'Martial Arts - More than just Kicks and Punches'
The Spirituality of Pedagogy (The Spirituality of Teaching and Learning)
True Pedagogy embraces a Learners whole being
Rudolf Steiner made the statement “Pedagogy itself must become ensouled”.
What this statement suggests is that both the Teacher and the Learner are engaged in a Soul to Soul relationship in which the
Teacher motivates, inspires and empowers the Learner to accomplish a given learning goal/objective. In so doing the Teacher must interact with the personality and natural abilities (learning ability) of the Learner.
Before we expand on this, it is worth mentioning that a Learner’s natural learning ability is known best by the Learner, hence,
only s/he can best unveil to the Teacher this innate ability that’s hidden within their Soul; each Learners has a Soul intrinsic and instinctive learning aptitude, with this understanding, we are led to the rewording of that popular saying that goes;
“teach me in the way that I can understand” to ‘teach me in the way that I understand; or tell me something in the way that I understand’.
This latter phase plants the seed of thought that a Learners learning style, mode and fashion is highly individual and
closely coupled (matched) to the personality of their soul.
If we take this as our new premise, we have to ask some key questions with respect to the role spirituality in teaching and learning; questions such as:
1. Where’s the starting process of learners learning cycle (the Soul or Mental cognition)?
2. Where/when is its conclusion?
3. What internal factors [learning building blocks] determine a learners’ learning style and/or ways of understanding?
4. What influences it?
5. What activates it?
6. When is it activated?
7. How is it activated?
8. Who activates it?
9. In what way can this natural process be damaged?
As we gather response to these questions and effectively look into them, by looking into them we are referring to making
an in depth analysis, a looking beneath the mere surface of the written response and into the thinking in us about the
Learner that these answers trigger.
The expected outcome of this type of analytical exercise is that we begin to gain an insight into the character, personality
and natural abilities (physical, mental, and emotional) of the Soul of a Learner. The outcome of this analytical process
requires that we change our approach on how to assess the learning capabilities of a Learner, a change from an outward
observation (for example, standardization test, psychometric barometer) etc. to an observation of the inner person,
(for example, overly used phraseology, instinctive self affirmation, personal and inherent natural abilities).
This in-depth observation of the Learner can only lead to an appreciation of the Spirit & Soul of the Learner and for
that to happen, there has got to be a Soul2Soul Exchange. The Teacher has to open and reveal his/her Soul to the
Learner and thus a Soul to Soul relationship in teaching and learning. The Teachers’ Soul life is passed on to the
Learner within the teaching process, in the same way as the Learners’ Soul life is passed on to the Teacher in the
dynamics of learning.
In conclusion, this then poses the question; from the viewpoint of the spirituality of pedagogy (the spirituality of teaching
and learning), what type of Teacher must a 21st Century Teacher be/become?
Here I would like to put forward the an idea; that both Learners and Teachers must have a good Person-Professional relationship in order for the Learner to enjoy and engage in true knowledge acquisition and usage, for such to happen
the Teacher, as mentioned earlier, must pass-on their soul-life and not just echo the mere content of the textbook
on a given subject. The Teacher becomes, must be the essence of what they desire to see in their Learners.
The ethos of The Spirituality of Pedagogy requires that in Soul2Soul Teaching and Learning, the Teacher must become
the object of the subject that they are teaching; they are in the depth of their being the very thing that they are transmitting, transferring, and transporting and not the medium for the dictation of fact to be transcribed by the Learner.
A Soul2Soul relationship must exist in which the Learner functions to accomplish the goals of learning.
© Francis Nwofor 16/04/2017
THEDOJO.ORG.UK Erasmus (+) Key Action 1 – Youth Exchange Project
SEE - Sample EU Entrepreneurs 22nd - 29th October 2016
Boarding the plane to Prague I still was not quite sure of what to expect from my week in Czech Republic. I knew that there would be different organisations from around Europe, I knew that we would be doing different workshops on social enterprise but honestly that was the extent of preparation.
I decided to participate in the programme for a couple reasons. The first being that I was interested in the focal point of the training, which was creating opportunities for young people in terms of employment as well as encouraging entrepreneurship and active citizenship. Another reason was that I love travelling and visiting new places. Mala Skala was a place I probably would not ordinarily travel to which was even more reason to go.
The week was filled with a mix of workshops and trips to different places of interest in and around Mala Skala. The workshops included self-reflection (thinking about our passions and motivations) and activities getting us to think about business and using business to tackle social and local issues. Of all the trips I think my favourite was the visit to AAC Bizuterie – a jewellers specialising in hand-made glass beads. Whilst professionals were creating beautiful beads in seconds we all had a go and I think it’s safe to way our creations were no masterpieces! To say it is harder than it looks would be an understatement!
