Paul Herder: What’s Behind the Anxiety Epidemic in Schools?
Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder for adolescents in the US. It’s on the rise in both poor and affluent schools. Students typically describe a relentless pressure to succeed (academically and socially) and the feeling that they will never measure up. We’ll explore the dynamics behind this disturbing trend through Krishnamurti’s insights into fear and its relationship to learning.
Paul Herder was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1958. He holds degrees from Connecticut College (BA, philosophy) and The School for International Training (MA, Inter-cultural Administration & Education). Since first being introduced to progressive educational practices in graduate school, Herder has tried to unlock the deeper potential of collaborative, inquiry-based approaches to learning. In his first book, Revolutionary Minds, he tackles the iconoclastic educational philosophy of J. Krishnamurti (1895-1986). Mr. Herder has taught at Brockwood Park School in England and the Oak Grove School in America both founded by Krishnamurti. He currently lives in Ojai, California.
R.E.Mark Lee: Knocking at the Open Door
R.E.Mark Lee is a trustee of the KFA and the KFI and has had a fifty year association with the Krishnamurti teachings and the Foundations. He was principal of the Rishi Valley Junior School from 1965 to 1972 and founding director of the Oak Grove School in Ojai, California, from 1975 to 1985. He served as executive director of the Krishnamurti Foundation of America for twenty years and was director of Krishnamurti Publications for five years.
Siddhartha Menon: Looking, Looking Away and Education
One of Krishnamurti’s central concerns was the act of looking: he would ask, for instance, “Can you look at a tree?” – and whether you could look at it without labeling and judging. And he held out the possibility that looking could be directed inwards in a similar way. Implicitly he was also concerned about what happens when one is not looking and about the very human tendency to look away. He addressed these questions to children and adults. Why did he, and how do schools address them?
Siddhartha Menon is an English literature postgrad of Delhi University, Siddhartha Menon has served with several Krishnamurti Foundation schools for over two decades and is currently principal of the co-ed Rishi Valley School (RVS), in India.
When asked what the purpose of school education was he answered: School education should help students become responsible global citizens in a world beset with problems, including the hold on us of conflicting group identities, the earth’s dwindling resources, hunger, inequality, and environmental degradation. But it should also nurture the sense of wonder that all children are born with, and make learning a joyful experience.
Rishi Valley is committed to educating students to grow into good human beings responsible for themselves and all other life forms who share their world.
At Rishi Valley, the principal is one of a team with long-term commitment to developing the vision of the institution. Key decisions are taken collectively. As such, individual leadership style is less important than the give and take of evolving consensus and building relationships.
David E. Moody, Ph.D.: Science and Spirituality in the Teachings of Krishnamurti
Science and spirituality are commonly viewed as representing opposing or incompatible modes of perception or understanding. In Krishnamurti’s work, however, spirituality is regarded in an unusual, unconventional manner, and it has a close connection with scientific inquiry. What is Krishnamurti’s understanding of true religious spirit, and what relationship does it have with science? Does religion require an exercise of faith, or a belief in God or an afterlife? Is scientific inquiry inimical to religion? Or are the two compatible and even mutually reinforcing? These are among the questions explored in this presentation.
David E. Moody was the first teacher hired at Oak Grove School when it opened its doors in 1975. In 1980, Krishnamurti appointed him Educational Director and subsequently Director of the school, the position he held at the time of Krishnamurti’s death. His years at the school are described in his book, The Unconditioned Mind: J. Krishnamurti and the Oak Grove School. After he left Oak Grove, Moody took his Ph.D. in Education at UCLA, where his doctoral research focused on the role of insight in overcoming student misconceptions in the sciences. He is the author of numerous articles in popular and professional journals on topics in science and education, and he is a contributor to Huffington Post. While he was at Oak Grove, Moody worked closely with both Krishnamurti and theoretical physicist David Bohm. His observations of both men form the background for his new book, An Uncommon Collaboration: David Bohm and J. Krishnamurti.
Mary Black Verschuur: Education and Peace: Common Premises in the Educational Practices of J. Krishnamurti and Maria Montessori
J. Krishnamurti was a philosopher and mystic. Maria Montessori was a physician and anthropologist. Both these individuals saw clearly that it was through education that the transformation and regeneration of society might be achieved. Schools bearing their names have been established around the world. This presentation seeks to highlight some of Krishnamurti’s educational philosophy and to show some of the many points of concurrence between his and Maria Montessori’s approach to education.
Further, the aim of this talk is to communicate that the practices advocated by J. Krishnamurti and Maria Montessori have something meaningful to contribute to the preparation and functioning of peaceful environments that are suitable for the education of young people at all stages of development. They offer important resources for all adults, who engage with children.
Mary Black Verschuur was born and educated in Scotland and trained as a Montessori Guide (teacher) in Ireland and came to the USA in 1962 to teach in a Montessori School. She moved to Omaha, NE. in 1966 and with Larry Verschuur opened and managed two Montessori Schools in Omaha, and one each in Bellevue and Lincoln NE. After retiring she stayed engaged by continuing to supervise and substitute in the classrooms and to conduct workshops for parents, staff and in the local community.
A personal interest in Scottish History led her to pursue a Ph.D. in that field and although she continued to work in Montessori she also managed to find time to teach history as an adjunct at the University of Nebraska at Omaha for almost two decades.
She has authored two books on sixteenth century Scottish History, contributed chapters to various collections of essays in that field and have had articles appear in several Scottish Historical Journals. Her work has also appeared in Montessori Educational Journals.
Her current attention to the philosophy of J. Krishnamurti is more recent and became more specifically directed towards education when she visited the Oak Grove School. Research revealed to her some intriguing parallels amongst the qualities of “new” or “right” education as defined by both Krishnamurti and Montessori.
Pathik Wadhwa: Relationships, Social Media Use, and Health
Humans are social animals, and the quality of our relationships with one another has far reaching consequences. This first part of this presentation will summarize research findings about the influence of social relationships on a range of mental and physical health-related outcomes. The second part will discuss whether the direction and magnitude of these effects is similar or different when relating with one another in person versus via the use of social media platforms. The implications of these findings will be considered, with a particular emphasis on school age children and the educational setting.
Pathik Wadhwa is a Professor of Psychiatry, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Epidemiology at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, where he directs the UC Irvine Development, Health and Disease Research Program. He received his medical degree from the University of Pune in India, and his doctorate from the University of California, Irvine.
Michael Krohnen: Education and the Art of Living
In his life-long endeavors to set human beings absolutely, unconditionally free, Krishnamurti emphasized again and again the vital role education plays in the transformation of human consciousness. Throughout his life, he gave talks at schools, universities and other educational institutions, suggesting a radically different and new approach to the raising of young human beings. In the later part of his life, he founded a number of schools in India, the U.K. and the U.S.
I would like to take a comprehensive look at this noble endeavor, and perhaps not judge, but explore the ‘state of affairs’ resulting from it, three decades after the teacher’s death.
Michael Krohnen was born in Germany and emigrated to the U.S. after high school graduation to attend college in Southern California. During studies of the world religions, he discovered J. Krishnamurti and subsequently attended his talks in India, Europe and the U.S. In 1975, he joined the Oak Grove School aschef de cuisine (learning on the job) and also became Krishnamurti’s personal chef during the latter’s annual three-month sojourn in California. This eleven-year unique and profound experience he describes in his book The Kitchen Chronicles – 1001 Lunches with J. Krishnamurti.
Currently he works as library coordinator at the Krishnamurti Educational Center in Ojai.