Think on These Things Syllabus
An inquiry-based program for high school and college students,
with the goal of creating a space for
authentic exploration of fundamental questions
“The function of education is to create human beings who are integrated and therefore intelligent. We may take degrees and be mechanically efficient without being intelligent. Intelligence is not mere information; it is not derived from books, nor does it consist of clever self-defensive responses and aggressive assertions. One who has not studied may be more intelligent than the learned. We have made examinations and degrees the criterion of intelligence and have developed cunning minds that avoid vital human issues. Intelligence is the capacity to perceive the essential, the what is; and to awaken this capacity, in oneself and in others, is education.
Education should help us to discover lasting values so that we do not merely cling to formulas or repeat slogans; it should help us to break down our national and social barriers, instead of emphasizing them, for they breed antagonism between man and man. Unfortunately, the present system of education is making us subservient, mechanical and deeply thoughtless; though it awakens us intellectually, inwardly it leaves us incomplete, stultified and uncreative. Without an integrated understanding of life, our individual and collective problems will only deepen and extend. The purpose of education is not to produce mere scholars, technicians and job hunters, but integrated men and women who are free of fear; for only between such human beings can there be enduring peace.”
- J. Krishnamurti, Education and the Significance of Life, Chapter 1
Since the program’s inception three years ago, we have travelled to numerous high schools and universities throughout the country, bringing these fundamental life questions to students and young adults.
The core of the Think on These Things program has been distilled into a syllabus that is now available for educators to use in their own classrooms. This syllabus includes a detailed introduction that evaluates and analyzes the transformative potential found within this inquiry-based program, The body of the syllabus is comprised of 10 carefully assembled lesson plans designed to challenge and explore 10 different fundamental questions and topics such as success, fear, and violence.
This program gives students a chance to authentically express what is going on for them, in an altogether different way from what they are used to in their everyday lives. Students have the opportunity to explore topics that they often don’t have a chance to engage with close friends or family. They are able to take chances and discover new things about themselves and the world in a space free from fear and the expectations of formal schooling. In their daily lives, students are constantly thinking about conforming, or, being adolescents, reacting against the expectations of parents, friends, peer pressure, school, and teachers for them to conform. Here, they don’t have to perform and aren’t evaluated in any way. We are inviting them to be honest, authentic and creative within the space provided by this program—we hope that the space we create for them is experienced as deeply meaningful and transformative.
Depending on the group of students (size, age, atmosphere), the facilitator can choose to incorporate any or all of the following activities and materials listed as supplemental materials.
Click here to view all supplemental materials suggested in the syllabus.
Click here to view a schedule of upcoming events.