The Nurtured Mind: The International Educational
During a visit to Sakhalin, Russia, in 1991, Dr. Lorraine Miller-Nara, currently
Principal of the TEDA International School in Tianjin, China, was asked by the
local and regional Boards of Education to assist in the creation of a totally
new curriculum to be used to create a completely new school: the
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk International School. They asked that high academic standards
be maintained while, at the same time, their children receive an English
language education with a global perspective and high moral standards. On her
return to Japan she consulted with several other educators, who then formed the
International Education Instituted, Inc. (IEI),
a not-for-profit educational corporation.
actually building the curriculum, the members of IEI sought to identify what
precisely was needed in education. Two fundamental questions were asked. The
first question was: What is the essence of the human being and what is his
relation to the world? We believe that the human reality is fundamentally
spiritual in nature. IEI defines human spirituality as the moral and
self-conscious part of the universal energetic, unifying and generative power
that drives the universe. Each individual is comparable to a mine of precious
jewels, each possessing unlimited potential. As the essence of the human being
is spiritual, this potential is a spiritual endowment that is transformed into
discrete human powers and qualities through the process of education. Thus, a
holistic approach to education, one that focuses on educating the intellectual,
physical, volitional, emotional and moral aspects of the human being, is
essential. Further, all human beings, indeed all living things, are connected
in a complex network of relationships that contemporary philosophers call "deep
ecology." Every human being is endowed with some capacity to understand himself
and the world.
question related to pedagogy:
What is the best way to teach this spiritual
being about himself and his world? Research has revealed that
learners who are actively involved in their learning in the form of discussions,
hands-on activities and cooperative projects, retain much more of the subject
being studied than students who only listen to lectures. Hence most
instruction is activity-based and encourages creativity and independent
investigation. It is also modular. The standard educational definition of
"module" is: "A unit of education or instruction with a relatively high
teacher-to-student ratio, in which a single topic or a small section of a broad
topic is studied for a given period of time." However, since the human being is
an integrated structure, and the world is also an integrated structure,
knowledge of this world must reflect this integration. Thus the modular concept
in the IEI Curriculum goes beyond the study of just one topic. Each module is
unified in all its essential aspects, and all modules are interrelated. Since
our planet is globalizing in every essential compartment, a global perspective
is necessary. Training or re-training of teachers is required in order to assist
in the conceptual changes necessary to be able to fully implement this
The IEI curriculum gives in-depth and ongoing attention to the development of
global consciousness and responsibility. It does so by means of eight essential
Essential components (strands):
of values-based education
(in that order)
cooperative approach to learning and problem-solving
globally developed at this point
practical health and physical education
the ennobling household arts
Performance Goals for Educators:
all courses with a global perspective.
individuals develop the ability to search for knowledge, evaluate it, and decide
how to put it to use in meaningful ways.
responsible, ethical individuals who possess the ability to think clearly,
logically, morally and independently as participating members of a society, with
the ability to work in international situations.
in each student an understanding and appreciation of cultural, social,
scientific, economic, political and religious ideas and practices worldwide, and
to nurture the concept of unity in diversity.
critical thinking skills and cooperative strategies that help train students in
the principles of consultation so that they will be enabled to analyze their
environment and use this knowledge to develop solutions to the challenges they
physical and health education to enable students to live energetic, wholesome
and productive lives, and contribute to the worthy use of leisure time.
the opportunity for each student to develop and to appreciate ethical global and
cultural values, and prepare students to study or work in international
settings, while not losing the love for and the appreciation of their own
a program of student activities designed to develop competent, self-directed and
responsible social interaction in a cooperative, respectful atmosphere.
in each student the interests, skills and attitudes which foster life-long study
for their continued intellectual, physical and spiritual development.
in each student a mastery of good communication and learning skills.
students in setting and achieving realistic academic and professional goals.
a cooperative structure of education where individual expression of ideas and
opinions has its proper place.
opinions, attitudes and feelings that take into consideration the welfare of
local, regional and global communities.
a variety of critical thinking, problem-solving and consultation skills to solve
problems, make decisions and evaluate the reasonability and morality of results.
a willingness to consider and appreciate different ideas and cultures, and
accept people impartially regardless of sex, race, nationality, locality,
cultural background, or religion.
effectively in a variety of forms and situations.
consciously and take responsibility for behavior, actions and decisions.
a love for self and others through caring, cooperative and service-oriented
The IEI curriculum presents all subjects from a
global perspective, uses a modular, integrated approach combined with a holistic
orientation incorporating mental, physical, and spiritual aspects. It
includes and stresses the integration of knowledge, skills, spiritual
development, moral training and the ethic of service.
