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Why wisdom?
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   Defining the task
   The meditation tool
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   Other wisdom resources

   Creating wise societies
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   Dialogue, not debate
   Activist organizations
   World Wisdom Alliance
   Other approaches






Education for Wisdom

What sort of educational processes can help students become wiser?

An Inner Path to a Truly “Lifelong” Learning: Insight-Oriented Bodywork by Don Sanborn: "This paper's later "Freudian twist" toward "insight-oriented bodywork" illustrates the importance of finding a twenty-first century form of "wisdom" focused upon "inner paths" to truly "lifelong" learning. For only thus can we begin to overcome psychologically, in practice, a disruptive and philosophically untenable theoretical split between "subjectivity" and "objectivity."

Developing a Course on Living Wisely by Leland Beaumont: Building upon the Wisdom reading list, I have begun developing a new course on Living Wisely. The course establishes context for each book in the reading list, supplements each with related on-line course materials, and includes assignments to help students integrate the learning into their daily lives. Completing development of this course will require substantial additional work. I welcome participation of the Wisdom community.

Dead Poet Wisdom - A film review by Leland R. Beaumont. It is fun and instructive to consider the film Dead Poets Society the struggle of wisdom-inquiry seeking to emerge within an esteemed fortress of certainty and tradition. In creating modern learning environments we need to meld the discipline and memorization required by traditional knowledge-based courses such as chemistry, Latin, and trigonometry with the exploration, risk taking, creativity, fun, and passion required for wisdom-inquiry.

"Arguing for Wisdom in the University: An Intellectual Autobiography" by Nicolas Maxwell. For forty years Nicolas Maxwell has argued that we urgently need to bring about a revolution in academia so that the basic task becomes to seek and promote wisdom. How did he come to argue for such a preposterously gigantic intellectual revolution? This autobiographical essay explains the development of this thesis.

Charlemagne and Wisdom. Part of the translation of a work by Einhard the Frank (for whom Charlemagne was master and patron), this short piece tells about Charlemagne's deep love of wisdom, and what he did about it.

Higher Education ~ Meta-education: Transforming cognitive enabling processes increasingly unfit for purpose. A master of both deep thought and the use of hypertext, Anthony Judge, in this wide ranging and thought provoking essay, presents his take on education, mis-education, and a step beyond which he calls meta-education.

Writing Spiritual Memoirs (a video). A highlight of the 2011 AEPL conference was this memoir-writing workshop led by Nan Phifer, and made totally successful by its four dynamic participants. (FYI, for Nan the word spiritual means simply that "we go deeply into our feelings and important matters.") Length: 01:14:42

Videos from the 2011 AEPL Conference. The 2011 conference of AEPL, The Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning, was held in Estes Park, Colorado in June. The theme of the conference was "Literacy for Love and Wisdom," and teachers at all levels of the educational spectrum shared what they are doing to help students move in the direction of greater love and wisdom. Personal teacher stories and portions of conference activities were video recorded. Some videos have been edited and can be viewed now; others will be added as the editing of each is completed.

Integral Intelligence: A 21 Century Necessity. As author Anne Adams puts it, "we get what we educate." She reviews the present situation, showing the "viscious cycles" at play, and then discusses an educational paradigm which leads to "virtuous cycles." The "education for wholeness" she advocates focuses on the coordinated development of a multiplicty of intelligences: physical, emotional, mental/intellectual, and spiritual. A truly integral education. (PDF format.)

Does Science Provide Us with the Methodological Key to Wisdom?. In this essay Nicholas Maxwell of University College London tells us where the founders of the 18th century "Enlightenment" went astray, and how the proper application of rationality can help humanity acquire wisdom. (Also available in .doc format.)

Homo Transcendens. Alan Nordstrom chooses this name for our "upwardly mobile species," and picks the nurturing of transcendental consciousness as the highest aim of higher education. (.doc format)

Integrative, Holistic Wisdom-Based Futures Education is a paper in which Tom Lombardo describes the evolution and structure of a futures-focused educational program, one which he believes would provide college students with a high quality integrative and holistic education. (PDF format)

Ethical Character Development and Personal and Academic Excellence. This very popular resource since 2009 is presented here in expanded and enriched form by its author Tom Lombardo. The essay is an insightful exploration of values, virtues, and character development. (PDF format)

Teaching Preschoolers About Wisdom — An Approach. Is it possible to get the idea of wisdom across to preschoolers? Matt Mawhinney thinks so, and shares his approach.

