fraternity and peace towards all beings.
A Multi-level Perspective of Holistic Education: An Integrated Model
second aspect of this model of integral education is that of the levels
of awareness and being of the whole person:
to Dr Ramon Gallegos Nava:In a multilevel vision of education we begin
to integrate different pedagogies into a global map. This allows us
to see with clarity the fact that education has at least five levels
and that these rest in a deep level of awareness and experience that
is kosmic or spiritual and which is fundamental to all genuine education.
spiritual level is inclusive of the individual, community, social and
environmental levels, but the spiritual level itself is not included
in the four lower levels of awareness and experience. For this reason
the holistic educator always keeps the spiritual level in mind when
working at any other level. This allows one to have a panoramic integral
vision of education that is inclusive of many complementary pedagogies.
education does not have this multilevel vision. Its vision is of a flat
territory of a single level in which many alternative pedagogies can
be seen as antagonistic towards one another because there is no inclusive
all pedagogical theory is focused at the levels of the individual, the
community and the society. The other two levels of awareness and experience
corresponding to the planet and the kosmos have little presence in educational
literature. Only recently has the planetary level received much attention
through ecoliteracy and environmental education and only recently has
the kosmic level of spirituality in education become the heart of study
for holistic educators who have begun to reconstruct the educational
looking at any lower level with respect to an upper level it is necessary
to remember that we are speaking of an expansion of awareness and experience.
One is not to discard pedagogy in the lower levels but to locate each
pedagogy in its appropriate place.
different pedagogical theories or theories of learning focus on only
one or two levels. Those theories that are focused on the first level
generate a serious educational reductionism. That is to say, they reduce
the five levels to a single one losing an integral vision. Critical
pedagogical thought is centered mainly at the social level as it attempts
to understand ideological and cultural problems but it is inadequate
to explain planetary, global and environmental problems, and completely
inadequate to understand the kosmic level of spirituality. When critical
pedagogy at the social level wants to judge the validity of spiritual
experience it commits a serious category error since these are different
levels of awareness and experience.
multidimensional vision allows us to begin to integrate components at
each level and to extend a unidimensional view of education and therefore
extend education beyond the mechanist or conventional. Of the six educative
dimensions the cognitive has generally been a primary focus to the degree
that all learning is basically considered to be a cognitive process
and the educational task almost exclusively an academic development
of 1ogic/mathematical abilities. This exclusively unidimensional cognitive
view has its origin in the philosophy of modernity and its corresponding
scientific-industrialist culture where reason is the faculty par excellence
in the human being. This emphasises factory and scientific views of
the human capacity to understand the world and has led to the design
of conventional educational systems that have implied, conscious or
unconsciously, that the student is like a robot that must assimilate
exclusively cognitive vision of learning is reductionistic and ignores
fundamental dimensions that to a large extent determine the quality
of the educative process. Education and learning cannot be reduced to
purely cognitive processes because the human being much more than a
cognitive process - much more than an instrument of rationality. Education
cannot be reduced to academic memorizing and intellectual, rational,
linguistic, linear and materialistic training. Education is a much greater
experience than all that - it is related to the total awareness and
experience of the child or the student.
in a multidimensional vision we include the emotional, social, aesthetic,
physical and spiritual we obtain a more integral understanding of learning.
Already Daniel Goleman has indicated the importance of the emotional
dimension in education emphasizing that it is a better indicator of
success in life than academic abilities, and Herbert Read has demonstrated
the centrality of the aesthetic dimension in all educative processes,
especially in children.
need to locate and to limit each pedagogy or theory of learning in its
correct place in this multidimensional vision. For example, Piaget was
a great investigator of the developmental stages of intelligence, but
his work does not have to be interpreted across all dimensions since
his study was limited to the cognitive dimension of learning and his
concept of intelligence was basically in the logical-mathematical area.
A Multi-dimensional Multi-level Perspective of Holistic Education: An
we now integrate the five levels of awareness and with the six dimensions
of thinking we have an integral model of kosmic education, where each
level includes the six dimensions already described, generating a holarchic map with thirty educational regions that go from the individual-physical
to the kosmic-spiritual.
model serves a practical purpose providing a global understanding of
different pedagogies which are harmoniously related in a coherent image
that allows us to observe the education territory and to act intelligently
on it. This model is important in showing holistic education as an integral
concept but it should not be seen as a definitive model of holistic
education - just a point to begin. The model honours diversity within
the unity across the plurality of levels and dimensions and gives a
more integral image of holistic education.
education that does not contemplate all five levels of awareness and
experience is necessarily reductionistic and cannot be seen as integral.
This happens generally when spirituality is rejected - usually with
the argument that it is not scientific. Holistic education opens up
crucial dimensions in learning. When learning is seen in a new extended
epistemological framework where science and spirituality are compatible,
no longer contradictory, science acquires human sensitivity and consciousness
becomes fundamental in the integration of the kosmos.
each one of the thirty regions in the map there is an educator or thinker
to give an example of that region. This does not mean that they are
limited to that region but only that this is their main area of work.
