At our institution, we know and recognize that societies are changing and adapting to historical processes impacting all areas, these changes are not unrelated to education. It is for this reason that educational systems cannot be anachronistic and oblivious to the changes. You cannot continue teaching as you did twenty, thirty, or even fifty years ago, because students belong to another context and reality.

One of the frequent mistakes by educational systems is to follow guidelines and teaching models that do not fit our current students’ needs. Although educational models, such as the constructivist and behaviorist theories indeed continue to be an essential part of the students’ teaching-learning process; it can no longer be ignored that this new generation requires and needs new approaches and teaching models that allow them to integrate their needs for learning: optimizing, advancing, and comprehensively exploiting their capabilities.

For a long time, education has not only focused on the mechanical accumulation of data or memorization of information, but also on integrating aspects related to emotions along with the adequate construction of knowledge.

The holistic approach integrates psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual aspects in education, based on various teaching methods that seek to elevate the human element in the learner, favoring the understanding of complex information based on their cognitive and sensitive abilities (Gluyas, Romero & Rubio, 2015). Holistic education is applied in our institution since it proposes a structural change in the way of educating students. It encompasses elements such as empathy for the environment, integration to social problems, and elevating their understanding. It also affects a humanist formation, considering the students’ psychological and emotional levels, and priority aspects for the creation of their critical thinking.

Teachers at Villa Per Se are prepared to interact with their students, not only to pass on knowledge to them. They must understand children from a human aspect. A student is seen as a whole, emotions and biological changes converge in it. Also, social adaptation is evidenced, both at home and in the school. Education must reach these guidelines in order to train better people and human beings.

While it is true that this approach also requires the support of parents, teachers should work with them jointly to ensure a comprehensive education. It is essential that educational systems lay on the coherent foundations for transforming learning and live up to the new circumstances and needs of students.  

In this regard, Barrientos (2017) synthesized his vision of the new teacher, emphasizing that the new teacher must have a calling to educate students with dignity, respect, and freedom, through the adoption of dialogue, tolerance, compassion, fraternity, and commitment, to transform positively through education. It would help if teachers also focused on supporting and guiding them in the pursuit of their skills, dreams, and talents so that teachers are a guide on the path to reach students’ accomplishments and goals.

Within Villa Per Se´s approach, education converges into three lines: the emotions, the construction of critical thinking, and the spiritual framework. Educating through emotions implies having empathy with the students and their problems. Our teachers are prepared to understand both the biological and psychological changes of our students, identifying behaviors that may be incorrect, but that hide some type of problem or emotional void.

Hand in hand with understanding, handling and emotional orientation, the teaching-learning process is built, in such a way that it allows the student to build critical constructive thinking; that is to say, that they can be aware of their role and location in society, and how important each of their actions is. Finally, and as an integrating axis of the first two aspects, spiritual education should be promoted. When dealing with the spiritual aspect, this should not be confused with religion, but with being empathetic with others, in learning to be tolerant, and above all, raise social and environmental awareness.

While it is true, the principles of holistic education are ambitious, particularly in the Peruvian context. There are still many gaps to close on the segments of society, specially in the education sector. However, the radical changes that are taking place in the world (pollution, predation of resources, the spread of epidemics and diseases, etc.) already make it unsustainable to continue embracing old-fashioned educational models. Consequently, the Peruvian education should guide the quest to have better citizens, that are empathic and aware of the impact that their actions have on others, keeping respect for each other, and preserving the planet, in a natural way. The way to achieve this is a new way of addressing education, as the holistic approach proposes.

By Christian Quevedo – 5th grade Homeroom Teacher

References
Barrientos, P. (2017). Educational model and challenges in teacher training. Horizonte of Science Magazine, 2 (3), 175-191. Recovered from: 

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:V1G8BO6Sf20J:revistas.uncp.edu.pe/index.php/horizontedelaciencia/article/download/462/362+&cd=18&hl=es&ct=clnk&gl=pe

Gluyas, R. Esparza, R. Romero, M. Rubio, J (2015). Holistic Education Model: a proposal for the formation of the human being. Electronic Magazine «Educational Research News. » 3 (15), 1-25. Recovered from:  

http://www.redalyc.org/pdf/447/44741347022.pdf