Uncivil Curriculum Frameworks

Guiding principle from the Conservation of Energy Principle:
True hope resides in symbol use that embraces the reality of continuous, universal change and personal stewardship.
Delusive hope (misery) resides in symbol use that denies this reality.

Page being revised 10 October  2017

Thesis: the ultimate evaluation of an education system is  whether or not its graduates conserve the flows and balances that sustain humanity. The Anthropocene that now imperils us all did not occur in a vacuum. It is the product of uncivil education systems.

When revised, this article will discuss the  origins and sustainability of the New Zealand National Education Framework.

Please return

Discussion and Rationale

The English symbol education arises from Latin educatio (“A breeding, a bringing up, a rearing, training”), which arises from from educo (“I educate, I train”) and (“I lead forth, I take out; I raise up, I erect”) from e (“from, out of”) and duco (“I lead, I conduct”).In the 1530s education began to be more associated with childrearing and less with the more general act of rearing or training of animals and people. From the 1610s it became associated in particular with the “systematic schooling and training for work”

wiki school room

The Online Etymology discussion of the school symbol is fascinating:

“place of instruction,” Old English scol, from Latin schola “intermission of work, leisure for learning; learned conversation, debate; lecture; meeting place for teachers and students, place of instruction; disciples of a teacher, body of followers, sect,” from Greek skhole “spare time, leisure, rest ease; idleness; that in which leisure is employed; learned discussion;” also “a place for lectures, school;” originally “a holding back, a keeping clear,” from skhein “to get” (from PIE root *segh- “to hold, hold in one’s power, to have;” see scheme (n.)) + -ole by analogy with bole “a throw,” stole “outfit,” etc.

wiki Plato from The School of Athens by Raphael,

The original notion is “leisure,” which passed to “otiose discussion”
(in Athens or Rome the favorite or proper use for free time), then “place for such discussion.” The Latin word was widely borrowed (Old French escole, French école, Spanish escuela, Italian scuola, Old High German scuola, German Schule, Swedish skola, Gaelic sgiol, Welsh ysgol, Russian shkola). Translated in Old English as larhus, literally “lore house,” but this seems to have been a glossary word only.

The association of the school symbol with particular buildings arose in the 1590s. These places are no longer associated with an “intermission of work” or “leisure for learning”, as the arise of symbols such as schoolwork, classwork and homework prove. In 1794 otiose, “having leisure or ease”, became associated with “unfruitful, futile”.


wiki “The British Empire” by The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick

This change of world view coincides with the complete transformation of the English language that has occurred since the 1600s. In turn, this radical change in symbol use coincides with the immense expansion of the English Empire and the Industrial Revolution.

A pattern of behaviour emerges amidst the increasing confusion in symbol use: work has been redefined as activities that most profit the principal beneficiaries of this industrial structure.

The workforce is now defined as “the labour pool in employment” and this does not include employers or management, child-rearing or students. See, for instance, Wiki “Leisure, or free time, is time spent away from business, work, domestic chores and education”. The implicit belief is that work is non-free time and schools are no longer places of “leisure for learning”; “learned conversation”.

wiki steam engines

The language transformation has reflected and enabled the adoption of a radical, miserable world view in which the universe is seen to exist for the benefit the primary profiteers of the new industrial complex. For instance, the intense study of industrial machines since the 1700s has resulted in energy now being defined in all English schools as “the ability to do work” i.e. with a particular type of activity called “work”, which is the antithesis of play, leisure or the development of civics.

wiki US Energy Information Administration  “Energy by major sectors of the economy”

And since the 1950s this oligarchy has even re-engineered the energy symbol so that it is now associated with the activities they most profit from. We now have “energy”, the “energy sector” and “energy market”, which is primarily the extraction and combustion of fossilized biomass and Bulk-generated electrical products.

This website discusses in some detail the nature of the human ego with its great propensity to deny the universal nature of change and our role as stewards in this flux. It shows how we can employ the principles of physics both as a wise guide to symbol use and as a means of psychoanalyzing our language for evidence of the deceits and trickery of the ego. We can infer the nature and activities of the invisible ego through its impact on our systematic use of symbols

wiki Kilograms of oil equivalent (2011) per capita

This psychoanalysis of the English language indicates a potent relationship between the ego, the radical transformation of our symbols and the excesses of the Industrial Revolution i.e. the unprecedented and vast unsustainable activities of the Anglo-American empire this last three centuries.

It becomes clear that our experience of knowledge has fragmented. Our experience of learning has stultified.

Perhaps the clearest illustration of this atrophying of the human spirit resides in the transformation of the science symbol. Since the 1600s it has progressively been stripped of its associations with compassion and a profound moral way of being. It is now commonly defined as just an amoral way of thinking – a body of knowledge that is the domain of a small elite called “scientists”. Science and lifestyle are completely divorced.

And nowhere is this fragmentation and stultifying of our sensibilities more crystallized than in the English education curriculum NZ Education_curriculum_frameworkframework. The graphic symbol of the New Zealand National Education Curriculum framework is an exemplar of this confused consciousness. (see others below). The NZ framework is symbolized by a nautilus shell with its spiraling development of compartments, each representing a learning area.Nautilus_fullcolour.edgaz
In brief, the NZ framework confounds the true learning process by equating science, language and art with each other. There is no mention of the vital role of compassion in sustainable learning.

Variations on the nonsense of “Language and Languages”, Science and Social Sciences”, “Health and Physical Well-being” etc prevail throughout the Anglo-American education frameworks and they are evidence that even the most erudite people are vulnerable to the grand deceits and trickery of the ego. Smile.

English Rules!

The 2104 NZ National Education Framework reinforces a message that is implicit in all these Anglo-American education systems: English rules our lives. This is implicit in the first and explicit in the second of these two governing statements.

The New Zealand Curriculum specifies eight learning areas: English, the arts, health and physical education, learning languages, mathematics and statistics, science, social sciences, and technology.

As language is central to learning and English is the medium for most learning in the New Zealand Curriculum, the importance of literacy in English cannot be overstated.

The question arises: how can we transcend this incredible, ingenious deceit of the ego?  How can we generate languages, including English language, that sustain us and enable us to enjoy true hope?

An answer may reside in re-embracing common uses of words prior to the 16th century.
The Science symbol is again associated with schism. This forms a reminder of the paradox of the human condition in which our act of inquiry and the consequent knowledge both separate even as they integrate.
In particular we are reminded in the mortality of all sentient beings and experience compassion (from com- “together” + pati “to suffer”) and that all our actions are moral decisions.
The Art symbol is again associated with the development and refinement of all manner of skills, including language and civics. In this context, when we create a list of the requisites for the state of science to flourish we find they are all qualities of compassion. This generates a compassionate education framework in which we are all liberated.