Dr. Jack Miller

Professional Biography

Dr. Jack Miller is a Professor with the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at OISE. His research interests focus on holistic education, spirituality in education, contemplation in educational settings, and curriculum orientations. John (Jack) Miller has been working in the field of holistic education for over 40 years. He is author/editor of 20 books on holistic learning and contemplative practices in education which include Whole Child Education, The Holistic Curriculum, The Contemplative Practitioner, Education and the Soul and Love and Compassion: Exploring their Role in Education. His writing has been translated into nine languages. The Holistic Curriculum has provided the program framework for the Equinox Holistic Alternative School in Toronto where Jack has been involved in an advisory role.

Jack has worked extensively with holistic educators in Japan, Korea and Hong Kong for the past 20 years and has been a visiting professor at universities in Japan and Hong Kong. In 2009 Jack was one of 24 educators invited to Bhutan to help that country develop their educational system so that it supports the country’s goal of Gross National Happiness. Jack teaches courses on holistic education and contemplative education for graduate students and students in Initial Teacher Education Program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto where he is Professor. See more at https://www.oise.utoronto.ca/ctl/Facu…

Reflection Questions

What do Dr. Miller’s reflections on educating the whole person make possible for you? 

Consider your well-being in the three areas of connection outlined by Dr. Miller.

How do you connect with the earth? How do you feel when you are connecting with the earth?

Do you feel connected to at least one community? How do you feel when you are in that community?

Do you feel connected with your body? When you have felt connected with your body, what was that experience like? 

When have you felt an unbounded, deeper sense of self?

How do you describe interconnection? How do you experience interconnection in your life?

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The Holistic Curriculum, Third edition – Originally published in 1988, The Holistic Curriculum addresses the problem of fragmentation in education through a connected curriculum of integrative approaches to teaching and learning.

Introducing Dr. Jack Miller

Dr. Miller talks about holistic education, which is educating the whole person – the body, the mind and the spirit – as well as helping students recognize interconnection and the interdependence among things.

Connecting with the Earth, with Community, and with the Body

Dr. Miller explains what he means by interconnection, pointing to deep ecology and Indigenous perspectives as a guide towards seeing ourselves as part of a web of life. He elaborates on three primary connections: with the earth, with community and with the body. He also offers some advice on how you can cultivate these connections, for example, by forest-bathing, joining a sports team or social cause, and regularly doing physical exercise such as yoga, Tai Chi or another physical practice you enjoy and helps you “feel at home” in your own body.

Connecting with Deeper Parts of Ourselves

Dr. Miller talks about connecting with the deeper parts of ourselves, and ultimately, with the universe. He describes Abraham Maslow’s notion of “peak experiences” wherein we feel a boundless sense of ourselves, for example, in listening to music or spending time with a loved one. He also speaks about his invitation for students to develop a meditation practice as a means towards being in the present moment and connecting with our inner selves.

Interconnections in Thinking and Learning

Dr. Miller outlines the connection between intuitive and rational thinking, and invites listeners to consider holistic approaches to learning, for example making connections between subjects and different kinds of knowledge. He emphasizes that the more students are able to be present and see the interconnectedness of all things, the more they are able to integrate this learning with every part of their life, resulting in someone who is comfortable being their authentic self. Holistic education, according Dr. Miller, is about joy and love , which he explores in more depth in his book, Love and Compassion: Exploring Their Role in Education.