How Conscious Education Can Support Our Health Program

When a child enters school, they are in the mode to learn about how they can best prepare for the future. In this article I want to deal with our Education Program and the National Health plan. If we looked at empowering children to develop the life skills needed to learn better and the skills needed to deal with a health program, they would be better prepared to meet their challenges in the future. Skills like a positive self-image and self-trust help them tap powerful inner resources that support healing and education. Those skills also help control any kind of sabotage that would limit them from operating at their full potential in these areas.

Imagine if a child had the ability to control how they deal with important challenges. With a simple training, a child can develop habits that allow them to control these life skills with a simple word or phrase. Once they develop this trigger and experience this life skill, they approach the challenge more confidently without hesitation or self-doubt. This might not sound like a significant change, but when inner resources support the education or healing challenge, the child becomes more ‘in-dependent.’ This means they depend on inner resources to work as a partner with outer resources. This makes the student partners with their teacher and doctor. This teaches them how to actively participate with authorities in accomplishing important goals.

The life skill of a positive self-image gives you the power to control how you interpret your situation. For instance, if a child came from a dysfunctional home, they would tend to start their school day with a frustrated perspective; they would be in a state where they were unable to learn. We tend to relate to ourselves the way we have been related to. Often, in a dysfunctional home, the child is conditioned not to be open and receptive. If a child could switch their self-image, they could turn that frustrated perspective into an open, positive perspective that is open to learn.

I worked with a 7-year-old boy referred to me for school behavior problems. He named his Negative Self ‘bad boy’ and his Positive Self ‘good boy.’ I taught him that, when he felt like ‘bad boy,’ he could switch to ‘good boy’ and deal with school from that perspective. As a result, he felt more comfortable in school; his grades and behavior improved. Later in life, these habits could set the tone for crucial interactions, like dealing with poor health or relationships.

I was counseling a veteran with PTSD, which left him in a pretty consistent state of anger. I got him in touch with his positive and negative self-images. He named his negative self-image ‘anger’ and his positive self-image ‘lover.’ His wife got cancer and on the way to the doctor, he wanted to be as supportive as he possibly could. When ‘anger’ related to his wife, it did not have a supportive tone. When ‘lover’ related to her, his love definitely came through. I taught him how to switch instantly from ‘anger’ to ‘lover,’ so he could always give his wife loving support.

If children could learn to control their self-image, they could develop in these areas. They could meet their challenges from a more confident perspective. That would limit self-doubt and subconscious sabotaging programs that make it difficult to manifest. This could be as minor as approaching a test with confidence or as major as dealing with a chronic illness. If these skills were developed in school at a young age, by the time they had health problems, they would have a perspective connected to powerful inner resources. If they did not develop a self-image connected to inner resources, they would be caught in the maze of their mind and deal with self-doubt during crucial times.

I have seen people burdened with a negative past create a positive self-image and deal with challenges their ego was just frustrated with. In school or in the hospital, this self-doubt can grow and sabotage your efforts. You might not be a complete failure, but you are not manifesting to your full potential. This transition would happen easier if the Positive and Negative Self were developed at an early age. When you rely on an old self-image that turned into a strong habit, you are more confident and comfortable operating that way.

Another life skill that is very important in both school and healing is the ability to trust yourself. Self-trust allows you to accept resources that are beyond your conditioned habits. Self-trust also keeps your focus inward, instead of immediately looking outside for the answer. A person who trusts themself can utilize external resources as a partner, so that inner and outer resources work together. Self-trust helps eliminate victim consciousness and empowers students to meet their challenges.

Remember the child that came from a dysfunctional home? If that child could trust their positive perspective; they would identify with the more conscious self-image. Then if they were in a situation like the veteran had with Anger, they would be ready to change.

Educating our children is not limited to teaching them the right answers. Real education draws out of the students inner resources that are useful for any problem-solving they will need in their life. In Latin, the root of ‘education’ is ‘to draw out.’ To do well in school or to heal from a chronic illness, we need to master our life skills and draw them out when necessary.