Periods in the history of human
advancement form the flexible perimeters of each module, with all modules
interrelated. Subjects are not studied in isolated environments, but are taught
in such a manner that the students can see the relationships among the various
disciplines. In this way, knowledge and skills are reinforced in all classes
and students are able to construct a view of the world where events,
experiences, knowledge and human advancement are interrelated.
Social Studies serve as the academic core to which the content of the curriculum
is related. The history of human development is the general background for the
study of all subjects, including language arts, mathematics, science, fine arts,
and moral education. The social, economic, political, and spiritual
evolutionary processes experienced by the human race in arriving at its present
maturity are studied (1) to learn how past achievements have contributed to the
present, (2) to learn from past mistakes and (3) to acquire a consciousness of
the unity and continuity of the human race. The methods of education employed
in this modular structure train students in the use of critical thinking and
addition to individual study and research projects, students frequently work in
pairs and small groups. Cooperative learning activities, which facilitate the
development of a variety of social skills, such as working with others, group
decision making, and interpersonal communications, are also used. Group
activities, as well as individual events, are used to measure learning
achievements on both the group and individual levels.
The use of current technology is closely incorporated into development of
learning skills, providing tools with which to assist individual and group
learning and research, as well as in the implementation of service projects.
Collaboration with the University of Arizona, located in Tucson, will expand the
resources available for use by the students, provide mentors, and development
assistance of community service projects.
Sites and Results of IEI Curriculum Use
The IEI curriculum is easily adapted to any
educational environment. It was first used in the newly created
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk International School (YSIS) in Sakhalin, Russia, in 1991.
The first graduating class of YSIS held its commencement in May of 1999.
Of the 44 original students who started the program in the 5th grade, 19
students remained with the program through graduation. Many students left
the island due to the economic difficulties in Russia. A few others moved
to other programs that did not charge tuition. Of the 19 students who
graduated, all were accepted at the college or university of their choice.
This included one student who elected to go to university in Japan (Keio
University), one to Sheffield University in Great Britain, two to universities
in Australia, one to the University of Hawaii, one to the University of Alaska,
and four others to various colleges and universities in the continental U.S.
One of the students in this last group was asked to take a test for the
President's Scholarship to Deserving Students from the NIS. This
included taking the Michigan Test for English and writing a 500-1000 word essay
on what the student wanted to major in and why she thought it was important to
her future and to the world. She scored one of the highest scores ever
recorded on the Michigan Test for English, and was awarded a full scholarship
(books, tuition and monthly stipend) to study International Relations at
Michigan State University. The remaining nine students gained admission to
prominent universities in Russia, with at least two students saying that they
wanted to study law and governance as that was what Russia needed more than
anything else at this time.
these students were in the 8th grade, 24 of them were asked to come as
representatives of Sakhalin, Russia, to a UN sponsored conference in Denmark.
They were invited to take part in a mock UN general assembly meeting run by
youth from all over Europe. The YSIS students were selected by the media to be
the general spokespersons for the gathering because of their command of English,
their outgoing and gregarious nature, their grasp of the problems facing the
world, and their ability to communicate clearly the processes needed to solve
them. In interviews, the students said that they thought it was normal for them
to think and speak that way. That was what they did all the time at their
school. Education experts from England, Holland, and Denmark visited the school
and thoroughly investigated the pedagogy and the teaching methodology behind the
curriculum. They concluded that "this style of teaching, the way the curriculum
relates all the subjects to each other, the way the content-based immersion
approach to education involves the students in the critical thinking processes,
mark this curriculum as being on the cutting edge of the very best of
The IEI curriculum is currently
being adapted for use at the Townsend International School in the Czech
Republic; the Ocean of Light School in Tonga (South Pacific); in Rural Learning
Centers in Malaysia; and was used at the Daystar International School in Japan.
Portions of the curriculum are in use in both remedial and advanced learning
centers in the People's Republic of China, Germany, and Mexico.
In 1999, the IEI curriculum was awarded the top prize for educational innovation
by the Federal Ministry of Education for Russia. It was highly praised by the
Ministry of Education for the Czech Republic and is under consideration for
becoming the Republic's standard curriculum.