Integral Education

The area that I feel most passionate about is education, particularly the American education system. My question to the group is: How might the Integral framework of development and multiple intelligences alter the current system?
The question is meant to target elementary, secondary and University levels.

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I’ve had interest in this topic too, have your heard of the book Igniting Brilliance by Willow Dea?

I think it’s a great place to start for reference.


I’ve never heard of it. Can you summarize some points that separates integral education from mainstream education?

I have been very interested in this question for years, having worked in public ed as a elementary and middle school teacher and then as an ES counselor for over 15 years more. Willow’s book is a good start, though it is a good ten? years old… When I have a moment tomorrow , I will add some references and people to contact, incl. a Canadian Integralist teaching in Germany I met at IEC2 in Budapest. I would recommend contacting Bence Ganti for contacts of those who focused on Integral Education at that conference and IEC3 which I could not attend. This area has been Sadly Neglected in the Integral network/movement along with Integral Parenting, and we are doing a GREAT disservice by not addressing it fully and immediately ( see the Parenting as a Spiritual Practice site). More tomorrow.

That would be great Thomas. How does integral education stand out from regular education in your opinion?

I heard Ken say recently in one of the Ken Show episodes (episode 6 part 5 on growing towards globalism) that there are 2 areas that have the biggest chance of affecting an individual’s overall growth:

  1. Education System
  2. Religion

Given the upmost importance of affecting the world’s population growth toward 2nd tier you would therefore have to say education is one of the top priority areas for integral work to focus on.

I hope this serves as added inspiration and motivation for your quest!

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Well, we would sadly primarily be talking about theory, for the most part, though I confess I have been out of that loop for over two years… Certainly approaching any subject from all four quadrants would be part. The teacher I mentioned above had( I have a copy but not sure where at the moment) of a nice l writing exercise/framework for 4th graders based on the Four Quadrant map. It was great and a fine , simple yet potentially complex start. He was on Facebook but I seem to recall he no longer his. Bence Ganti ( still on FB) would certainly be able to connect you with many of the people involved in Integral Education who were in attendance in 2016 and 2018’s IEC3. I think this would be the best use of your time. He splits his time between Budapest and California. Contact him.

I would like to hear more of what YOU are already doing!

The first step would be adding some sort of meditation practice. Dan Siegel makes a case for adding Reflection to the the 3 R’s (reading, writing and arithmetic). I think introducing this early on is key. Also, I think there is an abundance of research to teach a second language from the start.
One of my main complaints in high school and the university was the track system. There really was a minimum amount of individualization to my education. I think it produces a bunch of “jacks of all trades, master of none”.
Obviously, there is an emphasis of left brain domains (math and science) but at what cost? Can you stamp that into people that might be dominant in other lines? Why not foster those lines?

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Rob Macleod is the teacher’s name! He IS still on Facebook. He can link you to everyone!

Under the “Reflections” category on this site, check out the topic “Could Teachers Be The Secret Weapon of Cultural Evolution? What Can We Do To Help?”

Rob Macleod’s posts are there, as well as a link to his podcast “Reinventing Education,” well-worth a listen.


@spacehoney Thanks for that

There are multiple Rod Macleod’s btw. :slight_smile:
@LaWanna ty. I am subscribing now.

I also reached out to his profile on here if he is still active.
Here is the thread @IntegralExplorer :slight_smile:
Also here is the link to David’s thread:
Could Teachers Be the Secret Weapon of Cultural Evolution? What Can We Do To Help?

An idea that I was thinking about in between the last post was bringing in a couple of different points.
One of the ideas is thinking about how education doesn’t have to be contained to “within the walls” of an actual institution. So much of my education happened outside of the normal classroom environment.
Also, the idea of centralized (dept of education) vs state autonomy in the role of education. This subject in and of itself doesn’t really interest me because it is more of a political discussion, but I understand it has played a pivotal role in where we are today.

I started an education program with “integral inspiration” that seems to be stalling out despite the fact we were given a state-wide pilot opportunity. The reason it’s stalled out is that I couldn’t find anyone to work on it.

What I see happening is that there are so many ideas and no perseverance in developing them. It’s a post-modern symptom of fragmentation, a lot of ideas and no focus. Developing new systems will take a lot of time, a lot of mistakes, corrections, more mistakes and so on. Development is messy, clunky and uncomfortable. This process is not something post-modernism can handle, and the reality of who I am around is that is where they are. A program is critiqued and ripped apart before it has a chance to breath life into itself.

