Integral Education Resources

Articles on Integral Education

What is the Integral in Integral Education? by Tom Murray

Integrally-informed educational approaches have much in common with progressive (including reform, alternative, holistic, and transformative) approaches, and share many of the same values. One function of the integral approach is to provide an overarching model within which to coordinate different progressive methods. Though integral adds much more than that, descriptions of integral education sometimes sound like progressive educational principles recast with new terminology. In this essay, Tom, attempts to clarify what the integral approach adds over and above progressive educational theories. After an overview of progressive pedagogical principles, the integral approach is discussed in terms of integral as a model, a method, a community, and a developmental stage. Integral as a type of consciousness or developmental level is elaborated upon as consisting of construct-awareness, ego-awareness, relational-awareness, and system awareness, all important to the educational process. Finally, challenges and support systems for realizing integral education are discussed.

What is the Integral in Integral Education – Tom Murray (377Kb PDF)


Curriculum for the Soul – Envisioning the Integral Classroom by John Gruber

In a basic introductory framework, John Gruber puts forward a succinct overview of some of the first principles of integral education. Designed as an illustrated outline to introduce teachers to the basic elements of the integral model, this piece could be a useful first encounter with the idea of an integral approach in the classroom. The four pages describe components of an integral approach and some of what it might offer to teachers and students. The piece concludes with a list of queries that explore the kinds of questions that can be taken up using an integral framework. An easily printed color handout, this piece could be shared with friends or colleagues to invite others to explore integral education.

Curriculum for the Soul – John Gruber (286Kb PDF)


Integral Teacher, Integral Students, Integral Classroom: Applying Integral Theory to Education by Sean Esbjörn-Hargens (published in AQAL: Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, 2007, 2 (2), 72-103)

Sean Esbjörn-Hargens presents a beautiful overview of integral education that lights up integral theory in the context of education practice. He offers a thoughtful and informative reflection on both conventional and alternative movements in education, and explains how an integral approach includes the strengths of many of these approaches while also bringing a higher perspective in acknowledging the tetra-arising of every element of an educational context in all of the quadrants. Sean’s paper gives an enlightening review of the application of all the major integral elements: quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types. He carefully describes each in a way that points to the importance of all of them in the creation of integral learning spaces. He emphasizes the significance of the ongoing growth of the teacher, the evolving relationship among teachers and students, and the intentional design of structures that support integral teaching and learning. Among the many jewels presented are the twenty questions Sean has used with graduate students as part of his integral mirror exercise, as well as a lovely summary crystallization presented as the seven commitments of integral education. This is an inspiring paper that covers a lot of ground, and invites us to take up an integral education practice in all of its fullness.

Applying Integral Theory to Education – Sean Esbjörn-Hargens (204Kb PDF)


A Detailed Description Of The Development Of Nine Action Logics Adapted From Ego Development Theory For The Leadership Development Framework by Dr. Susann Cook-Greuter (2002).

This article is a detailed description of the nine action logics of ego development proposed by Susann Cook-Greuter in the Leadership Development Framework (LDF). The action logics are based on three interrelated components involving operative, affective and cognitive aspects, and on research Cook-Greuter conducted on thousands of adults using sentence completion tests. The article details each of the nine levels of development differentiated by Cook-Greuter: impulsive, opportunistic, diplomat, expert, achiever, individualist, strategist, magician, ironist. This article would best be used by someone with some familiarity with Integral Theory and could be very useful to those who may be unfamiliar with the LDF. The article is very readable, providing many examples that explain the levels of development, and relevant to those who are working with young adults and older. The stages of younger people would best be understood by learning from a theorist whose research focuses on earlier years. The article is particularly relevant to those who are working with teachers, administrators or parents as it can help facilitate understanding of those individuals. It is a more theoretical piece, not directed specifically at education, but rather adult development.

Nine Action Logics – Dr. Susann Cook-Greuter (2Mb PDF)


The Three Faces of Spirit by Terry Patten ( )

This piece by Terry Patten offers poetic, meditative reflections on the 3 Faces of Spirit: Spirit in 1st person as “I AM”, Spirit in 2nd person as “Thou / We”, and Spirit in 3rd person as “It”. It does not require prior knowledge of Integral Theory, is practical in its intent and content, and valuable for everyone interested in exploring and discovering an integral approach to Spirit.

