Experimental School based on a yoga system

If you are fed up with our current schools then perhaps you need a completely different type of school for your kids. One based on love, kindness, good health and respect. A school based on a yoga, vegetarianism and high academic standards.



A new perspective – an experimental alternative primary and secondary school based on Yoga and the local environment.

Anyone interested in being involved with creating or researching the creation of this school or having any information on similar schools, please contact Mr. James Travers-Murison at info@wna.org.au
. Please go to James CV to find out more about the creator.


The research project could investigate improving student learning and behaviour by looking at the benefits of: -
1. Adopting a yoga system where exercise and asana posture to improve posture, health and mental concentration incorporating meditation would be ideal to calm students and improve results. This would also incorporate a rethink of curriculum to cater to the interests and ability of the individual student to learn at the pace that works best for them at that stage in their life. For my story of how I got led to find this yoga system due to what happened during my schooling and being bullied there, see Stress in High School. This is an article largely about Melbourne Grammar, a very wealthy high pressure academic private school, and looks at student stress and why we should be concerned especially for high performing students. Also see why we need to build up student and teacher resilience and how UOCA's system achieves this through individual psychological yoga assessments of each person. For an article written by the founder on the importance of managing a balanced realistic self efficacy in students.
2. A vegetarian, wholefoods organic diet free of junk food should also improve health, vitality and academic results, while reducing ADHD type behaviour which has been linked to diet. Arnold Schwarzenegger has already banned junk food for sale to students in California. See ADHD for UOCA's solution. Vegetarianism also reduces greenhouse gas emissions significantly so reducing global warming.
3. The yoga system which is holistic and spiritual incorporating a belief in loving kindness and unity of all things would give students an excellent base to become loving, peaceful and compassionate citizens.  Furthermore, such a system is completely non-sectarian, in other words, one can belong to any and all religions or even be non-religious. There is no necessity to believe in God.
4. Research to determine if this or another system is the most positive and peaceful method of education possible. (For an article on Auroville's alternative education system and its success and weaknesses). Determine if it can deliver vastly better academic results to see if it should become the future system for education on this planet and replace the European Prussian based system. For an article on how to best assess students to determine if this system produces the expected results - see achieving effective assessment in the classroom. For an article on avoiding discrimination in dealing with students.
5. UOCA's system intends to bring out the best in each student. It intends to look at all students individual skills and abilities - talents and aptitudes to focus on where they are gifted and bring this to the surface to develop their aptitudes into talents. See Determining Gifted Students.

A. School day

The research investigation should look at the following possible scenario of a school day: -
1. The school day should begin with yoga postures followed by meditation to bring the young students into a state of calm mind to develop their concentration capabilities.
2. First lessons should be of maths followed by science when the mind is most aware and focused to logic.
3. Asana postures should follow every break.
4. Then languages, humanities and finally followed by arts and sport.

B. Methods of teaching

Method of teaching styles to be investigated: -
1. Teaching should be organically based. Flexible and flowing. Students working at multiple levels on many tasks – according to ability.
2. Team teaching using at least 2 teachers to take each class.
3. Classes to be broken into groups according to students capacity and wishes.
4. Maximum 15 students per class, except when team teaching maximum 15 per teacher.
5. More concrete modelling, and games to learn concepts up to Year 10.
6. Interactivity with other areas of learning i.e. combining maths classes with science – learning trigonometry with physics. Geography with history and maths – eg. local history combined with its location and using maths compass orientation to work out how the area was settled, etc. More holistic less compartmentalised. For an example of a lesson plan that is based on Year 11 US History yet connects with issues on racial discrimination in Legal, Social Studies, Psychology and Politics expecting students to think beyond the square and put themselves in the position of a person experiencing racial discrimination.
7. Teaching according to individual ability and particular multiple intelligence of the student. Investigate different methods to allow teacher’s to achieve this:-
· Allowing students to work on varying curriculum at different levels within the one class.
· Investigate having students with higher ability paired with lower ability students to assist in teaching them.
· Stream classes according to individual’s ability particularly in maths. For instance do not teach trigonometry to those Year 9 students of lesser ability who most likely will never use this concept in their adult life and when half the students can barely understand how to do it let alone see what purpose it is to serve them later.
Stream the maths and teach the kids who are going onto higher education these concepts.
Investigate the point of teaching students who for example are never going to go to university and study a subject at this set level of knowledge when they are having for instance problems multiplying and dividing and devise workable strategies for them.
· Investigate if they feel a level of hopelessness and hence rebel as a result of the current system where they are forced to learn all at the same level and find workable alternatives.
· Investigate success based teaching strategies for students. In other words only teaching students at a level they can achieve success in or gain a positive result.
8. Investigate orientating teaching to the local environment of the school by catching student enthusiasm by making teaching relevant to the local area. Investigate more classroom excursions and outdoor activities:-