Wisdom 101 is a presentation that Alan Nordstrom made at a Florida College English Association gathering at Rollins College concerning the Personal Writing course he teaches and the online course that grew out if it.

Perspectives 2011 — the 17th AEPL Summer Conference. To be held in Estes Park, Colorado June 23-26, 2011, Perspectives 2011 will seek to set "a framework through which democratic education can center itself on the evocation of love and wisdom in the hearts and minds of people." Click the link and get all the details about this opportunity to "join a community of supportive educators for this retreat in the spectacular Rocky Mountains, where you can explore a fundamental change in what education means for the modern world." (PDF format)

Doing Good and Doing Well: How do you teach virtue to a skeptical generation?. In this article, Christine Whelan shares her classroom experience with college freshman and sophomores "on how to live an honest, successful, and productive life."

Potential of teaching and learning supported by ICT for the acquisition of deep conceptual knowledge and the development of wisdom. Here Erno Lehtinen of the Centre for Learning Research at Finland's University of Turku discusses the potential of technology-supported learning environments for facilitating the development of deep conceptual knowledge and wisdom.

Teaching Wisdom in Our Schools. An Idea to change the world?? Vince Schubert thinks it just might be. Visit this collaborative document where you can add your own thoughts on the subject, helpful information, and links to resources.

New Horizons for Learning. This website, hosted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, is "a leading-edge web resource for educational change that identifies, communicates, and helps implement successful educational strategies." It is home to numerous full-text articles on a wide range of topics of interest to educators in general and change agents in particular.

A Skype-With-Webcam Session and Exchange of Letters with Alan Nordstrom's Students What happens when a teacher introduces a wisdom book into a personal writing course, and the author, some 1500 miles away, has a Skype-with-webcam exchange with the students? Afterward, what sort of letters would the students and the author write to each other? The answers are here.

Wisdom, and the Extended Classroom An article by Copthorne Macdonald about an eclectic integration of wisdom, the classroom, and internet technology.

Selected WISDOM PAGE Resources for Independent Study A carefully selected group of text, audio, and video resources arranged in four tiers representing four different levels of interest, prior knowledge about wisdom, and personal involvement.

Building a Better Teacher What makes the great teachers great? Elizabeth Green, Spencer Fellow in education, draws together answers to that question in this comprehensive article in the New York Times Magazine.

Colleges and Universities that Offer Free Courses Online Links to 16 of the "most respected online schools," with comments about the pros and cons of free courses and other useful information.

E.F. Schumacher on Wisdom and Education is a stimulating and enlightening essay by historian Walter G. Moss on the educational ideas of E.F. Schumacher (1911-1977) who thought that "more education can help us only if it produces more wisdom." Also in DOC and PDF formats.

WISDOM and THE WISDOM PAGE is a 9-minute video that introduces the three big questions concerning wisdom: What is wisdom? Why is wisdom important? and How can we develop wisdom? It touches on answers to all three, and invites the viewer to visit The Wisdom Page website and explore the matter more deeply. (Also available on YouTube.)

GOALS, VALUES AND WISDOM: Unsolicited Advice to Young College Students This superb essay by noted historian Walter G. Moss makes the case for early-in-life acquisition of wisdom. The alternative, as he makes clear, is very likely to be a wasted life. Must reading for young college students — and the rest of us. (Also available in DOC and PDF formats.)

It's Not What You Know, but How You Use It: Teaching for Wisdom is an article by Robert Sternberg that originally appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

A Proposal for GNH Value Education in Schools Included in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan is the requirement that "The State shall strive to promote those conditions that will enable the pursuit of Gross National Happiness." Relevant to schooling everywhere are the recommendations that Dasho Karma Ura, President of the Centre for Bhutan Studies, makes in this Proposal. (PDF format)

Education for Wisdom is the academic focus of educational philosopher Heesoon Bai at Simon Fraser University. Visit this informative website and read her online articles.

