Welcome! Even a casual glance at newspaper headlines causes concern about the future of global society. While some issues are beyond human control, most of what we witness are caused by human ignorance, weakness or willful disregard for the interests of others. I have started this blog because I am convinced that the world is in crisis, and I believe that widespread change is impossible without a new educational paradigm.
Through this blog I offer social conscience education as an element of this new educational approach. Social conscience education provides students with rich educational experiences, both in and outside the classroom, which asks them to come to their own tentative conclusions concerning human beings’ interrelationship with the world. In light of this new-found intellectual growth, students are also encouraged to act in accordance with their new understanding and begin repairing the world.
Social conscience education asks teachers to skillfully balance intellectual objectivity and passion, introspection and social change, in-class study and out-of-class experiences, openness to new ideas and commitment to taking action. The social conscience teacher needs to play three roles simultaneously: a curriculum innovator, pedagogue of critical thinking, and an empathetic mentor. A certain moment-by-moment professional integrity is needed to lead students in social conscience growth.
Social conscience education connects us to people and issues beyond the self, which by definition can be considered an inherently spiritual exercise. Far from being threatened by bringing discussions of spirit into discussions about social conscience, students welcome this holistic view of education and life.
Through this blog I hope to create a space for educators in Hong Kong, Asia, and the rest of the world to discuss the connections between theory and practice in social conscience education. Again, welcome to this site!
Marty Schmidt, Ed.D.
Humanities Teacher at Hong Kong International School