‘THE IDEA OF INTEGRATED EDUCATION: FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF WHITEHEAD’S PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION’ By Beena Indrani[1]

The article focuses on ‘the idea of integrated education’. The goal is not about how to find a good job or make big money, but about how to develop a complete human being. Every part of the individual- mind, body, emotion and spirit should be developed at the same time and be integrated into the whole person. The concept of integrated education emphasizes methods which concentrate on viewing the student as a whole person. This idea comes from the Whitehead’s philosophy of education.

Whitehead’s philosophy of education was built on the concepts of the organism and process thought. Whitehead always believed that appreciation of the relation of the whole to the part was central to understanding reality. Whitehead believed “nothing is in isolation”. All things depend upon each other. In this world everything is connected to everything. Everything is a part of the whole. Whitehead emphasizes the importance of wholeness and relationship.

Whitehead applied this thought to education. He used the term “nature alive”, which enabled him to look at both of physical and biological science from a unique perspective. According to this, ‘the students are alive’. The body contains both the mental and physical attributes of unified experience. In his philosophy no separation of mind and body. The body includes the mental state (the mind, perception and reasoning). Students do not present to us isolated mind or bodies but themselves as integrated human beings whose relations in the world are experience that Whitehead’s philosophy of organism explains. From a process perspective student viewed holistically. Teachers do not confront a mind, or a body or cognition, or affect, but a totality: learners bring their whole being to the situation. According to above discussion, the idea of integrated education is based on Whitehead’s philosophy of organism.

Western schools were built on the needs of western civilization; Chinese schools were built on Chinese civilization. But now we are a world civilization. The whole earth is becoming a small global village, where our schools are obsolete by any standards for today’s technological world. Our school systems should teach our children to know, understand and appreciate other cultures and each other. Teachers must become the translators of cultural differences. We need to teach our children to celebrate diversity and the creative human spirit. Every country and culture has its own educational system. These individual systems met the needs of the single culture but are not enough for today’s global society. This is one of reasons why some American educators said, “we are the richest nation in the world, but yet we have a failing school system”. So the global society of today needs an educational system, which is based on an integrated education.

This article discusses few reasons as why we need an educational system, which is based on an integrated education. These reasons are as follows:

Senior Research Fellow, Research Scholar, Department of Education, University of Allahabad, Allahabad.

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