While teaching a Primary School Science lesson recently, I had the opportunity to observe the quality of Science we currently offer our school students, as well as to discern something of the true status of Science as it currently operates in our world. I was struck deeply by the omission of building upon children’s natural and vital sense of awe and wonder.
The lesson itself was ‘textbook’ best practice and ticked many boxes from the perspective of what is considered as good Science teaching. It was a hands-on activity with a sound theoretical foundation: students would be engaging in real life experimental design, manipulating only one variable – they were to work in teams of three with clearly assigned roles, and were outside the confines of the classroom. In addition, the students would be sharing their findings in a report.
The topic under investigation was the effects of tidal action on beach erosion, an issue common in our local area, and we had previously viewed this phenomenon at length, online.
Each group of students had constructed a model in a plastic box of how the land is eroded by the wave action of the ocean and each group was actively engaged in pushing water towards a 20cm bank of sand, using a small piece of flat plastic.
The students were having great fun with the activity but, as I observed them ‘making’ the sand bank in the tray collapse, I became acutely aware of how far short of the truth this ‘model’ of the wave phenomenon actually was.
Water contained thus in a box cannot be said to faithfully replicate the rhythms and movements of water in the oceans. Moreover, accurate measurements of beach erosion can only typically be made by a longitudinal study over an extended time period – observations naturally offered by those who have lived on a coastline for many, many years. On an even grander scale, we know that shorelines, and even landmasses, change monumentally over longer periods of time – on occasions, even disappearing completely.
A single point in time measurement of a controlled model, like this one here, is an extreme example of reducing down the truth and the grandness of Nature’s cycles quite literally, into a box.
Moreover, where was the science of the moon’s effects on the waves, or the acknowledgement that the moon’s effects are actually the Sun’s effects? Where was the understanding of the blessing of this solar gesture, or, indeed, the reasons behind intense land erosion? What about the Science of the origins and movements of the intense winds that usually accompany this activity and their purpose? Where was the sense of this synchronous interconnectedness? In short, where was the sense of awe and wonder readily felt by observing this phenomenon, an awe and wonder that children easily connect with when inspired to do so by adults?
Reducing down such a multi-faceted phenomenon to a box, as well as excluding its relationships with what lays beyond the Earth, falls far short of the Science we could be offering our children in school, a Science which could easily build upon their natural sense of awe and wonder. It is this sense of a much bigger picture, this feeling of a universal magnificence in life that we are all a part of that, as a teacher, I know children resonate with deeply.
Why does Science in general and Science in Primary Schools insist that our world and its wonder always be confined, reduced and constricted into controlled, measurable laboratory settings, whilst outside the box we observe the intricate grandeur of the Universe with an innate awe?
What are we teaching our students in Science? Is it to unfold our innate sense of appreciation, wonderment and awe at all that we are a part of? In spite of the fact that we cannot measure it…? Or is it how to reduce life to whatever can be measured singly, in isolation to everything else (1)? If we constantly reduce life, what effect does it have on us, given that we are part of the life that we are reducing?
Are we schooling children to cut themselves off from the wonder of themselves in relationship with an awe-inspiring Universe? Have we ever stopped to consider investigating this mentalisation of children’s innate impulses and are we avoiding the possibility that:
“An awe-willing outlook is just as important if not more so than what we call and or consider having an open mind, for an awe-willing outlook may further open one’s mind.” (‘Time, Space and all of us; Book 2, Space’, Serge Benhayon, p. 297)
Could it be that the suppressing of this awe in childhood is potentially as damaging as suppressing other innate impulses like love and affection? This is a discussion we educators and parents must have.
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I know someone who is supporting their child to enter school by supporting them with hugely interesting lessons at home. Currently they are looking at the cycle of water. They are having so much fun pasting and sticking clouds, Sun, rain, etc., onto paper to explain the cycle. Very soon we are all going to the sea side to see the sea where the cycle of the rain begins. I feel it is a brilliant idea to support children to have a sense of wonderment when it comes to nature because I noticed when my child was at school just how boring the education system has made the lessons. The education system seems to dull children down rather then fill them with a sense of awe at the way nature works in cycles and with a flow that is missing from our lives.