The Three Faces of Spirit – Terry Patten (160Kb PDF)


An Experiment in Education for States by Jonathan Reams (published in AQAL: Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, 2007, 2 (2), 50-71)

In this article Jonathan Reams describes the application of theories influencing his pedagogical practices to teaching university freshmen. The theoretical focus is specifically addressed to areas of dialogue, hermeneutics and presence. The article takes these theoretical perspectives and explores the impact of them on a specific class, presenting 1st, 2nd and 3rd person research done during a specific year of teaching. It is a wonderful article on one teacher’s exploration of education for states, and is of intermediate complexity.

Education for States – Jonathan Reams (709Kb PDF)


An Integral Approach to Parenting in the First Three Years of a Child’s Life: An Introduction by Miriam Mason Martineau (published in AQAL: Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, 2007, 2 (4), 24-49.)

Next, we have “An Integral Approach to Parenting in the First Three Years of the Child’s Life,” by Miriam Mason Martineau. In this groundbreaking article on one of the most fundamental aspects of our being-in-the-world, artineau, who is herself a parent, explains what parenting looks like when situated in the AQAL framework. She provides a poetic narrative that wonderfully combines first- and second-person perspectives as they llustrate third-person dimensions of Integral Parenting. She goes on to describe how parenting can become the vehicle for an Integral Life Practice, especially in regards to the opportunities for spiritual growth and shadow work parenthood affords us. Lastly, Martineau discusses the role of Integral discipline as a means of challenging or supporting children in developmentally appropriate ways and outlines the evolutionary nature of parenting itself.

An Integral Approach to Parenting – Miriam Mason Martineau (254Kb PDF)


Toward an Integral Education for the Ecozoic Era by Olen Gunnlaugson

In this article Olen Gunnlaugson explores the 2002-2003 change in vision and educational philosophy of a grassroots international college in rural Sweden. The author proceeds with an integral assessment of the strengths and shortcomings of Holma College of Holistic Studies former modes of learning guided by a postmodern epistemology infected with narcissism, hypersubjectivity, and new age thought. Exploring new territory beyond the scope of the former holistic vision, the author articulates an integrally informed vision of education for young adults that offers a shared integral language, a functional life-world ethic, and comprehensive frameworks for transformative learning and development appropriate to our time. With the intent of proposing a model of praxis directly informed by the fields of transformative learning and integral studies, the author outlines and reflects on the first wave of integral education that emerged during the transition year to Holma College of Integral Studies. The paper offers an engaging and comprehensive look, both theoretical and practical higher education in a residential setting.

Toward an Integral Education for the Ecozoic Era – Olen Gunnlaugson (235Kb PDF)


The Times, They Have a-Changed: An Integral Perspective of the Montessori Method in the 21st Century by Jamie Wheal

In this article Jamie Wheal offers an engaging application of the four quadrants of the Integral model looking at challenges/opportunities within Montessori education for addressing the needs and interests of children and their parents in the 21st century. He refers to Maria Montessori’s recommendation that “anyone who wants to follow my method must understand that he should not honor me, but follow the child as his leader”. Jamie applies the four quadrants to two case studies (ADHD and high pressure parents) to look at how Montessori education might respond more integrally to the particular context of society, culture and the interior and exterior experience of a child in our present times. The integral model is presented briefly, with the emphasis being on its application to ADHD, Montessori education, and its opportunities for further integral development.

An Integral Perspective of the Montessori Method – Jamie Wheal (137Kb PDF)


Integral Methodological Pluralism in Educational Research by Nancy T. Davis

In this article Davis categorizes research methodologies into the 4 quadrants and discusses issues the research questions appropriate to each. The quadrants are further divided into the 8 fundamental perspectives described by Wilber. The language used is designed to communicate to mainstream educational researchers and issues of quality from each of the perspectives are presented. An example of understanding inquiry science teaching is used to illustrate the perspectives. This article is designed for those who need to design research questions in education and determine appropriate methodologies (i.e., graduate students, research advisors). It is written for those who have some basic understanding of integral theory.

