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On a comprehensive intelligence

19 | 05 | 2020

21st-century education faces urgent challenges. One is the development of a comprehensive intelligence.

Education is often reconfigured, in some measure, to meet the needs of the times and societies who need it. Our own present finds us within a globalization that’s put the entire planet in an emergency of multiple ecological and social challenges. Such a present calls out urgently for the development of collective skills: thinking together, finding common answers, and integrating multiple points of view.

But what does education need today?

Educational models need to develop comprehensive intelligences and methods. That is, an education of consciousness toward a sense of collective responsibility and a commitment (individually, as we are towards our environment, our communities, and our planet). It needs to consider the cognitive dimension, but also the physical, affective, communicative, and social dimensions. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has, in recent decades, noted that comprehensive education must serve four learning classes: learning to be, learning to know, learning to do, and learning to live together.

Facing such issues, educators, parents, guardians, and other educational figures have in their hands the opportunity and the enormous responsibility to prepare students, children, and young people, to inhabit the world in a more conscious, generous, sensitive, and committed way.

The challenges of 21st-century education should nourish the interdisciplinary, the technological, the artistic, creativity, sensitivity, and intelligence, such that they grow together, communally. The situation is even more urgent in the face of a pandemic. The world attests, and has shown us in sadly violent ways, that humanity is one and needs to work together to evolve.

At this point, it’s important to mention art as a vehicle of learning and knowledge building, as a unifying, sensitizing and, sobering force. Art refines and sensitizes consciousness and it can shape interior and exterior realities. This has been studied and proven for decades by methodologies and experts in the subject.

One such method is that followed by VTC, developed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York several years ago. It then expanded into museums and institutions around the world. This part of the artistic experience is to generate not just knowledge, but also expressive and emotional abilities, and all while giving space to the role of sensitivity, dialogue, listening, and creative expression as parts of a person’s integral well-being. It’s one of the methods implemented at the DIA Institute, an invitation to rethink our spaces and communities, our interactions, and our possible forms of coexistence.

The DIA Institute works at preparing educators, youth, and leaders in general, based on the dia  methodology, (Development of Intelligence through Art). It’s a methodology in which La Vaca Independiente has invested more than 25 years of research, design, and training program implementation.

A Path to Being and Transcending

The founder of La Vaca Independiente, teacher Claudia Madrazo recently published A Path to Being and Transcending: The development of integral intelligence (Un camino para ser y trascender. El desarrollo de la inteligencia integral). Through dia mediation, the book suggests a broad, transcendent vision of education. Ethical and aesthetic principles invite reflection and action with the environment we live in and create.  

With solid theoretical and methodological underpinnings, Madrazo shares material researched and developed with La Vaca Independiente and the DIA Institute. This was an effort to stimulate and nurture learning processes in and out of the classroom. Effort was also put into supporting the development of integral intelligence to enhance the spaces in which we live, human interactions and activities, and our forms of coexistence and so that we might conduct ourselves in a changing world as intelligent, sensitive, flexible, and committed people. In the current situation, building possibilities and paths for development, and personal and social well-being is not just important but urgent.

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