The necessity of transcendental learning

Dhaka,  Thu,  27 April 2017
Published : 21 Apr 2017, 20:55:24

The necessity of transcendental learning

Pamèlia Rivière
In view of the necessity of transcendental learning in the context of Bangladesh's education, this scribe is discussing here about one science book and a recent discovery of NASA.  'The Grand Design' is a popular-science book written by physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow in 2010. 'The Grand Design' explores the history of scientific knowledge about the universe. It discusses 11-dimension M-theory. Stephen Hawking pointed out a Unified Field Theory (UFT) that may not exist. The Unified Field theory is an early design of the universe. The model was made by Albert Einstein and other scientists, the physicists.

The other ground breaking story is: in search for habitable worlds and life a giant leap was taken by NASA recently. I was so happy to learn that NASA just found a Solar System with seven Earth-like planets and three of the planets lie in the star's habitable zone. The habitable zone is also known as the "Goldilocks zone". This region is surrounding a star in which liquid water could theoretically exist. I can remember the story of Goldilocks that my kids learned while they were studying at Green Herald School. Reading the news I was so excited to tell my children that Goldilocks has many sisters. I was waiting for this discovery and wish to see that human races are roaming across the planets in this stunningly beautiful Universe.

Mathematician and philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria was the only daughter of mathematician Theon of Alexandria (c. 335-c. 405). She made a great attainment in literature and science; she surpassed all the philosophers of her own time. Having succeeded to the school of Plato and Plotinus, she explained the principles of philosophy to her auditors. She was never feeling ashame going to an assembly of men, which was not common during her time. For her extraordinary knowledge in math and science she was admired by the intellectuals. But she was murdered for her knowledge distribution among the people. Her murder marked the end of Classical antiquity. It was a big downfall of Alexandrian intellectual life.

Similarly Galileo was convicted for his new discovery. Galileo Galilei was an Italian polymath, astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician. He played a major role in the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. His contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter (named the Galilean moons in his honour), and the observation and analysis of sunspots.

He was sentenced to formal imprisonment. On the following day this was commuted to house arrest, which he remained under for the rest of his life. His offending dialogue was banned. And in an action not announced at the trial, publication of any of his works was forbidden, including any he might write in the future also. Backing his theory that the Earth moved around the Sun, Galileo allegedly muttered the rebellious phrase And yet it moves.

Both mathematicians Hypatia and Galileo were the victims of same treatment. It is surprising to note there are people who may not accept new findings like this in this 21st century. For people like them, I suggest transcendental learning. Everyone can argue, if they are experts, but they should not lose the control. People must believe in any logical argument and also at the same time they must consider how to show respect to others irrespective of their faiths. Who believe in science solely should think about letting other people be happy with their own faith.

There is a solution. It may take time to introduce a new approach but it is necessary for Bangladesh in the context of its education. It requires a transcendentalist approach to teach. Therefore, Bangladesh should include in its curriculum transcendental learning to teach tolerance, and non violence.

A central point of transcendental learning is principally holistic in nature. It provides a better way of educational that is in many ways important for Bangladesh in today's social and political contexts.

Miller thinks the "Transcendentalists offer a redemptive vision of education that includes:

--educating the whole child-body, mind, and soul-about happiness as a goal of education.

--educating students so they see the interconnectedness of nature,

--recognising the inner wisdom of the child as something to be honoured and nurtured.

Teachers must be aware of her/his role in the classroom and careful of their own behaviour. They must have a vision of multicultural education and environmental movement as well as non-violent change (such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.) in the society. The Transcendentalists' vision of education has becoming important, given the dissatisfaction with the current educational scene in Bangladesh.

"We shall one day learn to supersede politics by education. What we call our root-and-branch reforms of slavery, war, gambling, intemperance, is only medicating the symptoms. We must begin higher up, namely, in Education," said Emerson.

The writer is an anthropologist, sociologist and environmentalist. Currently she is conducting her PhD research on Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto.

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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