The Whole Person Education Office (WPEO) held a lecture on Holistic Education on 9 November. With his extensive knowledge and background in education and developmental psychology, Prof Gregory Watson provided an interesting and thought-provoking lecture titled ‘Holistic education begins with self-knowledge’, to UIC students and staff.

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Prof Gregory Watson

Prof Watson earned his doctoral at Harvard University in 1987. He served as a consultant to the US Department of Education for two years and was also a research fellow at the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID), in addition to teaching developmental psychology at the University of Massachusetts, in the Graduate Programme for teachers.

He introduced his lecture by asking a simple question: “What is a human being?” Several members of the audience offered their suggestion, and each one gathered a positive response. He noted two keys points raised on the white board, “knowledge of morality” and “mentality”.

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Prof Watson explaining possible input and output features

Prof Watson further explained that Chinese philosophy, specifically quoting Confucianism, incorporates the same concepts of holistic education. This philosophy focuses on the “relationships with nature, society, and [oneself]”. He elaborated by discussing the idea that when people learn about who they are and understand that humans are all the same, people can acquire a better understanding of themselves and others.

He displayed a picture of a diagram, detailing how people are often part of different groups bigger than themselves and how people are all under the category of Earth.

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Prof Watson discussing the diagram with the audience

Prof Watson then discussed how learning and educating should now focus on the “whole child in the whole world”, describing how when children learn about who they are and what makes them human just like everyone else, they can learn about the whole Earth, not just where they are.


Reporter/Photographer: Marissa Furney
Editors: Samuel Burgess, Deen He, Étienne Fermie
(from MPRO)