To deal with our national health program, we need to start developing people who actively approach their challenges. If this was developed throughout their education, it could reduce expenses as we better prepare our children to deal with future health challenges.

© Marc Lerner and Life Skills Institute 2013

Educators – Dealing With a Toxic Environment

“Find a job you like and you add five days to every week.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

In the unfortunate instance where you have found yourself working in a toxic environment, the negative ramifications are countless. You have some choices about what you can do…and not a single one of them is easy to do….However, neither is it easy (nor healthy) to try to work day in and day out in an environment that is eating you up. The ideas in this article are not listed in any particular order. Since you are a teacher, I will assume you are smart and can figure out which one you haven’t tried yet–and try that one.

  1. Get out. Leave. Find a different school or a different school district where you can work. This is ALWAYS an option. It may not be the easiest option, but unless you spend your days in prison (as a prisoner, that is), you can leave. You could also leave education altogether, but that is a tragedy if you choose that option because toxic colleagues drove you out.
  2. If you CHOOSE to stay, consider every way possible to alert management (short of tattling) about the problems that exist. If the administration is the problem (and I know this is often the case) then you may have to go higher. It depends on how bad you consider the situation to be.
  3. One of my favorite quotes (and the basis for a workshop I do entitled “Conciliating the Tiger: Do You Have a Choice)?” is this one by Konrad Adenauer: “An infallible method of conciliating a tiger is to allow oneself to be devoured.” Buy and read the book, The No-Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workpace and Surviving One that Isn’t, by Robert I. Sutton. It’s fabulous!
  4. Identify the source of the toxicity. Is it a person with whom you work? Is it the language that is used at school? Is it the politics, back-biting, or gossiping? Is it parents who berate teachers and no one does anything about it? I don’t know what it is for you, but if you’ve identified your place of work as a toxic environment, you first need to figure out what the source is.
  5. Once you identify the source of the toxicity, determine if you can have any effect on eliminating that toxin. For example, if the people around you constantly tell racist jokes or make unconscionable statements, is there a way to get them to stop or will it take something from a legal standpoint to eliminate the toxic situation?
  6. If the toxin can/should be removed, take steps to make that happen. If you know it can be, then take action. It’s scary and uncomfortable, but I go back to my original statement–it’s unbearable to spend 8 – 10 hours each day in a setting that you find unbearable. Do something about it. It’s not just affecting you, it’s affecting other adults–and it’s having a negative impact on the children or teenagers at your school.
  7. Draw attention, in a professional and assertive manner, to what is happening–to you and to others in the school. The cost of losing great employees is usually (although not always) of concern for a principal, superintendent, parents, school board members, and others with a vested interest in the success of an organization. Think through carefully what you want to say to someone in this role and then bravely present your thoughts.
  8. Buy and read the book Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott. There is no better book anywhere to help you think through how to have honest, direct, meaningful conversations–as well as to consider the cost when you don’t. It’s in paperback and is a bargain.
  9. Boldly deal with the toxic situation head on. A bad day or week at work is not a toxic situation. It’s a bad day or week. Something doesn’t become identified as toxic until it has been continuing for weeks, months….years. When it’s taking a toll on your health, productivity, relationships outside of work, and so forth, then you need to do something about it.
  10. Here’s a question: Are you adding to the toxic environment? If so, take immediate measures to communicate more professionally on the job. Most of us can look at ourselves and realize that we have a few areas of our lives where we can improve, too. Just check it out with yourself and see if, by any chance, you are contributing to–or exacerbating–the toxic situation.

Note: For the purposes of this article, I am referring to a psychologically toxic environment vs. a physically toxic one, i.e., one filled with hazardous chemicals and the like. If you are in that type of environment, you need to be calling OSHA or some other agency.

I hope these ideas help you if you’re in this situation. I’ve been there…and I needed a kick in the ____ to get moving on making changes. If you, thankfully, aren’t in this situation, but have a friend or colleague who is, send this article along to that person.

