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The Total Learning Environment: Consciousness in Education

Updated: Jun 25, 2019


Self-knowledge is often what people are pursuing the most in quests of higher education, whether this is consciously or subconsciously. People go to school in order to learn more about themselves. They learn more about themselves from inheriting the totality of the learning environment, which includes not just the material being taught, but their relationship with the material itself. The total learning environment additionally includes the interactions with peers and teachers. Anyone grows through relationship building and the student-teacher relationship is no different in its potential to elicit self-growth. It does, however, offer a unique set of lessons that differ from the lessons acquired through other personal relationships.

When examining the student teacher dynamic, we can look at the various ways in which knowledge is passed. The teacher may infuse the student with knowledge through teaching material that was discovered by other people. This is the general standard in Western education. A teacher can also teach from their own associated personal experiences. The student may receive a great deal of knowledge through either transmission.

A teacher also teaches in indirect ways, where the student acquires information from them that was neither intended nor realized. For example, a student may learn from a teacher by how the teacher relates to other students or responds to situations. In this way, the student is learning from the teacher’s consciousness or state of being. If this type of learning was cultivated, a student could learn many more things from the teacher beyond direct teaching outcomes.

Soon to be professional teachers go to school to learn how to become teachers or otherwise learn tools on how to increase information expedition. Although the student-teacher relationship is approached and prioritized, it is not approached through the lens of studying “consciousness.” Consciousness can be defined in many ways. It can be defined as “the state of being aware of one’s surroundings.” In this way, consciousness is also an unseen force that connects us and is something that can be observed. In this thought, when we examine how a student learns from a teacher, we can say that the student can also learn through a type of consciousness assimilation. A student can learn from a teacher by simply being in the same room as them, for example. Or it may be through the student keenly observing the teacher’s presence to more fully understand the depth of experience the teacher is bringing. All in all, consciousness in education means there is an awareness and learning of things outside of the direct material being taught.

Once there is an awareness that students can learn from their teacher’s consciousness as a contributing factor in their learning environment, there can be a development on how to teach consciousness in education. Teachers can learn how to energetically hold themselves in a classroom to make themselves more approachable, as one example. As there is no doubt that students “feel” their teachers, understanding this possibility has potential to advance education.

Development in conscious education is not only the responsibility of the teacher, but also is largely the responsibility of the student. In order for conscious education to be successful, the student needs to be engaged and not merely be a passive receiver of information. Being engaged means that the student is involved personally with the material and/or the teacher. When a student engages themselves in their education, there are multiple layers of learning occurring. Engagement is the student's gateway into observing the greater opportunities in education such as consciousness acquisition. Students, however, may need to be taught how to be engaged learners or “conscious learners.”

Teaching students on how to engage or learn effectively, often stops at rudimentary levels in most Western educational schools. While teachers learn tools on how to become better teachers, students are not being taught to become better learners as they develop. Modern educational training is teaching-oriented versus learning-oriented. I say this because tools often focus on what the teacher can do, versus what the student can do. A common example includes how a teacher learns how to adapt their teaching plans according to different learning styles. A student, however, does not learn tools on how to adapt their learning style to different teaching methods. Even at the base level, let alone a conscious level, students are not given tools on how to become better learners. So while teaching methodology may become more sophisticated, what is it worth if the learning cannot meet it at its level? It is clear to see that using the tool of consciousness in education, may have to come after a re-wiring of effective teaching altogether. Teaching and learning are one in the same.

There are still many potential benefits from involving consciousness in education to look forward to that may involve stretching the mind a bit. In addition to learning from the immediate teacher’s greater experiences, a student can also learn from the consciousness of the masters that very teacher is referring to in the lessons. As you recall, consciousness is the ability of perception and it is presumed here that “time” has little impact on consciousness observation. A student can perceive the consciousness of the teacher right in front of them and they can also observe the consciousness of the teachers from the past. A physical presence is but only one way in which consciousness can be shared. Take for example Albert Einstein, who was clearly on another level of thinking in order to make his discoveries. It is not only in his contributions to physics that we can learn, but we can also learn through understanding his journey to his conclusions. In this way, he becomes a jumping off point for others to take his consciousness even further. Lao Tze, another example, also had to be at a certain level of consciousness in order to write the Tao Te Ching. It is clear when reading the Tao Te Ching, that you are actually stepping into his awareness. Understanding these potentials in the total learning environment brings about a heightened and advanced view of learning.

The human element is not void in the context of learning, even if it is ignored. A person was behind every thought and discovery and there is an inherent connection between education and human consciousnesses. There had to be a certain pattern of consciousness in order to discover other patterns of consciousness. This is the crux of consciousness in education. There is always a human element as consciousness and humanity go hand in hand. There is no consciousness without observation. Teachers and students are humans who hold a consciousnesses that is not static, but dynamic and changeable. As a result, actually implementing “conscious education” ideas may be difficult due to the abstract nature, which at the same time, should be no reason to shy away from them. Educational strategies that rely on fixed methods of teaching are useful, but not all encompassing as they do not grow with the student.

So we come full circle to a student’s engagement and the tools they have to understand the benefits of engagement in learning. While I have not outlined conscious educational strategies here, none of them would be effective without both teacher and student’s participation. A teacher must be aware they have a consciousness in order to teach another’s consciousness. A student must be aware they have a consciousness themselves in order to observe a teacher’s consciousness. It really starts with the self, which is an interesting turn in education. With so much outward energy in getting information 'out', there is an option to complete the circle and turn inward. By learning through someone else’s consciousness, we eventually learn more about ourselves. There becomes not only what we filled our brains up with, but how we changed in the process. And how we have changed in the process, is what will guide us to make our own unique discoveries and contributions to humanity. It will also sustain the way we choose to use any of the information we have received. Conscious education here, becomes about the integration with the self, the material and the other. It is ultimately about relationships.

In conclusion, it is not only the idea that is important to pass on, but the method and sequence of how that idea was birthed. We can look to current teachers in this regards and also to the other great minds they are teaching us about. The possibility of accessing any teacher's consciousness when being taught, is an idea that can evolve education.

One can become knowledgeable organically by tuning into the higher frequencies in learning.


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