Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Education VII

Last night I saw a beautiful and inspiring film: "How to cook your life" (2007). Zen cook and monk Edward Espe Brown explains how to prepare bread and other foods.

But it is not only about food. Brown interlaces the preparation of food to topics as anger, anxiety, the mind and suffering.

This is how education has to be understood, and Edward Espe Brown acts as a real educator. He takes a seemingly simple act (as cooking), and uses it to go to very real and deep subjects of everyday life.

Watching the film several points popped up in my mind:

- A real teacher is not the product of many clever courses about (alternative or wholistic) education. It is the depth of the person who is a teacher that makes a difference.

- What is the role of religious people in a new kind of education? Should they come out of their monasteries and get more involved in education?

- Education cannot be just passing information-knowledge. Edward Espe Brown takes one subject like cooking and explores the relationship of the student with the subject, the relationship between the people in the class/group, the relation of the students with their own mind and the relationship of the student´s mind with life in general. And still learning something technical, like bread making, in a highly skilled way. One highlight of the film is when he refers to the bumps that have the metal tea pots, and he says they are a symbol for a person, as life inevitably produces bumps on you, but he refers to the dignity of the tea pots still serving its function.

- Another thing that popped in my mind, a bit unrelated to the film, was that if we want to send our children to a school, we should know the school really thoroughly, not just by references. In that sense, schools should offer some classes to the parents, so one could know firsthand the school and the teachers.

You could see a small clip of this film here.

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