Knowledge – Knowledge Management and Educational Entrepreneurship

Introduction

Curiosity is basic human instinct. It is natural gift for every human being. On account of curiosity, people want to know ins and outs of everything. Acquisition of knowledge is thus basic demand of human nature. Knowledge is acquired through education, observation, and experience; however it is preserved, improved, and transferred through reflection, application, and teaching. A person cannot work or grow without knowledge. Knowledge is utilized at all levels of life, both individual as well as collective, invoked on all occasions of life, both simple as well as complex, used on all spatial settings of life, both natural as well as artificial, and applied on all temporal moments of life, both temporary as well as permanent. It plays vital role in survival, growth and development of a person or a nation. It gives productivity to individuals, quality to institutions, and majesty to nations. Knowledge is unavoidable for workers / professionals and inevitable for leaders / entrepreneurs. It gives efficiency to followers, effectiveness to managers, and greatness to leaders.

Knowledge is the understanding of factual, procedural and conceptual aspects of information that a person acquires through education, observation and experience. It enhances the understanding level of mankind. It unearths the realties of time-space phenomena and gives definite clues to life and lifeless objects of cosmic economy. For example, Divine System of Growth, Body-Mind Duality, Mind-Soul Phenomena, Natural Forces, Social Linkages, Economic Links, Political Relations, and History Forces are outcome of learning efforts. In short, knowledge gives vivid picture of cosmic realties, both tangible as well as intangible.

Knowledge is formal as well as informal. The Informal knowledge is subjective and non-coordinated. It can be learned or taught by anyone. On the other hand, the formal knowledge is objective and coordinated. Formal knowledge is learned or taught through educational institutions, so that these institutions are vital for society and individuals. They create knowledge, give new dimensions to exiting knowledge, improve knowledge profile of an individual, enhance knowledge repertoire of society, transfer knowledge among students, and organize knowledge-seekers / knowledge-givers. The productivity and quality of educational institutions is vital for superior individuals and elegant society. The quality and productivity of educational institutions depends on efficient-effective approach towards knowledge management. Knowledge Management means to unearth, create, acquire, transfer, and utilize the knowledge in order to produce superior individuals / quality institutions / majestic nations.

Bases of Human Knowledge

The very bases of human knowledge are human senses, instinctual thrust towards new information or curiosity, and reflective ability of human mind. The prominent senses are sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. The related sense organs are eye, ear, nose, tongue, and the whole skin. A person gets information through sense organs, reflects on it, and finally shapes some propositions on acquired information. A set of propositions is called knowledge. Knowledge is thus shaped through experience and reflection. Intellect is used to interpret sense experiences. Intellect is naturally bestowed mind power to analyze or synthesize information. Reflection is an activity of intellect. In addition, necessities of life provide bases to knowledge driven activities.

Types of Knowledge

Knowledge is defined as the information, understanding, and skills that one gets through education, observation, and experience. Knowledge can be classified into following groups:

  • Natural Sciences: – Natural sciences deals with inanimate objects of universe. The major branches are physics, chemistry, and astronomy.
  • Biological Sciences: – Biological Sciences deals with animate objects of universe. The major branches are zoology, botany, and psychology.
  • Social Sciences: – Social Sciences deals with collective life and relationships between individual and society. They reveal, too, temporal perspective of interactive linkages. The major branches are sociology, political science, economics, and history.
  • Professional Sciences: – Professional Sciences deals with professions of individuals necessary for human survival. Professions improve quality of life of people. The major branches are medicine, engineering, and commerce.

Aspects of Knowledge

A peace of knowledge can be broken into three categories or has three aspects – Declarative, Procedural & Conceptual.

  1. Declarative Knowledge: – It is knowledge about something, e.g., structure of body, structure of computer, format of earth, and parts of speech. It deals with WHAT type of questions.
  2. Procedural Knowledge: – It is knowledge about the procedures and sequences. It narrates and explains procedures & sequences of any compiled information or data, that is, it deals with HOW & WHEN type of questions. For example, HOW computer is manufactured or used, WHEN computer is ready to use or sale.
  3. Conceptual Knowledge: – It is knowledge of concepts working behind the declarative and procedural knowledge. It is abstract aspect of knowledge. In conceptual knowledge, the relationship among concepts is also discussed. It deals with WHY type of questions. For example, the mathematical concepts and their relationship with each other that provide basis to the working of computer hardware or software.