One of the highlights of the week was the intercultural evening. The intercultural evening is an Erasmus+ staple and it is a time for everyone to share the culture of their country, whether that be the history, fun facts or my personal favourite the food. The evening was accompanied by music covering everything from the chart-topping Las Ketchup to Ukraine’s winning Eurovision entry. There was also the opportunity to learn some dance moves from Turkey and Spain. Think it’s safe to that intercultural evening was a success!
After a week in Czech Republic I feel like I have gained quite a lot. I gained an insight into the local culture of Mala Skala and their innovative approach to social enterprise. From this we all were inspired to think about projects we can initiate ourselves. Finally one of the most important things I took home form Czech were the friendships formed. It was so interesting to meet people who are all from different cities across Europe but we all had at least one thing common that we could have a conversation about.
I would definitely recommend an Erasmus+ programme. In addition to the benefits of the various activities I think it’s a fantastic way to grow your network in a world that seems very disconnected.
By Hollie Nwofor – TheDojo.Org.UK Participant
Back2Roots Samobor Croatia 2016
The Dojo UK’s mission is to facilitate an arena where participants, especially the youth engaged in non-formal learning tasks and social actions can come 2-GETHER-AS-1 and participate in projects in a friendly, safe and fun environment, whilst promoting the spirit of brotherhood and unity through Martial Arts. The Back2Root Youth Exchange (B2RYE) was a good fit and encapsulated mission statement ethos.
The benefits and learning outcomes of the B2RYE cannot be understated; yet, for me and the UK team, the joy of participating in the B2RYE is the Inter-Cultural and Inter- Generational Social Mixing that occurs during each session, the laughter, the sharing and the fun that were had.
I’m amazed and in awe at the intensity of agape that unites and bonds strangers into one global friend & family network in so short a space of time; I guess this is the mystery of these Erasmus + projects, it is like a fragrance that fills your whole being that once you leave, you are still attracted to the fragrance of desire to keep in touch with these wonderful group of people.
Whilst the governmental institution working on finding effective ways of handling our current social challenge, Youth Organisations together with the Youth of EU and Europe as a whole must find their own approach to accepting, understanding, and harmonising with each other; and the Back2Root Youth Exchange provided a wonderful arena for cohesive and inclusive localising and globalising. To have participated in the Back2Root Youth Exchange fills me with joy, pleasure and satisfaction.
Social Project to Enterprise (Social P2E)
The Social Project to Enterprise (Social P2E) was TheDojo.Org.UK’s vision, mission and value proposition lived out as envisioned.
The Social Project to Enterprise (Social P2E) Youth Exchange was carried out under the Erasmus+ programme in Watford, Hertfordshire, The project aimed at promotion of the principles and philosophy of Martial Arts (MA) as a metaphor and teaching tool for personal skills development.
“The programme was designed not only to help participants develop their personal skills set but essentially we were led to greater cooperation, understanding of the needs of our surroundings and communities that need to be addressed; The ultimate goal of our exchange was to bring a Social Action to life – by setting up and carrying out a micro-level social project for which we decided to make handmade soap. All proceeds from the sale were equally divided between to 2 chosen charities which we had a chance to get familiar with during our stay – Steve Sinnott foundation promoting Education for All and DRUMS charity helping people that have acquired disability in life.
The 2-Gether-As-1 Erasmus + Youth Exchange was held over 8 days, between 24th August – 01st September 2015, with a mixture of workshops on self mastery, cultural mapping, community engagement, anger conference, invited guest speaker, creative guided reflection activities and Martial Arts, ½ day of live radio and online TV broadcasting.
The Leadership Experiencing Erasmus + Youth Exchange was held over 10 days, between 2nd November – 12th November 2015, using the fundamentals of the Martial Arts as a metaphor and tool for Self Discovery, Self Analysis and Self Mastery. During the exchange, Participants learnt the advanced, yet transferable skills, attitude, aptitude, principles ethos, concepts and techniques that will help promote the habit of self reflection [facets of self, self identity, self transcendence, self leadership, self confidence, self awareness, self assuredness, self reliance, self discipline and self esteem] for Self Mastery as a tool for Leadership effectiveness in all sphere of life and work.
The project encompassed on the surface, a highly focussed, structured, self driven, and power based discipline alongside an open minded team spirit ethos and enigma of people leadership. Conventional wisdom teaches that naturally one another would repel, The Leadership Experiencing project looked beneath the surface to reveal that such activities are rich in self awareness & self understanding which is key dimension for leading people.
Music Arts & Dance (MAD)
The MAD Erasmus + Youth Exchange was held over 8 days, between 23rd October – 31st October 2015, with a mixture of workshops in Ballet , Jazz, Commercial , Musical Theatre, Ballroom, Salsa , & Contemporary dance; as well as Mime, Drama & Art Workshop. The project encompassed a highly focussed, self driven discipline alongside an open minded team spirit ethos. Naturally one another would repel, The MAD project impacted on this divide by trying to bridge a defining gap.
Erasmus (+) Activities