The Four Elements of Education

Room M406


How can an education engage as many students as possible and develop their own natural skills and strengths?

The education of our young people has come to specialise in certain aspects of learning, often to the detriment of others. While this rewards certain students, particularly those who naturally flourish under a curriculum heavily weighted towards academia, it is desperately failing others whose skills and attributes remain largely undervalued.

This course highlights 4 key elements of a balanced learning system for our youth and asks the question “Are we fully employing these potentials in our own teaching and leadership practice?” If any one of them is neglected or sacrificed in support of another, the student’s entire perspective on their learning can be damaged.

This can result in a general dissatisfaction with schooling and a cynicism and indifference which can erode their ability to flourish even in their preferred arena. At worst their emotional and even physical well-being can begin to suffer as they receive consistently reinforcing messages that they are “troubled” or “failing” students. Even those who flourish under the current measuring system for student achievement may have major skills that are being neglected due to an overly myopic perspective of how our students are best educated.

Above all, it must be essential to develop a sense of purpose in every student. One that can ignite an enthusiasm for what they might go on to contribute in the world. If this is missing we have surely neglected a vital pre requisite to what an education system should be there to serve.

Considerable evidence now exists to support the view that an education needs to serve multiple intelligences. The exhaustive research of cognitive psychologists demonstrates once again that it is vital to foster all these intelligences if a child is to be well served in their learning.
Yet, ironically, this concept is far from new. Ancient Greek and Renaissance culture both fostered the idea of “The Four Great Elements” of Earth, Water, Air and Fire, that made up the balanced and flourishing individual. This course looks at that concept in a modern context and displays its vital relevance to our current educational debate. It also contains exercises that develop our own potential in all four of these key areas, enabling us to better support the development of them in our students.

Academic prowess cannot and should not ever be undervalued. It is simply that emotional, physical and kinaesthetic development are part of a vital, mutually supporting matrix.

Lunch 12:30 Primary Secondary