Association for Mindfulness in Education Supporting the growing number of educators who see "mindfulness training as a foundation for education," this site is a rich source of resources on the subject.

Bill Moyers Interviews Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot See what this Harvard-based adult educator has to say about living the 50-to-75 year period of life to the fullest. Check also this stages-of-life book review.

Young Spirit Foundation supports those trying to create a fundamental shift in the ways children and young people are educated. Of particular interest are the essays on the website's resources page.

H. Sapiens Digital: From Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom   Marc Prensky examines ways in which digital technologies could facilitate the development of wisdom and wise decison making.

Frontiers and Breakthroughs: A Primer for Students Rollins College professor Alan Nordstrom makes the case for "a new general education program oriented to explore the 'human frontiers', the leading edges of learning and research.">

Articles on the Transformation of Education Here you will find a dozen articles by noted innovative educator Stephanie Pace Marshall on subjects such as educating the whole child, and education for the future.

Intrinsic and Holarchic Education In this expansive essay Chris Lucas presents his and others' thoughts about what education should be, and proposes a systems-based methodology.

WISDOM 101 is a free online course in practical wisdom. It is the outgrowth of a classroom course given at Rollins College by Professor Alan Nordstrom, and uses short chapters from Cop Macdonald's book GETTING A LIFE to stir thinking about many common life situations.

Educating for Conscious Evolution by Anne Adams explores the question of "what contributes to the development of an integral consciousness in human beings."

Education: From Conception to Graduation – A Systematic Integral Approach, a doctoral dissertation by Anne Adams concerning education for wisdom — integral education — education that purposefully develops and integrates the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual intelligences.

Your Education and Wisdom   A message to his students by Alan Nordstrom, Professor of English at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.

Wisdom in three acts: Using transformative learning to teach for wisdom by Caroline Bassett was presented at the Sixth International Transformative Learning Conference, East Lansing, Michigan. (An MS Word .doc file)

Education Indicators for the Nova Scotia Genuine Progress Index (5.2 MB PDF) and overview of it.  The report's Recommendations section deals, among other things, with wisdom education, values education, and life-long, life-wide learning.

A Common Ground   Alan Nordstrom argues "for the universal notion: that all human beings are constituted to grow toward a common end, which I'll call 'wisdom'."

Of What Use Are The Humanities?   Alan Nordstrom's answer: "To embody more of your potential humanity and to grow more humane."

Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue is Mark Winston's exciting program at Simon Fraser University. See also the Fall 2007 Course Outline (pdf) and the June 2007 newsletter (pdf).

EDUCATING FOR WISDOM AND COMPASSION: Creating Conditions for Timeless Learning by John P.Miller very effectively makes the case for meditation as a powerful facilitator of the educational process. 

Content summary of the book: Wisdom in the University  Edited by Nicholas Maxwell and Ronald Barnett and published by Routledge in 2008, this book contains wisdom-and-higher-education essays by seven scholars.

The Pursuit of Wisdom and the Future of Education  is a thought-provoking article by Tom Lombardo that appeared in the 2006 World Future Society anthology: Creating Global Strategies for Humanity's Future. See also his Center for Future Consciousness Web site. (The article is in MS Word format.)

Mindfulness Training in Education. Excerpts from the NY Times article "In the Classroom, a New Focus on Quieting the Mind." Plus links to online organizations and resources that address the issue. 

2008 AEPL Conference: Reclaiming the Wisdom Tradition for Education "...this conference has been designed to consider and further the possibility of broad-based, wisdom-centered education." (PDF format) 

Education: From Conception to Graduation – A Systematic Integral Approach, a doctoral dissertation by Anne Adams concerning education for wisdom — integral education — education that purposefully develops and integrates the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual intelligences.

Educating for Conscious Evolution by Anne Adams is an article that appeared in Volume 3 of The Journal of Conscious Evolution.

A New Guiding Light for Democratic Education?   Bruce Novak discusses aspects of Karl Jaspers' thought that are "relevant to the re-awakening of humanity in the contemporary world."

