The School of Total Education, Warwick, Queensland, Australia


photo: Shane Power

Welcome to the final Email Newsletter for 2012 from The School of Total Education.

New on our website this month is an article by teacher John Cosgrove on the topic of “Bringing out the Best in the Children”, which we hope will give you a flavour of how our teachers approach their role. Also we’ve dug into the archives again to find an article from 1982 by school founder Vijayadev Yogendra on the topic “Education for Health”.

If you enjoy listening to talks on your iPod or computer, we have a new interview in the Total Education Conversations series. Richard Waters explores the legacy of American educator and author Rachael Kessler in an interview titled “The Soul of Education”.

There’s also news about our Year 12 Graduation ceremony held on November 18th, at which Professor Patrick Danaher from the University of Southern Queensland was guest speaker.

This year we launched the Total Education Blog and you can find a list of recent blog posts below. It’s another way we’re working towards keeping more people in touch with what’s happening at the school as well as sharing our thoughts about education in general.

We’re thrilled to announce the publication of a new book titled “The Focused Child”, by Jan Dugan and Jan Gudkovs. Both Jan and Jan were founding members of the school community in the 1970s and each has children who attended and graduated from the school. There are quite a few mentions of the school and its unique approach in their book. You can read more about it below.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest over the past year and to wish you well for the holiday season. We look forward to being in touch again in 2013.

Shane Power


Bringing Out the Best in Children

One of the parents’ meetings at The School of Total Education during 2012 focused on the topic “Bringing out the Best in the Children”, with questions put to some of the teachers from the school. John Cosgrove has been a teacher at the school for many years and is currently teaching Grade 7. This article is an edited transcript of his comments (we hope to publish similar articles by the other speakers at the session). “I think one of the great things for children is if they see the teacher and the parents getting along well, or at least on the same page. I think that happens a lot at our school. It’s based on respect and having faith that the teacher has the best interests of your child at heart.” Read more…

From the Archives: Education For Health

This article by the founder of The School of Total Education, Vijayadev Yogendra, discusses how fear and ignorance are the underlying sources of the stress and tension experienced by so many people, then examines practical ways to tackle these problems. “People who are looking for a stress-free life must therefore look for greater understanding of themselves, must seek knowledge, generate right attitudes and be in harmony with their inner self. That is, they must be free of egoism and be willing to accept the will of the Absolute while accepting the unexpected … It is a life-long job to be able to understand the self and handle oneself so as to gain the greatest joy and fun in life.” Read more…


School Celebrates Year 12 Graduation

The School of Total Education held its final Parents’ Seminar and Year 12 Graduation Ceremony on Sunday, 18th November. The Speaker for the Parents Seminar was Professor Patrick Danaher of the University of Southern Queensland who spoke on the topic “Capacity Building and Resilience — Education in the 21st Century”. Principal, Shane Power described the graduation ceremony as “a function for all students and parents and an affirmation of the school’s conviction that, given the right environment and input, every student can achieve his or her potential.” Each of the 15 Year 12 graduates, a number of whom had been attending the school since kindergarten, acknowledged the dedication of their teachers and the support they had experienced from the school community and their families.

Photo of the graduates with guest speaker

The 2012 graduates from The School of Total Education with guest speaker Professor Patrick Danaher (at left).

Visit of Academics from the University of Southern Queensland

Three education academics from the University of Southern Queensland — Professor Patrick Danaher, Dr Robyn Henderson and Dr Rahul Ganguly — thoroughly enjoyed their recent visit to the school. They lunched with Principal, Shane Power, and Deputy Principal, Judy Currie, and met afterwards with Richard Waters at the Institute of Total Education. Click here for more details of the visit on the Total Education Blog.

International Dinner Raises Funds for Children in Poverty

As part of a fund-raising campaign to raise money for children in poverty in Timor Leste, Year 9 and 10 students ran an “International Dinner” on Saturday the 10th of November in the school’s dining hall. The evening included a buffet style meal and dessert and all profits raised were contributed to the children in Timor Leste to assist with basic health services, clean water and education.


The Total Education Blog presents short articles about the School and contemporary issues in education. Readers can add their comments.

Schools as the Community Hub

Assumption College Speech Night and Humility

Education Academics from USQ Visit the School

Total Education Responds to Asian Century White Paper

An Antidote for Our Growing Lack of Humanity

Understanding the Heart of the School


The Soul of Education

Richard Waters interviews Laura Weaver and Batya Greenwald from the Passageworks Institute in Boulder, Colorado, USA. The Passageworks Institute was founded by educator Rachael Kessler, author of the book “The Soul of Education”. Topics covered include:

  • What does “The Soul of Education” mean?
  • The concept of “deep connection” and the importance of the teacher-student relationship.
  • What can schools do to foster a positive sense of community?
  • Ways to help adolescents feel safe to talk about themselves.
  • Student well-being.
  • Transition to adulthood — risk taking and “initiation”.

Other interviews available:

Jan Dugan and Jan Gudkovs — The Focused Child

Michael Funder — Reflections of a SOTE Teacher

Satish Kumar — Small Schools and Nurturing the Spirit in Education

Click here to read more and listen to or download the interviews.

The Focused Child book cover

NEW BOOK: The Focused Child

by Jan Dugan and Jan Gudkovs

This unique book opens up a fresh perspective on how to develop concentration in children. Drawing on the authors’ practice of Yoga and modern psychology, The Focused Child offers a myriad of practical strategies and techniques for parents and teachers to help children relax, focus their minds and fulfil their potential. It’s a blue-print for success which deals with the obstacles that get in the way of concentration and empowers parents with the knowledge of how to become good role models for their children. The authors are both former parents at The School of Total Education and in this book they touch on many of the ways in which they and their families benefitted from their involvement at the school.

Full details about the book together with online ordering are available from their website at