Learning – Language Duality

Language is inevitably linked with learning phenomena, existence of one leads creation of other. A person must give some name and meaning to a piece of information or some event. During pre-linguistic era, symbols were used to understand/explain and to learn/teach something. Learning-Language duality, thus, is inherent ability and attribute of human mind. Human thought process adopts generally mother tongue to conceptualize things. It is noteworthy that a person can adopt multiple languages for thought process. The multi-lingual ability of thinking is developed overtime. Initially, mother tongue is soft option for knowledge development. At higher level, an objective or balanced approach can be applied for other languages. A lop-sided or subjective approach towards learning-language duality is harmful for individuals and nations.

Knowledge Development & Knowledge Experience

Knowledge is continuously evolving asset of mankind, its growth and development is materialized in leaps and bounds. Countless individuals are busy in its continual progress. Knowledge development is comprehensive process; it deals with subjective as well as objective sources of data / information. Our inner and outer senses are constantly receiving data from inner, outer, and divine sources. The inner source of knowledge is pre-conscious, the outer sources of knowledge are animate & inanimate objects of universe, and the divine source of knowledge is Divine Conscious. The inner source of knowledge is subjective as well as objective, the outer source of knowledge is purely objective, and the divine source of knowledge is subjective. Man gives a name/meaning to these data and it becomes information. A piece of information is converted into some coherent schemata; coherent schemata give shape to knowledge. A systematic knowledge adopts a practical shape during interactive life, consequently, the pearls of wisdom are created or materialized, ready to use. A knowledge traveler starts from identification of something new or novel, interpretation is secondary during knowledge journey, classification is third phase on learning curvature, and finally execution/application is made to internalize/marginalize the new findings with previous findings. During internalization a piece of information becomes part of knowledge, while during marginalization a false finding is discarded. The knowledge experience, thus, has five phases – Identification, Interpretation, Classification, Execution/Application, and Internalization / Marginalization.

Knowledge Management

The effective utilization of knowledge or knowledge management is solution to many problems of present day life, both simple as well as complex. The real understanding of bases, types, and aspects of knowledge enables us to manage knowledge for the betterment of humanity. It is fruitful for all kinds of individuals working in various types of institutions. It is supportive for better and meaningful social relations, helpful for optimal and sustainable resource usage, inevitable for good governance, vital for psycho-spiritual satisfaction, and essential for physical health.

Knowledge management is dominantly activity of institutions. Institutions are outcome of an idea. The very bases of idea are necessity of people and curiosity of intellectuals. An innovative leader grasps the situation and shapes institution. So that institutional development and knowledge management are dynamically linked with each other. A better approach towards knowledge management enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of organizations, while an improved/innovative organizational practice develops/constructs knowledge assets. An innovatively evolved knowledge is, thus, essential asset of institutional world. Overtime, knowledge management for better organizational behavior has attained a scientific and systematic shape. Management is the ability to create, organize and utilize resources in an optimal manner, i.e., with efficiency – doing things right & effectiveness – doing the right things. Whereas, the knowledge management is to reveal, create, acquire, transfer, and utilize the knowledge for excellent outcome. Informational efficiency is essential cornerstone of knowledge management. An arrangement of data into a meaningful shape is called information. An efficient acquisition and effective distribution of information give comparative-competitive advantage to institutions. Moreover, it is supportive to innovations and makes an institution precisely responsive towards changes. During crises it provides better clues for re-organization or re-engineering.

At institutional level, innovational outcome is the most evolved stage of knowledge management. The first stage is collection of accurate data, the second is collection of meaningful information based on data, the third is imparting right information to the right people at the right time, the fourth is to take right decisions on available information, and finally to take right actions in order to shape innovations/innovative activities.

