Person-oriented education

david peace

Licensed Professional Counselor at YouthCare of Oklahoma

I’ll take from a history lesson to point out why we should start with a single school district to test the concept of implementing therapy tools into early education curriculum: Until May 6, 1954, experts in the world of track and running swore that it was physically impossible for a human being to run a four-minute-mile. It was unheard of. Then Roger Bannister came to the scene at Iffley Road Track at Oxford University and ran the mile in 3:59:4. Soon after, all kinds of runners were breaking the four-minute mile record. Nowadays, such a feat is old news. Since that day, over sixteen hundred men have surpassed this time record. It only takes one to show the doubters.

For generations, we have accepted the current education curriculum without question. It is normal for us to have children learn their colors and numbers. There’s nothing wrong with practicing and honing such skills. Teachers can carry on with this type of learning year after year without danger of disrupting a child’s psyche. And these foundation subjects help us advance into the graduating difficult years of academia. Who would want to change it?

One thing I would like to propose is how much influence teachers and school systems have in children’s lives. The average student in grades 4-K through twelve are attending class up to six to seven hours a day. This is one-third of each day, five days a week. Within each day, teachers have in their captive audience the minds, bodies, feelings and thoughts of many children and teenagers. There are thirty-five hours a week for educators to work on a child’s decision-making power.

Behind the results of any human being’s decisions, are a constant dynamic of feelings and thoughts. Whether we like it or not, these come along with the learning materials, school books and backpacks. If a person is present, so is the nervous system and the physical body. Where are we on helping kids navigate such powerful and complicated packages?

I hold teachers in high regard for the roles they play in a young person’s life. The responsibility is confounded with each year that budget cuts are made and classroom operations are further complicated. Along with such changes, there is even more influence of feelings and thoughts to contend with. And with lack of motivation, there is self-doubt in the minds of both students and teachers. We can’t deny that behavioral problems and conflicts are without the underlying presence of fear, confusion and anger. Even without changes in the school environment, we have to keep in mind that some of the emotional difficulties are being carried from home.

Many kids don’t know how to drop their personal issues at the door, long enough to attend a day at school. Academia has to contend with what makes a person. I think teachers deserve to be equipped for this and make their lives less confusing. A teacher’s job is hard enough without having to work against state grading and blindly navigate the mind field of personalities (namely a student’s emotional resistance to learning).

David Peace -Author, Jungle Pack: Therapy Workbook and Journal


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