The School of Total Education, Warwick, Queensland, Australia


photo: Richard Waters

One of the key features of our educational philosophy at the School of Total Education is “Nurturing the Spirit of each Child” and it is not always understood what we mean by this idea.

However, it’s a principle that’s also present in many other philosophies of holistic education — one thinks of names like Tagore, Aurobindo, Steiner, Sukhomlinsky and others. It is also related to the derivation of the word “education” as meaning to “draw out”. This idea of bringing out that which is within is referred to by the founder of SOTE, Vijayadev Yogendra (for more on this, see the “From the Archives” article in this issue).

Recently, I had the opportunity of discussing this aspect of education with Laura Weaver and Batya Greenwald of the Passageworks Institute in Boulder, Colorado, USA. The founder of the Passageworks Institute was Rachael Kessler, author of the book, “The Soul in Education”. It was heartening to discover many similarities in our views about education and to know that there are people elsewhere in the world who are dedicated to bringing about positive change in education. This interview will be appearing in a forthcoming edition of our podcast “Total Education Conversations”.

We welcome your feedback or reflections on what you read here via email at

Richard Waters


Managing Feedback

SOTE teacher, Pam Isaacs, gave this presentation to teachers on managing feedback from students, parents and other teachers. “Inviting feedback from others can be quite threatening, but also very helpful. Students can be very straightforward and honest when asked for feedback and can be quite objective. Situations like asking how you could improve the teaching of a unit, for example, can bring out some useful observations, as they have been on the receiving end of quite a lot of teaching and often know how they learn best.” Read more…


Richard Waters explains the School’s approach to the National Testing Program, the results of which have been the cause of some concern on the part of Queensland Educators. “Our approach is to be involved but to not give undue focus to the NAPLAN tests. Giving the tests more focus than is necessary will give the wrong message to the children about what we value … Children at this age are learning so much in so many different ways and do this best in a supportive, relaxed environment.” Read more…

From the Archives: Total Education

This article by the founder of SOTE, Vijayadev Yogendra, was originally published in 1977 and explains the philosophical background of Total Education. “A methodology of education, in order to be total, must be able to bring out the perfection of man which is latent in the soul. Education does not mean that a lot of information or ideas should be poured into the brain of the individual, and then be allowed to run riot. It means bringing about the gradual development and growth of the soul from infancy to maturity. Education should be based on the spiritual ideal that each individual soul is potentially divine, that it possesses infinite potential and possibilities, and that knowledge cannot be transferred from outside within, but must evolve from within outwards.” Read more…

Interviews currently available:

Michael Funder — Reflections of a SOTE Teacher

Satish Kumar — Small Schools and Nurturing the Spirit in Education

Click here to read more and download the interviews.


SOTE Celebrates 30 Years in Warwick

This year marks thirty years since the School of Total Education opened in Warwick. To mark this anniversary, a special celebration was held at the school on 28th August. We were thrilled that so many former students and teachers were able to come to Warwick for this event, which featured performances by current and past students and teachers. (Click here read an account of the school’s history on our website.)

Vijayadev Yogendra Auditorium Hall Officially Opened

The new Vijayadev Yogendra Auditorium at SOTE, which is a Commonwealth-funded BER project, was opened by Senator John Hogg on Monday 8th August. The facility is already in use for Drama, Health and Physical Education classes and for Parent Meetings.

photo: The Vijayadev Yogendra Auditorium

New Interviews with Educators

Since our last newsletter, two new interviews have been recorded for the Total Education Conversations podcast. One is with Passageworks Institute in the USA (see editorial above). In the second interview, Richard Waters speaks with Jan Dugan and Jan Gudkovs, counselling psychologists who are currently writing a book on the subject of children and concentration. Both programs are in post-production and should appear on our website some time soon! You can subscribe to Total Education Conversations using podcast software such as iTunes and receive notification when new programs are released.

Some of the available books on our website

Books Available On Our Website

A range of books on Total Education and related topics can be purchased from the SOTE website. Click here to find out more.