Knowledge Management & Educational Entrepreneurship

Life has two levels, individual as well as collective. The collective level is manifested through multiple ways such as tribes & clans, institutions & organizations, and state & intrastate blocks. Organizational level of life is complex phenomena of modern society. Organizations are multiple in numbers, multilayered in structure, and multidimensional in operations. We may classify the existing institutional phenomena into two broad categories – profit oriented institutions and welfare oriented institutions. The profit oriented institutions provide, primarily, sustenance and leads, lastly, towards better quality of life with more financial resources to their workers / initiators / stakeholders. The welfare based institutions provide some utility to individuals or community at large. Institutions, either profit oriented or welfare oriented, need multiple resources for initiation or operation such as natural resources, financial resources and human resources. The optimal usage of resources is based, significantly, on effective utilization of knowledge or knowledge management, without proper knowledge management these institutions cannot be run efficiently, effectively, and indefinitely.

Institutions and entrepreneur are dynamically linked with each other, so that, an entrepreneurial effort, too, has two aspects – economic and social. A profit oriented institution is initiated / operated by economic entrepreneur and welfare oriented institution is initiated / operated by social entrepreneur. Profit is outcome of multiple performance indicators and success factors. A scientific knowledge about the linkages among multiple factors leads towards better managerial practices. A wise utilization of already accumulated information brings normal profit, while a wise utilization of some innovative piece of information brings windfall profit. At welfare level, a social work is actualized by means of social linkages; a proper understanding and usage of social linkages enhance the social effectiveness of institutions. Effective usage of Knowledge is, thus, valuable for both, economic entrepreneur and social entrepreneur.

Educational institutions are dominantly welfare driven and partially profit driven. A unique approach towards knowledge management is required in order to attain maximum benefits from learning activity. Interestingly, the whole activity of educational institution revolves around knowledge. There is a group of knowledge-seekers or students, knowledge-givers or teachers, and knowledge-workers or managers. Knowledge management is inevitable for all groups. Learning strategies are required by students to absorb knowledge, teaching methods are used by teaching faculty to transfer knowledge, and managerial practices are applied by non-teaching faculty to disseminate knowledge, efficiently and effectively. In addition, the entrepreneurial activity of educational institutions is dominantly wisdom driven effort. Educational Entrepreneur differentiates and realizes economic as well as social goals on account of wisdom. Wisdom is based on knowledge, thus, knowledge is indispensable for educational entrepreneur.

Concluding Remarks – Current Scenario with Possible Caveats

Human Civilization has absorbed the ins and outs of information era. People now have immense information on every thing. We are now inhabitant of knowledge world. Societies/nations are recognized by their knowledge assets / knowledge workers. Flow of information or knowledge is swift, easy, and economical. Internet has become essential aspect of present day life. A person can acquire knowledge through clicking keyboard or dragging mouse. A great body of information is available with negligible cost. Virtual institutions are working on dissemination of knowledge. People share or publish knowledge with no cost through social media of internet. Virtual world has established varied platforms for knowledge development. The developmental journey based on information and knowledge will continue forever. People and societies will choose pearls of wisdom from Knowledge Ocean in order to realize prosperous and magnificent life.

Existing Scenario of modern civilization is promising however permanent care would be required to avoid vicious circle based on possible illusion of perfect knowledge. The situation may lead to knowledge traveler towards micro truths from knowledge development activities consequently a person may loose wider / hidden understanding of knowledge ocean. It has happened in 19th century. Scientists have become perfectionist towards their findings. They were painting only statistical picture of everything. In early decades of 20th century, Einstein, Jung, Gestalts, Keynes, Iqbal, Bergson, and Bertrand Russell broke the myth of perfectionism or micro truths. An exactly opposite situation may arise due to bulk of information. The information is mind boggling; a person may loose concentration consequently one can oversight potential / hidden realities of knowledge tree. The ultimate outcome of mental divergence is information without knowledge or knowledge without wisdom or wisdom without ultimate truth. Moreover, the easy acquisition/publication can make someone forgetful from deep insight of knowledge; consequently, the society would have information or knowledge without wisdom. The real assets of a society are wise people, enlightened with ultimate truths, rather than informative people, ignorant towards ultimate truths.