An awareness of all that is ‘outside the box’ of the educational curriculum inspires children and all of us to awe and wonder of the Universe.
When there is no awe life is really boring and flat. Lately I have been more inclined to not take photos of something and simply enjoy the moment as it is. Because really, I rarely if ever look back at those pictures other than when deleting them to clear space. Looking at life through the phone screen diminishes the ability to take everything in and enjoy that awe.
Watching the natural awe and wonderment of a child is inspiring and as you have shared Anonymous, this level of innate investigation should be encouraged and not be shut down.
In the future we will look back at our education and realise what a farce it has been, nothing of truly any real value is taught hence why we have children to grow up and suffer as adults.
This is a great topic of conversation and one very dear to my heart because we have allowed the scientist to reduce and confine our world so that we have lost the wonder and awe at the magic that is constantly at play. How is it possible that we have reduced the magnificence of the universe into something that we seemingly do not take any notice of. We no longer look to the stars as our ancestors did there is so much light pollution most of us cannot see them any more. By confining and reducing our universe we have confined and reduced ourselves.
It actually makes me sad when I see how education impacts our children in such a negative way, we have societies full of depressed people who do not know who they are, many people have lost the magic in life and why – because we have an education system all set up around recall with little regard for the heart and body that will always be far wiser then a minds used in isolation.
An awe-willing outlook, what a great subject. That is what I had as a child, it disappeared and now is resurfacing again. I realize it’s choice to have such an outlook, I choose that.
‘ Is it to unfold our innate sense of appreciation, wonderment and awe at all that we are a part of? In spite of the fact that we cannot measure it…? ‘ I love this appreciation of wonderment not being something we can tie down, compare and measure. When we try to pin it down to a formula or to something concrete we miss how it’s not something static to be owned and displayed. It’s like trying to put a ray of sunshine into a matchstick box and capturing it – it doesn’t work.
Awe and wonder is such a beautiful quality to be with, as if offers us the opportunity to deepen our awareness of the magnificence of the rhythm, cycles and magic of the universe which inspires us to reflect and deepen our awareness of who we are, all that we are connected to and to appreciate our own innate magnificence and our inescapable part in it all.
Such a great question my sense is that we are educating our children in the most limited way. With devastating consequences.
So to turn the question round – how can we expand horizons and encourage, teach and inspire each other to look outside of the box?
Great call to foster the ‘awe-willing outlook’ of all children young and old so that we never lose our sense of being part of the universe and how we are within it. When we reduce anything by putting it in a box we lose far more than we gain.
I wonder if many science lessons manage to capture the awe and wonderment of what we are a part, ‘What are we teaching our students in Science? Is it to unfold our innate sense of appreciation, wonderment and awe at all that we are a part of?’
How do we foster and nurture that sense of awe that kids naturally experience is a great question. I think in general the way we educate kids tends to switch off our awe-button by making the world seem incredibly 2d and flat rather than turning it their awe by letting them explore just how incredible the world is…
At the moment there is a lot of media discussion around the amount of money and funding a school receives and if it is adequate or not, the question is political and is quite heavy. To me the real answer is in the quality and space we re able to give our children – deny them who they are and no amount of money will be able to offer them a ‘better’ education.
Encourage them to be who they are, and the very air we breathe becomes a true education, along with the sun, stars, nature, people, and everything that is around us and going on in the world. When we come into relationship with all of that, there is an infinite number of lessons on offer.
Beautifully said Simon – if our innate sense of wonder, awe and fascination is fostered from a young age our exploration and understanding of who we are would be in a very different place right now.
This is a great question ; ‘Why does Science in general and Science in Primary Schools insist that our world and its wonder always be confined, reduced and constricted into controlled, measurable laboratory settings, whilst outside the box we observe the intricate grandeur of the Universe with an innate awe?’
