To adequately meet the chaotic realities of the 21st century, a new vision of education is necessary. Most people agree that conventional approaches to education fail to develop resourceful, collaborative and deeply inquisitive students. Most of us understand that there needs to be a radical rethinking of education. A rethinking that is fearless in its critique of conventional education, and that provides a blueprint for a new kind of direction. Many years ago I discovered such a radical vision of education in the work of J. Krishnamurti. Having immersed myself in Krishnamurti education for over twenty years, I wanted to share how his insights have affected my work as an educator. The result of this effort is the book Revolutionary Minds.
Krishnamurti is considered by some to be one of the most provocative and original thinkers of the 20th century. Yet his work in education remains obscure to the public at large. Given Krishnamurti's long life and global influence – he published dozens of books, spoke to huge crowds for over fifty years and founded schools on three continents – this may seem surprising. It's near impossible, of course, to pinpoint the exact cause, but a couple of factors come to mind. First, Krishnamurti eschewed all forms of methodology. He actively discouraged any attempt to codify his insights into a method. Secondly, he was not a trained classroom teacher; he had no experience delivering course content or implementing a curriculum. He was a philosopher and visionary, leaving the question of implementation squarely on shoulders of the teachers themselves. And like those proverbial snowflakes, no two teachers are identical.
The movement away from methodology means that the teacher cannot rely on any authority to tell him or her how to teach in a Krishnamurti school. Looking at this situation, I felt – as a teacher who's mulled over some of these questions for a while – that it might be valuable to share how I approach this rather formidable challenge. In short, Revolutionary Minds offers only one educator's perspective on Krishnamurti's vision and what it might look like in the classroom. My hope is that my book will inspire other, more talented educators, to bring this extraordinary vision closer to a reality.
Paul Herder (1958- ) was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He holds degrees from Connecticut College (BA, philosophy) and The School for International Training (MA, Inter-cultural Administration & Education). Since first being introduced to progressive educational practices in graduate school, Herder has tried to unlock the deeper potential of collaborative, inquiry-based approaches to learning. In his first book, Revolutionary Minds, he tackles the iconoclastic educational philosophy of J. Krishnamurti (1895-1986). Mr. Herder has taught in Krishnamurti schools in America and England. He currently lives in Ojai, California. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.