AIR UNIVERSITY AND THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE – THE WHOLE PERSON
Chapter 6 discusses The Whole Person
The issue of education and the “whole person” has been one of much interest for a long while. However, as education continues its mercurial change throughout culture and technological realms, the education of the whole person has become a new discussion. The following research looks at how education is changing and how the education of the whole person plays into these changes. First, nutrition and the whole person will be examined through the lens of the deep fried south. Next, individual talent and ability will be discussed. Finally, the maker movement in education and how it applies to the development of the whole person will be considered.
Nutrition as it concerns the great culture has been at the forefront of education for some time now. With obesity rates rocketing upward and the continuing burden to a changing health care environment, education in nutrition has been seen as one potential way to help ease some of the health, fiscal, and educational issues we face as a society and nation. This is specifically seen as a problem in the southeast and Alabama even more specifically. “The review of the literature suggests Alabama residents do lack adequate nutritional knowledge, but it would appear that even when they do have adequate nutritional knowledge, they often don’t change their behavior” (Norrell, 2013, p. 126). The fact that this is an issue in the south and specifically in Alabama, should give us at AU pause. While there is more education and more of a likelihood of a more healthful lifestyle in the Air Force, there are many temptations as well as other factors that could contribute to difficulties associated with the local food culture and environment. “The fact remains that residents of Alabama are very prone to being overweight and obese and there are many factors that contribute to this such as nutritional knowledge, genetics, physiology, mindfulness and physical activity” (Norrell, 2013, p. 130). These facts are areas of concern for many reasons, mostly because the prevailing environment and attitude toward nutrition and health in Alabama is still not positive. AU can learn from this and continue to ensure that Airmen have the knowledge and resources they need to be healthy and productive warriors.
“Language Arts had the opportunity to interview Sir Ken Robinson, internationally recognized scholar, speaker, and leader in the development of and commitment to the arts, creativity, innovation, and the potential of human resources. His TED talks (Technology, Entertainment, and Design: http://www.ted.com) are estimated to have reached over 300 million people and have had profound impact in the world” (Language Arts, 2014, p. 157). In this interview, Robison speaks to Language Arts about how to develop individual talents and abilities, an integral part of education for the whole person. “My experience is that all people have talents, it’s just that many of those talents are undiscovered. I think if you don’t discover things you’re good at and things you love to do, then you never quite discover what you’re capable of or really who you are. I think that, increasingly, the mission of schools has to focus on the development of our individual talents and abilities, among all of the other things that we need to learn in common” (Language Arts, 2014, p. 159). This strategy allows those who may be traditionally weaker in some areas to use their innate talents to uphold or overcome these weaker areas and succeed where they once failed. Robinson goes on to say: “What I mean is the feeling of deep engagement and commitment to something that really inspires and interests you. You can tell when you’re doing something that you love to do because it gives you energy” (Language Arts, 2014, p. 159). Much of Robinson’s outlook toward teaching the whole person has to do with untapped potential. “My argument has been from the outset that everyone has natural creative capacities, but they have to be developed” (Language Arts, 2014, p. 162). Through the use of creativity and tapping into the creativity of others in the field of education, more discovery and success can be had.
The “Maker Movement” has garnered quite a lot of attention lately. “This year at the first ever White House Maker Faire, President Obama declared, ‘I am calling on people across the country to join us in sparking creativity and encouraging invention in their communities’” (Halverson & Sheridan, 2014, p. 495). Maker culture, as it has become known to many, is all about new technologies, expert marketing, and strong word of mouth. It appear sot be a grass roots effort to introduce as much information and innovation as possible from a fringe culture into the American mainstream. The movement is characterized by nine key ideas: make, share, give, learn, tool up (i.e., secure necessary tools), play, participate, support, and change. “Just as progressive educators have been talking about for decades about learning as the creation of meaningful artifacts, artists and arts educators have long histories of supporting learning in the making across a variety of art forms and media” (Halverson & Sheridan, 2014, p. 499). The Maker Movement has been seen of late to be influencing education in some very interesting and exciting ways. “The trend of remaking learning spaces in higher education and informal learning settings has generated inevitable questions in the formal context” (Halverson & Sheridan, 2014, p. 499). The end game for the Maker Movement, then, is to enhance learning through the encouragement of creative conversation and production. This could be a huge advantage at AU and especially through AFIT as making really comes down to innovation and production that can move the Air Force and AU rapidly into the future as an institution of higher learning as well as an Air Force.
Halverson, E.R. & Sheridan, K.M. (2014). The Maker Movement in Education. Harvard Educational Review, 84 (4), 495-565.
Language Arts Staff (2014). Developing individual Talent and Abilities: An interview with Sir Ken Robinson. Language Arts, 92 (2), 157-162.