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Titolo Articolo

Holistic Education, A conversation with Eli Eisenberg

 

with the mind, the arm, the heart, Part 1, by Ascensione Maria Santoro

 

We met with Eli Eisenberg in June 2018, at the EVBB (European Association of Institutes for Vocational Training), annual Conference held this year in Sofia (Bulgaria). And we had the privilege of walking through the city and sipping coffee while interviewing him.

Titolo Articolo

Dr. Eli Eisenberg

Holistic Education, a Conversation with Eli Eisenberg

Part 1

Dr. Eli Eisenberg is a world-renowned pedagogue. Often invited to consult governments and international organizations, he is also highly sought in TVET forums (Technical and Professional Education and Training) as an innovator and international expert. He was responsible for the establishment of a technological center in England; also researcher and teacher at Technion University and deputy assistant director general of ORT Israel and head of administration for R & D and training. In the 1992 he created a national network of global technology training for teacher training in South Africa, with the consent of Mandela who in the same year received and chose him to carry out this project. Eli Eisenberg considers crucial that experience in South Africa for the development of his holistic approach in the education field. Precious is its support in the implementation of technological education at different levels of education, colleges and industries.

“you learn much more from those who are different from you than from those who are similar to you. The colour of your skin or faith don’t matter, what really matters is that your heart be at the right place” (Nelson Mandela talking to Eli Eisenberg in Johannesburg)

Eli Eisenberg, you like to use the expression “Holistic Education”. Could you explain what you mean by it and why it is so important?

Yes, Holistic Education represents a very important concept – the other name is DNA Education or Personalized Education.

Let’s step back. In the last two hundred years, as the Industrial Revolution happened, also Education was part of the transformation. Education went into Industrial Education, which meant teaching in classes, with teachers coming into the class with the methodology of Frontal Teaching. In such context, teachers address each age cohort of students with an approved and often standard syllabus. At the end this may prove quite effective as a way of getting a big number of students involved and achieving basic levels of knowledge but, let me tell you, it’s not really the right education.

Why? Because education and teaching should be about taking each student, girl and boy, according to her or his strengths, difficulties, ambitions, the whole thing !. So the Holistic Education, the mode that we have developed, is taking the Education from the Industrial Age into the XXI century, an individual and personalized tailor- made approach, the same as we have in Health, i.e. DNA Health, DNA Finance or DNA Agriculture.

Titolo Articolo

Dr. Eli Eisenberg

Holistic Education, a Conversation with Eli Eisenberg

Part 1

Titolo Articolo

Dr. Eli Eisenberg

Holistic Education, a Conversation with Eli Eisenberg

Part 1

Can you explain this DNA concept?

Each student, each girl and boy, even me or you, are different from each other. All of us, are born as human beings, but each of us is born with different abilities and talents. And therefore we have to adapt the education to the talent and to the strengths, rather than to the weaknesses.

Now, here is a key point. Education as it is today, as a product of the industrial revolution, acts toward the weaknesses of the children and the students with the objective of “levelling them up”. You can see it every minute. For example, if you have an examination and you correct the examination and you give it back to the student, you always say to him “look at question no. 2, question no. 6 where you failed and correct it !”; rather than to say “you know, you did very well to question no. 1 or question no. 10, but please look again to question number 2”.

Here is an example. Suppose a student fails in mathematics. As a first reaction, like Pavlov, you ask him to take supplementary lessons and you don’t enquire on other factors which impact on the student, for example if the parents had a fight last night, or one of the brothers went into the hospital or any kind of emotional problem. Issues are not only cognitive and we have to understand and learn to know the children and the students within a broader context. So Holistic means that you have to know the child at 360° and DNA means that you must focus on the individual specifics and especially on strengths. It’s an “all around” understanding, aiming at knowing each girl and boy and reacting to the characteristics of each child.

 

Read the end of the Conversation in the second part of the article!

 

Ascensione Maria Santoro

Ascensione Maria Santoro, Laurea Magistrale in Editoria e Scrittura presso L’Università La Sapienza di Roma con tesi in giornalismo di inchiesta. Attualmente si è focalizzata sulla branca dell’ Educational Reporting.