Integral Methodological Pluralism in Educational Research – Nancy T. Davis (125Kb PDF)


Toward A Model of Integral Education by Judy Wexler (published in ReVision in the fall of 2005)

Judy Wexler’s article is concise and well balanced in its advocacy for an integral approach and realistically critical of a few of the pitfalls of integral methods. Wexler, a professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), is an advanced practitioner, while the application of this article is for higher education. This article is primarily a description/exploration of methodology, with examples for application. The article is written for educators, who may be exploring additional methods for higher education. Specifically, Wexler discusses the culture at CIIS, tacit aspects of the environment, the efficacy of experiential education, the risks, and the roles of metacognition in an integral approach.

Toward A Model of Integral Education – Judy Wexler (437Kb PDF)


Field Notes: Waking Up and Getting Engaged by David Sable (Shambhala 2004)

This practical, highly readable short article focuses on applying pedagogical methods of transformative learning to a university level class on Buddhism. Examples of simple directions for teaching meditation and suggestions on enhancing meditation through the use of reflective journaling with university students are included. This article is not directly related to Integral Theory and uses terms associated with contemplative and transformative educational theories. It is a good article for those who are considering incorporating more reflective practices into teaching. It is aimed at the university level student and includes practical applications.

Waking Up – David Sable (220Kb PDF)


Integral Transformative Education A Participatory Proposal by Jorge N. Ferrer, Marina T. Romero and Ramon V. Albareda

This article introduces a participatory approach to integral transformative education in which all human dimensions-body, vital, heart, mind, and consciousness-are invited to cocreatively participate in the unfolding of learning and inquiry. After some preliminary considerations about the basic elements of an integral curriculum and the “horizontal” and “vertical” dimensions of integral education, the first part of the essay situates the participatory perspective in relation to two other approaches to integral education: mind-centered/intellectualist and bricolage/eclectic. In the second part, the authors present the basic contours of a participatory model of integral transformative education using the organic metaphor of the four seasons. They also stress the importance of integrating “feminine” and “masculine” principles in whole-person learning and outline several basic features of integral transformative education. In the third part of the essay, they discuss several challenges for the implementation of integral transformative education in modern academia and suggest that these challenges can be seen as precious opportunities to reconnect education with its transformative and spiritual roots. The paper offers a comprehensive, in depth and theoretical look at graduate-level integral education.

Integral Transformative Education – Jorge N. Ferrer, Marina T. Romero and Ramon V. Albareda (422Kb PDF)


Louise Boyd Cadwell and the Reggio-Inspired Approach to Education by Meghan Mulqueen

In this brief article, author Meghan Mulqueen explores and recounts what a Reggio Emilia inspired approach to education for young children might look like. She does this by summarizing a conversation she had with educator Louise Boyd Cadwell, who has worked in two Reggio Emilia preschools in Italy and now runs a consulting company called Cadwell Collaborative: Sustainability Education and School Design that provides schools and teachers with tools, ideas, and skills for curricular innovation in pre-K through grade 12 education. Both opportunities and challenges inherent in the Reggio Emilia approach are mentioned. While the Reggio Emilia preschools are not explicitly integral, they seem to implement many components of an integral approach, and offer a practical example of applying awareness for the inner/outer, individual/collective dimensions of each child, as well as lines and levels of development, as well as a lot of parent-teacher communication. This article provides a glimpse at an inspired effort underway, and includes links to find out more.

The Reggio-Inspired Approach to Education – Meghan Mulqueen (22Kb PDF)


Integral Transformative Practice by Jorge Ferrer

This paper looks at how most psychospiritual practices in the modern West suffer from favoring growth of mind and heart over physical and instinctive aspects of human experience with many negative consequences. The author Jorge Ferrer, values Michael Murphy’s and Ken Wilber’s contributions to offering prescriptions for ”Integral Transformative Practice” (ITP), which include various physical and psychospiritual disciplines. However, Ferrer takes the view that these approaches can easily perpetuate the mind-centered direction of growth characteristic of the modern West in that they inherently ask one’s mind to pick and commit to already constructed practices. The author then presents a program of ITP developed by Albareda and Romero in Spain, whose Holistic Integration takes place in group retreats to practice ”interactive embodied meditations”, which involve contemplative physical contact between practitioners and allows access to the creative potential of all human dimensions. The paper is largely theoretical in emphasis, and focuses specifically on integral transformative practice rather than integral education as a whole.