It was basically the point from which they saw education. All these
educators or thinkers generally explored two or three regions and some
others more, but in most cases moved horizontally and downwards - the
majority were not aware of levels above them and their greater complexity
is impossible in a single map to include all relevant educators and
thinkers. Each region has a single educator or thinker selected to represent
this point on the map. Some of these representatives are not considered
to be educators in the conventional sense but they have been included
if enough of their work is related to education. In this map of the
integral model we can see the contribution and the limitation of each
thinker, which gives us the possibility of integrating them, using the
principles of the holistic education and the eye of the spirit, to see
the depth or superficiality of each educator.
the first level of individual awareness and experience we have examples
of the physical dimension of thinking and expression with the North
American psychologist Skinner, who limits himself to an objective and
materialistic view of the human being. This basic view creates a superficial
understanding of learning, but even this is considered in holistic education
as long as it is seen in an holistic context. Considered at its appropriate
level and dimension the work of Skinner has its place.
aesthetic, social, cognitive and spiritual dimensions of this individual
or personal level can be illustrated with the work of Erik Erikson,
Jean Piaget, Carl Rogers, Herbert Read and Maria Montessori. These thinkers
complement each other when we locate them in this extended model of
2, corresponding to communal learning and community education, can
be exemplified in its six dimensions with Jacobo Russeau for the corporal
or natural dimension, John Dewey for the social dimension, Celestin
Freinet for the cognitive, Abraham Maslow for the emotional, Howard
Gardner for the aesthetic and Sam Keen for the spiritual dimension.
It is necessary to clarify at this point that we are not evaluating
their depth or superficiality, their errors or successes, but only their
place in the Kosmic holistic education map.
next level of awareness and experience, level 3, is social awareness that has been described by social educators and the sociology of the
education or critical pedagogy. In this third level we can illustrate
the six corresponding dimensions with the work of David Orr for the
physical or ecological dimension, Paulo Freire for the social dimension,
Vygotsky for the cognitive dimension, Daniel Goleman for the emotional
dimension, Rudolf Steiner for the aesthetic dimension and Fritjof Capra
for the spiritual dimension. With exception of Freire and Vygotsky the
other four had a clear vision of the importance of all six dimensions.
For this reason their locations are partly interchangeable - Orr, Kaufman,
Steiner and Capra are in fact pre-empting holistic education.
4, corresponding to the planetary level of awareness and experience,
is the area of environmental education - whose basic premise is to educate
to a think globally and act locally. Learning at this level has generally
been absent in education systems because in the past environmental and
global problems did not hit societies has hard as they do today.
environmental education began in the 70s at this early stage it wasn't
very successful because it was dominated by a political-popularist vision
which was based on the principles of mechanist science of the 17th century.
As we enter the 21st century a new vision is arising in environmental
education that is more holistic. The authors of this second phase are
used to illustrate the six dimensions of this level. We will continue
to use the concept of environmental education in spite of its failures
but also use the concept of planetary education which is similar. The
central point at this level is the understanding that the global processes
of the planet are understood as a Holon.
order to illustrate the dimensions at this level we refer to the work
of James Lovelock for the physical dimension, Peter Russell for the
social dimension, Edward T. Clark for the cognitive dimension, Joana
Macy for the emotional dimension, Buckminster Fuller for the aesthetic
dimension and Juan Amos Comenio for the spiritual dimension.
the 5th level of kosmic awareness and experience is taken care of
by spiritual education - the heart of holistic education. This level
has been excluded from education as much by scientific dogmatism as
by religion. That is to say scientism and fundamentalism - both poisons
that kill all genuine education.
the emergence of holistic education this spiritual level acquires a
crucial centrality for education of the 21st century. This is the level
where holistic educators stop to contemplate and investigate kosmic
education because it is the only level that allows one to have a wide
vision of an integral education.
this level the holistic educator can think about and explore the 30
regions without risking reductionism or category errors. From the spiritual
we can educate with clarity, order and intelligence because it is the
area of love and wisdom, where we recognize the essence of who we are:
six dimensions of this last level are represented by David Bohm for
the physical dimension, David Purpel for the social dimension, Ken Wilber
for the cognitive dimension, the Dalai Lama for the emotional dimension,
Jeffrey Kane for the aesthetic dimension and Ron and Jack Miller for
the spiritual dimension. In reality the position of these seven thinkers
is to a large extent interchangeable since all have a vision that includes
all the dimensions and levels. However I have allowed for very subtle
differences among them to locate them in the different dimensions as
a illustration that serves this model.
the the thirty educative regions formed by this holistic education map,
conventional education in the last century only has considered the individual,
community and social levels of awareness and experience and the physical,
social and cognitive dimensions of thinking and expression - reducing
all education to just 9 regions and ignoring the remaining 21. Thus
conventional education is reductionistic and incomplete only taking
into account the superficial aspects of what it means to be fully human.
genuine integral education will take into account all 30 educative regions
from individual awareness to spiritual awareness, from the physical
to the spiritual, including the social, emotional, cognitive and aesthetic.
in the Mexican constitution it says 'integral education' it is in fact
a call to develop and implement holistic education with an integral
vision for our children and youth of love and wisdom, of peace and fraternity.
Ramon Gallegos Nava (2000) PowerPoint Presentation at the 8th International
Conference on Holistic Education. Guadalajara, Mexico