We are all the losers when science is reduced away from the grandeur of its innate relationship with every aspect of the universe and our lives within that.
This is a great article. Reading it makes me realise that when I was at school science seemed to be about testing different metals and doing measured experiments – none of which I understood or found interesting and so I wrote science off as being dull and complicated. Now I read this I can feel how amazing science and nature and the world we live in is and how this awe and amazingness is what inspires children.
You are asking a fabulous question at the end of your article pointing out that we are the ones that also are reduced when science is reduced. It feels like you are touching on a very crucial point. Could it be that our quality and understanding of life is also reduced when we reduce science?
Absolutely Elizabeth, a well joy to read this absolute truth in revelation.
I love how children have a natural wonder of the world; from crystals and rocks to feathers, leaves and water – it’s beautiful to encourage and support this natural sense of wonder and awe, rather than make subjects dull and lifeless.
‘where was the sense of awe and wonder readily felt by observing this phenomenon, an awe and wonder that children easily connect with when inspired to do so by adults?’ I can really relate to this, science can be amazing and awe-inspiring but as in my case I found science very dull and hard to understand when I was taught it. It feels like this is a such an amazing subject that it needs to be presented in an inspiring and bigger picture way so that children can engage with it and enjoy it.
What a great example this is for reducing the truth, as eduction reduces all the children who go through the system.
I recently went to a forest school with my young grandchildren – for just one morning. The learning that took place their, through play activities, was amazing. The cooperation and creativity engendered – and fun – were second to none – all outside in natural surroundings. They loved it.
The education system doesn’t foster wonder. Science is thus reduced and it is no wonder some students get put off learning. An amazing teacher can transform a subject for their students and make a huge difference in their lives. Many of us can remember a teacher who made a difference to us, in spite of the education system in their country.
An awe-inspired outlook is the only way to go when you clock the wonder in nature and in the human body. It is amazing to consider the divine design of it all and how everything is in relationship with everything whether we choose to be aware of it or not.
Awe and wonder, I cannot remember feeling much of that at school. It is very much needed however for real learning to occur.
The awe and wonder has taken second place to the drill and disease of our current education system. A great blog to awaken the wonder and awe we can often ignore in our everyday lives.
Let’s face it… Most of the world’s scientists do not go to the multidimensional aspect of the universe is offered by quantum mechanics… if they did, science and medicine will be in a very different state they are now
I absolutely love “children’s natural and vital sense of awe and wonder” as it always reminds me of a time when I was a child in awe of the world. But it seems to me that so many within society, including our educators, want to keep things neatly in a box so they can control what can go in and what can come out. And all the while our amazing Universe, which cannot be contained in any box, is forever teaching us of the magic that is on offer in every moment, magic full of awe and wonder that will delight the child within us all.
This turns science into not just proof and evidence but it makes it about science in the world, science we see and understand and can connect with. It is so much bigger than text books or formulas – it is life.
The classroom can never truly represent what we can find out there, in nature.
And so it is that when we isolate ‘the part’ from the whole it is a part of, without looking to see how it relates to this, we reduce ourselves into a way of thinking that isolates us from the grandness of the universal intelligence we are a part of.
A very great point for us all to consider, that our relationship with awe and wonderment with the movements of nature, cycles, our life here on earth in general and the universe is what inspires us to explore our innate connection to our universality, multi-dimensionality and God, who we are in essence and our true purpose for being here together.
This was awesome to read “An awe-willing outlook is just as important if not more so than what we call and or consider having an open mind, for an awe-willing outlook may further open one’s mind.” (‘Time, Space and all of us; Book 2, Space’, Serge Benhayon, p. 297)’ Thank you for sharing.
Beautiful Anonymous, this experiment you describe perfectly summarises the way we curtail and box ourselves in, instead of letting Love be felt and living in a way that lets the world know we are Universal through and through. This knowing of our multi-dimensionality is true science we can do.
