The Wisdom Way of Teaching

Educating for Social Conscience and Inner Awakening in the High School Classroom

Martin E. Schmidt, Hong Kong International School

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.

Published 2022

Immense challenges now face the global community. How can educators train the next generation of students to deal with the vast array of issues awaiting them in every sector of society? Written as a testimony to three decades of experimentation with these challenges in mind, Hong Kong International School humanities teacher Dr. Marty Schmidt draws upon the universal Wisdom tradition to propose pedagogical frameworks that combine what he calls the yang of social conscience with the yin of inner awakening. This yin-yang approach forms the basis of the The Wisdom Way of Teaching, which describes in curricular detail how to cultivate the whole person development of students.


“The Wisdom Way of Teaching is both a manifesto and a manual of what transformative education needs to be in the years to come. I felt inspired to read about the impact of a holistic curriculum that integrates service-learning and spiritual practice. Brick by brilliant brick, Marty Schmidt builds that all-important bridge between the inner world and the outer world. The principles and practices that Marty lays out in generous detail can be applied to classrooms of all kinds and ages. I wish every teacher could read this book!” — Fran Grace, University of Redlands

“For secondary teachers and other educators working at the intersection of social justice and spirituality, Marty’s book offers practical examples, creative activities, and cross-cultural teaching stories from a lifetime of impassioned teaching. Informed by his deep study of Eastern and Western spiritual traditions, this book comes from the heart of a teacher, infused with contemplative insight, and inspired by a love of the world — the broken world that is and the better world that could be.” — Vachel Miller, Appalachian State University

Dedication and Acknowledgements. Foreword, Cynthia Bourgeault. Introducing the Wisdom Way of Teaching. Introduction to Hong Kong International School, Jim Handrich. PART I: TEACHING FOR SOCIAL CONSCIENCE. CHAPTER ONE: My Journey of Teaching for Social Conscience. CHAPTER TWO: Humanities I in Action Curriculum and the Impact of Social Conscience Education. CHAPTER THREE: Is Ignorance Bliss? Teaching About Chocolate Slavery on Day One. CHAPTER FOUR: The Heroic Journey from Self-Focus to Compassion: Mentoring Students Through an Orphanage Trip Experience. CHAPTER FIVE: The Elixir Project: Initiating a Path Towards Meaningful Adulthood. CHAPTER SIX: Principles of Social Conscience Curriculum Design. CHAPTER SEVEN: The Four Essential Roles of Social Conscience Teachers. PART II: TEACHING FOR INNER AWAKENING. CHAPTER EIGHT: My Journey of Teaching for Inner Awakening. CHAPTER NINE: The Essentials of a Curriculum for Self-Understanding: The Body-Mind-Heart Framework in Service, Society, and the Sacred. CHAPTER TEN: Balancing Body, Mind, and Heart: Introducing the Wisdom Tradition in a World Religions Class. CHAPTER ELEVEN: Waking Up to the Vertical Dimension: Student Reflections on a Practice-Based Religion Curriculum in Spiritual Explorations. CHAPTER TWELVE: Teaching Toward Inner Awakening Through a Spiritual Practices Project in SPEX. CHAPTER THIRTEEN: The Wisdom Way of Knowing and Teaching: The Epistemological Foundations of SPEX Teachers. PART III: SPECIAL TOPICS IN INNER AWAKENING. CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Teaching Consciousness of the Body: Two Practitioners in Dialogue, Sangeeta Bansal and Marty Schmidt. CHAPTER FIFTEEN: Non-Reactivity: The Supreme Practice of Everyday Life. CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Dealing With the Accuser: Befriending Your Inner Critic, Sangeeta Bansal and Marty Schmidt. PART IV: REFLECTIONS ON THE WISDOM WAY OF TEACHING. CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: Teacher Perspectives. CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: Student Voices. CHAPTER NINETEEN: My Wisdom Way of Teaching Philosophy. Appendix A: Interview about Humanities I in Action. Appendix B: Exemplary “Service, Society, and the Sacred” Final Essays. Appendix C: My Worldview: Do I Believe in a Vertical Dimension?Appendix D: Overview of the SPEX Curriculum. References.