Integral Transformative Practice – Jorge Ferrer (218Kb PDF)


Integrating Integral Education into Teaching at Friends’ Central School by Doug Ross

Doug Ross has been teaching Middle School Science at a Friends’ day school for over 30 years. He has long embraced a holistic approach to education with a strong emphasis on experiential education and ecology. In 2008 Doug attended the Integral Education seminar at Whidbey Institute. In a short paper for the extended school community, Doug reflects on his participation and insights at the seminar and recounts how he integrated his experience into his teaching practice on his return to school. His story offers a thoughtful perspective on how an integrally-minded educator found breadth, meaning and inspiration in the integral approach. Doug also found ways to reassess how his own teaching and curriculum embodied and could grow further into elements of integral education in action.

Integrating Integral Education into Teaching – Doug Ross (420Kb PDF)


Searching for Integral Thinking in Sweden and Swedish Academia – An interview with Dr Thomas Jordan by Nick Drummond (from Nordic Integral)

This paper is a dialogue/interpretation of how various cultures apply integral theory and it differentiates the cognitive from embodiment. The content offers insight into the non-sequential/non-linear (vision-logic) movement of evolution and human development. The flow of the exchange is made in inquiries that provide much space for wondering. The educational angle is most embedded at the University level and also within the organizational space.

Searching for Integral Thinking in Sweden and Swedish Academia – Nick Drummond (198Kb PDF)


What’s Integral about Leadership? By Jonathan Reams (originally published in Integral Review)

This paper is accessible to anyone interested in leadership. Although it doesn’t apply leadership specifically to education, the practical context in which Jonathan frames leadership, Integral theory and the history of both together and separately, is quite useful to connect some pragmatic dots. This is accessible to both initiates and advanced explorers and practitioners of Integral theory and leadership.

What’s Integral about Leadership? – Jonathan Reams (142Kb PDF)


Some Integral Perspectives on School Educational Futures by Jenny Gidley and Gary Hampson

Jenny Gidley and Gary Hampson present a thoughtfully researched paper that takes the fascinating and critically important perspective of how futures studies can be effectively embraced in an integral education context. While futures or foresight thinking may be a new concept to some, this paper provides a compelling vision of how integral education is wrapped up in our education futures. Jenny and Gary offer review and reflections of educational insights from the work of Steiner, Aurobindo and others along with a detailed consideration of the significance of all the integral quadrants. They provide a rich and intriguing list of possible research areas to consider as part of developing a deeper understanding and vision of our educational future. The ideas and openings brought forward in their paper open many doors of deeper inquiry and stimulate an active process of envisioning what is possible in the development of more integral approaches in school education settings.

Integral Perspectives on School Educational Futures – Jenny Gidley and Gary Hampson (537Kb PDF)


Integral Character Education by Jack Crittenden (published in AQAL: Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, 2007, 2 (2), 6-25)

This article uses the Integral framework to propose character education in primary and secondary settings. While in depth, this article is readable for a relative novice to integral theory. It examines developmental character education, followed by integral character education, and culminates in an in-depth, applicable proposal to further develop democratic methods in schools, in order to propel character education. Theoretically well grounded, and applicable, with a resoundingly visionary tone.

Integral Character Education – Jack Crittenden (128Kb PDF)


Illuminating the Blind Spot By Jonathan Reams

In this summary of Otto Scharmer’s book ‘Leading from the Future as it Emerges’, Jonathan does a masterful job of breaking down the various moments of how we manifest consciousness. This paper can be accessed at multiple levels of intensity. Not specific to education, it makes explicit what it means to ‘show-up’ in the collective and that includes any moment, including the classroom. This beautifully written interpretation will give the reader a deep exploration of Theory U in a very short amount of time.

Illuminating the Blind Spot – Jonathan Reams (129Kb PDF)


An Example of Integral Pedagogy by Lynne Feldman (published in AQAL: Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, 2007, 2 (2), 26-42)

Lynne Feldman’s article is a first person perspective of a teacher who is AQAL-ly informed. Lynne details her thinking and practices as she interacts with high school students in a sociology classroom. She begins by focusing on the quadrants, and provides examples of using the quadrants as a reflective pedagogical tool. The article contains examples of activities she uses with her high school students to assist them to use the quadrants in thinking about sociology. This highly readable practical article would be useful for both those who have little experience with AQAL theory, as well as those who are well versed in Integral Theory. Although the article is aimed at high school students, it can serve as a model for teachers at any level. This article focuses on formal educational settings.

Integral Pedagogy – Lynne Feldman (92Kb PDF)