We do seem to have compartmentalised ourselves, life, religion, science, philosophy, and our relationship to it all, yet in truth our power is in our knowing that all are truly and intrinsically connected, as are we to it all. The beautiful thing is that we never truly are disconnected from it all, as we can never leave all that we are, we simply need only to open ourselves up to our connection to our essence, and as you have shared, reflect the ‘more’ that we naturally are and the multi-dimensionality that we are here to live.
Science that makes sense-I love that.
Without first confirming the wonder of everything and how it is all interlinked, our knowledge and learning is at best just a small slice of the truth. We don’t need to investigate further but zoom back and see the universe as infinitely larger – then life’s mysteries start to make sense. Thanks for this lesson Anonymous.
Yes, taking an observers perspective and offer ourselves an opportunity to zoom out and consider how things inter-relate feels much smarter than reducing our vision and perspective to the minutia.
Great that there are some teachers like yourself who naturally teach and inspire the sense of wonderment of ourselves and nature, ‘What are we teaching our students in Science? Is it to unfold our innate sense of appreciation, wonderment and awe at all that we are a part of?’
There is so much that science can teach us, about the incredible universe we live in and the order, precision and laws that guide nature to be in perfect alignment – things that cannot be conveyed by a cut and dry curriculum based on recall and not wonder.
It seems that everything comes in boxes these days; science experiments, parts of the human body, fast food take aways and our thinking and looking for solutions. What is outside the box gets brushed aside, to the detriment of the vastness and universality that wisdom, awe and wonderment can so easily deliver.
Very true, children have a massive capacity to observe, contemplate, express and be in awe of many amazing things in the world. When we reduce this down to ‘simple’ science lessons it does not ask for their connection to all of this, but instead it asks for a linear perception of it and this takes away the wonder and grandness of science and the child’s relationship with the world.
What if we have education as not about reaching a goal but allowing us all to unfold and deepen our understanding and wisdom of life, what if we then saw that we are always learning and that school has a specific purpose and is not the main part of our education. What if we realized that trying to get everyone to fit into the mold of the way we have society setup will not allow us to truly grow and evolve, as there are many things in society that are not true yet accepted as normal. What if we would then be able to be in awe of the magic of the universe, of nature and indeed of waves and water instead of needing to reach an outcome and complete a task.
Learning objectives and outcomes have been created to cover the backs of the governments and teachers who create them. Education has become a box-ticking exercise but there is always room for the awe and wonder to be brought in by truly committed teachers like yourself Anonymous.
I have always been fascinated and deeply intrigued by nature and being outside and find it particularly interesting during school that science was always about textbook and very controlled experiments that never gave us room to expand our own natural curiosity and wonder. Giving children the opportunity to engage with the world in a more deeper way will also give them permission to feel what is true and how wonderful the world is and how much more there is to learn and appreciate about the natural world around us.
I would have loved you as my science teacher at school, bringing so much more than what the syllabus asks, which I agree is lacking at present.
Yes true, we make learning so narrow along an already predetermined trajectory and this does not allow for the space of inquiry, exploration, real discussion, sharing of experiences and growing together as there can be no predetermined outcome when drawing out wisdom. It naturally unfolds as the children share and expand on what each other say, you can not determine the outcome of this and because its not something you can ‘measure’ in a standardised way, it is not valued, yet this is actually real learning.
It seems to me that we do not as you say anonymous support children to develop their natural and vital sense of awe and wonder with their surroundings. As adults we seem to have contributed to making life so dull, boring and robotic. Is it then any wonder our children are escaping by playing games on some sort of electronic devise, rather than fully interacting with life.
We generally use science to prove things in controlled conditions so we can refer to it later as a point of validation. But this misses out on the fact that life is science. The way the body works, the planets work, nature works – it is all science – proven simply because we observe and feel it, not because we have lots of research and papers about it.
My favourite science lessons from school were the ones when my teachers would go off on a tangent into an area they were interested or passionate about but wasn’t on the syllabus – the move away from the dry and set topics into a discussion based on true wonder and awe of life
I always loved that too Rebecca!
