Becoming One With the World

A Guide to Neohumanist Education

Kathleen Kesson, LIU-Brooklyn

A volume in the series: Transforming Education for the Future. Editor(s): Jing Lin, University of Maryland. Rebecca L. Oxford, University of Maryland. Vachel W. Miller, Appalachian State University. Amanda Jane Fiore, State Department.

In Press 2024

Becoming One With the World: A Guide to Neohumanist Education responds to an urgent need to reconceptualize the fundamentals of education in light of the many social, ecological, and political challenges facing humanity today. It answers the call for a new educational paradigm, one based on a far richer, more insightful understanding of human possibility, one that decenters human “exceptionalism” in favor of a new ecological consciousness, one that promotes harmony and cooperation between humans and non-human others, and one that cultivates wisdom. Neohumanist education strives for a harmonious balance between spiritual development and critical engagement with the world, in the belief that an awakened conscience translates into transcending differences and creating a sense of unity with all beings.

The book is designed to enhance the spiritual and pedagogical knowledge and skill of teachers, parents, and school leaders who are seeking more holistic approaches to educating young people. Both richly theoretical and eminently practical, the book applies the primary commitments of Neohumanist education—cultivating love and kinship with humans and non-human others, freeing the mind from dogma and limitations, fostering a balanced approach between inquiry into the outer, objective world(s) and the inner, subjective world(s), and awakening the desire for social and environmental justice—to the full spectrum of traditional subject matter. It draws upon a wide range of new research and scholarship to illustrate an educational model capable of maximizing human potential and inspiring young people to create a future that is just, joyful, and sustainable.


"What a wonderful book! Packed into its pages are decades of experience as a meditator, yogi, parent, educator, and Neohumanist. This latter is the crux of this text, designed to lay out in clear accessible language the fundamentals of this rich and inspiring philosophy and to touch on ways it can find its way into the daily flow of the classroom and school. A philosophy worth its salt is one that actually makes a difference in the day to day lives of people. In Kathleen Kesson and her comprehensive book, we find just this: practical, pragmatic insights into a philosophy both new and ancient! It is a gift to educators and anyone committed to wholesome futures for children, society and of course, the planet." — Marcus Bussey, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia

"Becoming One With the World is an extraordinary book. While its primary aims are explaining the philosophy of Neohumanism and detailing a Neohumanistic approach to education, it is simultaneously a comprehensive summary and synthesis of scholarly literature in the field of holistic education. Unifying knowledge and methods from many curricula areas, including spirituality, ecology, aesthetics, literacy, cultural diversity and ethics, it offers a clear orientation to a way of educating young people that seems key to human surviving and thriving." — Aostre Johnson, Saint Michael’s College in Vermont

Epigraph. Preface. Foreword, Ron Miller. Introduction. Acknowledgments. SECTION I: THE FOUNDATIONS OF NEOHUMANIST EDUCATION. CHAPTER 1: Neohumanism: A Philosophy of Education for Our Time. CHAPTER 2: The Development of a Neohumanist Educator. CHAPTER 3: Reconceptualizing Child Development. CHAPTER 4: The Science of Learning. CHAPTER 5: Healing the World: Decolonizing Education. CHAPTER 6: Contemplative Inquiry: The Art of Knowing the Child. SECTION II: PEDAGOGY AND PRACTICES OF NEOHUMANIST EDUCATION. CHAPTER 7: Curriculum Theory and Design for a Neohumanist Future. CHAPTER 8: The Art of Teaching. CHAPTER 9: Arts-Based Learning at the Center. CHAPTER 10: Multiple Literacies: The Role of Language and Story in Neohumanist Education. CHAPTER 11: Visual Art and Emergence: Bringing Worlds Into Being, with Alieta Belle and Leeza Stratford. CHAPTER 12: The Superpower of Music. CHAPTER 13: Neohumanist Education and the “Lively Arts”: Integrating Creative Movement Across the Curriculum. CHAPTER 14: Neohumanist Education and the “Lively Arts”: Integrating Creative Drama Across the Curriculum. CHAPTER 15: Teaching Ashtanga Yoga to Children, with MahaJyoti Glassman. CHAPTER 16: Studying the Social World: Towards a Neohumanist Future. CHAPTER 17: Rethinking STEAM for the Anthropocene — Part I: Science and the Modern World. CHAPTER 18: Rethinking STEAM for the Anthropocene — Part II: Towards a Neohumanist STEAM Pedagogy. CHAPTER 19: Conclusion: Education for a Bright Future. Further Resources. About the Author. About the Contributors.