The New Story and Landscape of Learning and Schooling: A Call for Leadership, is a WISDOM PAGE PODCAST audio presentation of Stephanie Pace Marshall's keynote address at the 2007 ASCD Annual Conference. 

THE POWER TO TRANSFORM: Leadership That Brings Learning and Schooling to Life by Stephanie Pace Marshall is a brilliant and compelling book that calls us to transform industrial-era education into a life-affirming form that meets the real needs of children and 21st-century society. 

CHARACTER COUNTS! is a value-based approach to character education from the Josephson Institute based on a set of six basic values or "pillars of character": trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

The "Understanding Wisdom" issue of Vimukt Shiksha, a publication of India-based Shikshantar, an organization dedicated to transforming existing models of education and development.

IN-SITES for EDUCATORS is a page of links "to multiple sites, primarily related to educational reform." It is part of the Chad C. Osborne and OZ Associates web site.

The Open Course / Open Source Movement is today making free educational materials and curricula-creating software available to educators and learners worldwide.

Free Audio and Video Lectures and Other Learning Resources are now available from an increasing number of prestigious universities and other organizations.

Learning Across the Campus: How College Facilitates the Development of Wisdom  A paper by Scott C. Brown that explores this important issue. (In Acrobat .pdf format.)

Transforming Academia from Knowledge-Inquiry to Wisdom-Inquiry

Wisdom, Nicholas Maxwell, and the Academic Enterprise. A short introduction by Copthorne Macdonald to the issue of wisdom acquisition as an academic focus, and the work of British scholar Nicholas Maxwell. 

Are Universities Undergoing an Intellectual Revolution? In this article for the Oxford Magazine, Nicholas Maxwell tells us about a number of recent "steps toward wisdom-inquiry" in British universities. (doc format)

Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom: Studies in the Philosophy of Nicholas Maxwell. Information about this 2009 book — a tribute to, and commentary on, the work of Nicholas Maxwell, edited by Leemon McHenry.

CBC IDEAS Interview with Nicholas Maxwell. IDEAS, Canada's premier radio program of contemporary thought, presents this 54 minute streaming audio interview as part of its "How to Think About Science" series. 

Radio Interview with Nicholas Maxwell. The "Weekly Signals" program on California radio station KUCI interviews Maxwell about his book From Knowledge to Wisdom. See writeup that accompanies the interview

Review of Nicholas Maxwell's book From Knowledge to Wisdom, 2nd Edition by Jeff Huggins. (.doc format)

Nicholas Maxwell in Context is Copthorne Macdonald's chapter for Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom, a chapter that explores the relationship of Maxwell's wisdom theses to the contemporary global interest in wisdom.

How Can Life of Value Best Flourish in the Real World? is Nicholas Maxwell's chapter for the 2009 book Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom.

Wisdom in the University  is an editorial by Nicholas Maxwell and Ronald Barnett that appeared in the London Review of Education, and made available in e-form in the SSNV Newsletter.

Content summary of the book: Wisdom in the University  Edited by Nicholas Maxwell and Ronald Barnett and published by Routledge in 2008, this book contains wisdom-and-higher-education essays by seven scholars.

FRIENDS OF WISDOM   More detailed information about Friends of Wisdom, and the rationale behind it, from its founder, Nicholas Maxwell.

Press Release from FRIENDS OF WISDOM   Members of this international group include academics and others who are calling on universities to address the most important problems facing humanity.

WISDOM: The Highest Aim of Life and Higher Education   A text (with slides) rendering of Copthorne Macdonald's “Thomas P. Johnson Distinguished Visiting Scholar” address at Rollins College April 5, 2006.

WISDOM: The Highest Aim of Life and Higher Education   A streaming video presentation of Copthorne Macdonald's “Thomas P. Johnson Distinguished Visiting Scholar” 2006 address at Rollins College.

Discussion that followed WISDOM: The Highest Aim of Life and Higher Education   A streaming Audio presentation of the discussion that followed Copthorne Macdonald's 2006 Rollins College talk.

Core Commitments is an "initiative on educating students for personal and social responsibility" that already includes 196 colleges and universities. Click for an informational Brochure (pdf), a Call to Action, and links to resources that include a project-relevant bibliography.