The best science is one that comes from direct observational experience over one experiments that are done in a controlled manner in a laboratory or classroom. The same way that politicians attempt to manipulate the truth of a situation is similar to how scientists use contolled inputs and variables to come to a ‘conclusion’ on how some facet of Nature works even though they did not take into account potentially hundreds of other inter-relating energies and variables. Also, a true scientist to me is one who can stay in awe of everything observed in an innocent way that accepts the possibility of what was deemed ‘fact’ today can evolve into a greater understanding and be let go of tomorrow.
From experience a lot of students develop a dis-love of Science as a result of the lessons taught at school, and some of this comes about because Science is promoted as a ‘subject for the smart’ and not for everyone. This is such an illusion, and it doesn’t make sense that the Sciences are often restricted at a higher level for those who get certain results in Maths and English because they teach you so much about the world, makeup of the universe and people too.
Reading this I’m reminded of living by the sea and going in it nearly daily for many years. I was fascinated by the sandbanks and how they moved, trying to predict such a complex system was nearly impossible. I used to surf which partly motivated my trying to predict which part of the beach to surf on, when to go in depending on the tide and the waves size etc. Some years the sand banks moved so much it was a mystery. There even was an island of sand created which caused a hazard to swimmers who remained on it and then had to swim deeper waters to shore. And then there was asking why the sand would have huge ripples in it and other times not. So much to appreciate about the ways of the sea.
The magic and majesty of nature, its rhythms and ways would be lost in a box. Reminds me of asking at surf school if the children had been surfing or not and one lad insisting he had but his dad explaining he had only played it as a computer game.
The education system is so geared towards academic outcomes that there is ‘no time’ to explore things further than what’s written in a textbook. But who gets to decide what millions of children should and should not learn, and how is this decision not made by communities, industry professionals and as a collective? Where have the opportunities gone for children and young people to choose what they want to know more about?
You’ve given readers a lot to reflect on as you have highlighted just how easy it is to reduce down a comprehensive understanding of something without many people even being aware of what is happening. It just goes to show how important it is to hold a level of awe and wonderment, otherwise we never ask questions and are just ‘herded’ into thinking whatever it is that those with a vested interest want us to believe or know about a topic. Thank you for bringing this to our attention through your example here and I agree that it’s worth keeping the discussion open where and when possible.
I observed recently during the super moon event this month, most talking about the impact of higher and lower than normal tides of our everyday life. Whilst this is true of course, I was pondering whether we are viewing this science and wonderful occurrence purely through a limited eye by only seeing the impact on us and not seeing the event in the whole wonder it truly is.
It’s amazing how the wonder of science can be represented in a box size experiment in the classroom. The challenge is to be able to bring it alive in a way that makes sense for the purpose of learning.
What an amazing example of how much reductionism there is going on everyday, not just in education but when we hold back anything we know as truth and accept a lesser version of the grandness, awe and wonder of life.
When we take away a Childs natural awe and wonder by being harsh or critical, we set them up to fail, their natural joy and zest for life needs to be what leads their way not any idea we have that imposed on them.
Absolutely Sam. Well said.
Yes unfortunately it is true, suppressing the magic and awe in children is damaging and suppressing their natural qualities like love and affection will always lead to a lessening of the amazing beings they are.
I wonder how it is for the kids when it comes to confining and putting in separate boxes the awe and wonder of the universe? They are often far more connected to the grandness of the all than adults are and it must be very challenging having an adult in a classroom “teach” them things that they know are not complete.
I was on a plane yesterday to Brisbane and was fortunate to sit next to a young mum and child. The child was about 3-4 and was such a delight. At one point, he asked his Mum ‘are we still flying’ and I loved that, because to me it was obvious as we had not moved as such, and he did not allow anything else to come in the way of him asking that question. And then when we landed and the pilot said, welcome to Brisbane and he was in complete awe that he was in Brisbane. And again I loved that because the plane was going to Brisbane, but he allowed his natural awe to be expressed that he was in Brisbane at that time.
