The ground around is covered with dry leaves, and above, the birds twitter and hop among the bare branches. It is Journal editing season again, and for this the fourth issue, we are once again blessed with a variety of well-written, thought-provoking pieces. Working together on the Journal has been for us a challenge and a joy. In its fourth year now, it begins to seem as if a little sapling that has been struggling to strike deeper roots, has gained a strength of its own.
The breadth and depth of contributions received over the last four years reflect the abundant energy going into creating innovative curricula and learning environments, as well as ecologically oriented programmes in schools. We also see the emergence of deeper frameworks for understanding education and a sharing of questions and perceptions that arise in the daily lives of teachers. We certainly hope that the Journal will continue to evoke the kind of reflective, inspiring as well as informative writings that it has drawn so far.
And yet at this time, we find ourselves questioning the energy going into all this work that we do. What fuels it? Do we look inward to discover the source and quality of our energy? Does it come from an identification with particular activities, visions and ideals, and is it hence divisive and conditional? Does our energy tend to get dissipated, while we are carried along by the busy-ness, the routine of daily life in our schools?
Or are we discovering ways of renewing our sense of contact with reality, both within ourselves and in the world at large (the two being fundamentally not separate). Can we tap a fount of energy that has a quality of deep renewal, and can the touchstone for our actions be a sense of relationship with the whole? We feel that such questions are at the heart of our educational inquiry. For unless we come upon a truly creative, transformative dimension in our lives as teachers and human beings, the educational intent of our schools remains a distant chimera. One or two of the pieces in the present issue of the Journal seem to touch upon these concerns.
Education must also be concerned with the larger issues of contemporary societies that are beset with the horrors of violence and terrorism, the challenge of technological revolutions, and—against the backdrop of escalating environmental degradation—the growing spectre of rampant consumerism. How do we find ways of equipping our students to respond to this fast changing scenario, and yet relate to life’s deeper movements? How might we together begin to appreciate the value of eternal truths in meeting the pressures of the immediate? At least two articles in this issue offer perspectives on these concerns.
With this issue, we are beginning a process of reaching out to a wider cross-section of readers. The Journal is no longer for in-house circulation alone, but will be available on subscription to other schools, colleges of education, as well as interested individuals. One of the intentions of the Journal has been to promote greater reader interaction through these pages, and we would welcome any feedback and suggestions in this regard. To highlight some features which have this primary purpose in mind, we would draw your attention to: Interactions (articles that invite responses, which are then published in the Journal), and Innovations in Education (descriptive reports on educational ventures of significance). Teachers’ File is being introduced in this issue for the first time to enable the sharing of specific teaching ideas in a concise, easy-to-follow form.
When this Journal reaches you, we imagine that it will be vacation time (or nearly), wherever you are. We hope that you will enjoy turning these pages in a relaxed and leisurely mood, and that some words, somewhere, will resonate with your own deepest concerns.