BUT the interesting thing is where many people think the problem is, the “system” not wanting new ideas, is not at all what I encountered. What I experienced with the DOE was a door wide open and a please, if you have ideas come develop them…they know they need help. At least that’s a light of hope.

I think perspectives can be taught using integral theory, I have done lessons in my middle school as a school counselor on the quadrants and levels and lines of development. The ego, the ethno and the world centric perspectives can also be related to teenagers using anecdotes for each perspective. For at risk students, the perspectives coaching is useful because understanding a four year olds egocentric perspective as true but partial has a way of helping them cope with the chaotic homelife. The third person perspective is useful and helping students cope with situations where students are being talked about by other people and how uncomfortable that can be for the 14 year old.

There is a lot of opportunity here, it’s the way to use the terms in ways that (in my situation) 11-14 year olds can understand. They get holons, they get subject observing an object- they are very open because they are impressionable and anxious- not rigid in their thinking.

I’m open to help developing these areas for the adolescence. Thank you for posting this topic.


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What was the program you started? @Michelle
@bjbrown I work with young men 17-24 on parole and probation. I’ve introduced spiral dynamics into our behavioral management system. I also give skill building in reflection exercises like journaling and meditation.
I think in the same family as reflection is addressing antisocial behavior as special education- requiring the funds and attention they deserve.
I really like the system it seems like they have in Europe where they start to split the course of professional development (trade vs university).
I would love to empower teenagers to pick their direction.
And I am all for Bernie’s plan on having free education post secondary school.

It’s not a program, just some lessons that I use at my middle school where I work in richmond va, USA. I use integral theory in my daily life and at work try and apply it to situations and classroom settings. Over the years, as my understanding of integral theory has evolved, I’ve come to rely on its tenets to help students understand levels of development and give students an understanding of shadow work. Integral mindfulness is especially useful and articulating ladder-climber-view is one of my goals for this school year.

Students easily absolutize situations at ethno, world and pluralistic stages. Because their cognitive development is often at these levels, I find the students under stress at these levels are more susceptible to integral theory because the dissonance they feel is pushing them to seek. It can be the working class or the gifted middle class or the upper class kids- if they feel the dissonance and frustration with living today- you can help them with integral theory.

The distinction between relative and absolute self is also very helpful (I think) for students. Acknowledging interiors is very helpful as well because you can tell them their thoughts are real and arise as a result of multiple factors (AQAL)

Im not familiar with European or big educational trends so I try to be student centered and focus on my community of students. I do think family dynamics play a significant role in student lives and while skill acquisition is the primary driver of secondary education (I think) there is a sense that students crave a deeper meaning beyond the separate self sense and while they may harbor mythic, rational and pluralistic sensibilities, they are frustrated when they look at only their relative identity and believe they can’t be famous (myth), get into an Ivy (mythic rational) or the world they inhabit is insensitive and uncaring (pluralistic).

I don’t know if 12th grade or 18 years of age should be the last step before you are “on your own” in terms of doing something for your community or yourself without having to pay for something. Maybe if basic needs were met lots of students would gladly work in a farm or play mahjong with the elderly. Affordable summer camps would be great too, most kids are not working in the fields in the summer anymore but I think a lot would love that.


You are right on target. The school I was working with brought in the first German Apprenticeship program to Georgia. This is the new direction, targeted education.

The group I was working with was the “between-ers”. The kids who wouldn’t become welders or doctors. The kids who could go to college but were getting worthless degrees that back in my day was 4 years of partying, making life long friends, growing up and all and all good experience so not actually worthless, but 30 years ago you came out with 20g of debt not 150g of crippling debt. Will Bernie’s plan get off the ground to solve this, I doubt it. I think we need an Integral solution, not a green solution. Integral education is a better direction.

The program I ran for two years was bringing social good entrepreneurs with real companies and real problems into the classroom digitally and setting up design think program for solving business problems. I tinkered with Integral models and direct lessons and mindfulness with it too. It worked great.

The state-wide program was going to look at how to bring this digital platform idea to rural communities and provide more structured workforce development programs.

There are Integral education opportunities all over this. I am not finding any resistance to Integral in the system at all, the world is ready, integralist just need to stop talking and start doing:)