After reading your words here Anonymous, I strongly feel that if we shut down all our classes and schools, universities and colleges tomorrow and replaced them with classes on wonder and awe, the world would be in a much healthier place overall. We spend so long studying but it seems to me it’s truly the wrong part. Ironic, for as you say we were naturally born with it all.
Awe-willing is a great way to describe what can be an inspiring life. I am at present in awe for example of the support of a friend in my home renovation, out of the blue he has come and made an immense difference. Awe-inspiring, awe-incredible and awesome all in one.
“Are we schooling children to cut themselves off from the wonder of themselves in relationship with an awe-inspiring Universe?” The answer to this has to be yes and as we do so we cap another generation from really knowing themselves.
I love this and it exposes how we do not live or teach in line with the true cycles, magic and wonder of the universe. We have so very much to learn and live here.
Ah the words ‘awe’ and ‘wonderment’, they give my body space to breath! they remind me we cannot be contained in a box because we are from one, we are part of one, part of another body that is more vast than we can understand from our heads, science and what we can explain. It is a feeling, a sense and is only understood when we take a step away from being able to explain it and give space to awe and wonderment.
I remember enjoying those physical real example experiments at school, so much better than just reading out of a textbook!
When reading this blog I got a strong feeling the kids/teens of today are in the “era of reductionism”. How they communicate is severely reduced…. not even talking on the phone these days but snap-chatting, yes the name says it all.
Everything is piled into the smallest period of time possible which leads to the need of instant gratification. But on further reflection maybe all generations come from this era, and the era just keeps getting redefined/reduced…..
Don’t we make life contained in a box in many many instances? In medical science for instance we look as a dentist mostly at the mouth and work with that without fully considering the whole way the person is living, his thoughts, his choices and his movements. Even though all of those make up the end picture we see in the mouth. I am all for making it simple but not for putting things or people in a box because it just does not and will never be true.
This comes across as ‘creative restriction’ – where we are making learning more dynamic but at the same time we are still reducing education to what can be taught not what can be felt.
‘Are we schooling children to cut themselves off from the wonder of themselves in relationship with an awe-inspiring Universe?’ Great question Colleen, and what we do in the rush to achieve ‘results’. But what does it ultimately result in?
Most of the resistance to learn we used to find at schools everyday, would change into willingness to learn if we as educators would allow it in our lives the openness that is required to really learn. Of course, there are restrictions that affect us into the education system, but as we are much more than that, and are able to experience this grandness in ourselves, we can bring that knowingness into our classrooms and inspire with it, while being inspired by the students too. Teaching (as in the ancient times one day was) to be truly embodied can never be dictated, but experienced and unfolded by everyone in its greatness.
There is an awe and wonderment in learning the laws of the universe because they come from the divine. Imagine being told as a science student that you will be learning the laws of the universe. Who would be able to resist the class? Nobody.
I used to really struggle with science and all the experiments. They just did not make sense to me what we were doing and why we were doing it. If someone had put it all in perspective and shown me the magic at play I’m sure I would have loved it.
I had a conversation today about how so often in school we get pushed towards studying what we are good at, which is measured by what we get good marks in – when we view education like this it takes out all consideration of learning about life and choosing a career based on feeling a connection or a purpose rather than just marks on a paper.
Love and awe cannot be controlled it is unlimited and expansive and therefore it is not what our world feels comfortable about. Systems can be controlled they are limited but what they reflect is not the full Truth. From young in school what we are exposed to is a system which does not reflect full truth.
I agree – we absolutely do need to have this conversation, as how our education system currently runs today does not seems to be working in supporting our children to feel confident with who they are or in understating their purpose in this world. We should be nurturing and fostering, as you say here, ‘our innate sense of appreciation, wonderment and awe at all that we are a part of.’ as in omitting this from our education we are omitting a huge part of understanding and exploring who we are, and our relationship with the universe that we are inescapably part of.
The Beauty of science is that we as human beings are a living science, and the more we know about what is within, the more we know the science which is reflected externally.