  • For instance setting problems to be solved that are about the local town, suburb and the main industries there. For example if the students are going on to do apprenticeships and may well use basic maths there then ORIENT the maths to these kids for what they NEED FOR AN APPRENTICESHIP – this may include trigonometry! BUT teach it at that level – for instance take them out to the power station and show how when piping subsides in the ground and needs to be jacked up to a horizontal level, trig can be used to work out how much to jack up each section. Then get them to work it out using the trig. OR take them orienteering and get them to work out compass bearings and places using geometry. OR with a surveyor working on a civil engineering project or even a building site or roadworks. Or on a boat trip or to the local aerodrome and have navigation explained where they work it out, plot it and get the boat there.
  • Research to determine if this can be inexpensive, logistically easy to organise and easy to control the students. Investigate if it is easier to keep them in the classroom and the cost involved based on testing the educational benefit gained in a classroom versus external method. Research if this sort of innovative lateral thinking in the system produces inspiration in students.

C. School Discipline or Student Self-empowerment

Altering the current Responsible Thinking Classroom system of discipline with a view to creating a system that -
1. puts students in a position where they are involved in creating the system and enforcing it so taking responsibility for their actions so that they actually change their behaviour.
2. is kind and compassionate and is worded and enforced as such in its dialogue. For an article on
Developing a Model of Classroom Interaction Between Teacher and Students using speech and language theory.
3. insists that plans made by students are fulfilled
4. streamlines paperwork for the teacher and is simple and easy to impose.
5. has minimum interference on teaching time and in fact reinforces teaching.
6. creates a spirit of cooperation between teacher and student and the class as a whole.
7. creates an atmosphere that gives inspiration and hope to students and does not take them away from being taught in the class so getting further behind. For instance rather than being placed in a room to write a plan, being sent for remedial help in learning if appropriate.
8. a system of discipline that applies to areas outside the classroom. A system for dealing with playground misbehaviour that adopts similar strategies as a revised RTC. For instance playing with the students rather than sitting as a security guard come spy over them in the playground duty. Only once did I see a teacher engage with the students in this manner and it was the only time I saw a positive loving and happy connection between teacher and student in the playground duty.
9. a system of behaviour management that creates a loving and nurturing environment for the student where the teacher is seen as friend and mentor, a partner working together with the student. See UOCA Managing the Classroom - intervention strategies.

D. Ergonomics of Classroom and School building design and layout

We would investigate different forms of teaching environment from standard square, all seated in rows classes. Different styles and shapes of classroom seating including the New York Henderson technique using large round table used in Melbourne Grammar in humanities and many prestigious private schools in the USA.
1. Consider ergonomics of class.
2. Environmental impact reducing energy use.
3. Spinal and back health of students in seating and movement. Knee based seats for instance.
4. Dynamic style classes allowing fluidity and movement within the class assessing student attention span and ability to remain sitting for fixed lengths of time and the health consequences of this immobility contributing to for instance obesity and lack of proper exercise.
5. Multiple intelligences incorporated within the class design.
6. Information technology built into the classroom set up.
7. Merging multi discipline teaching and team teaching in formulating classroom design.

E. Market Research survey

a). Such a school could be surveyed amongst the general population to determine if sufficient numbers of parents would be interested in putting their children in such a school. If there were sufficient numbers, a school could be justified. These are just some of ideas that could be presented to the Director-General of Education to see if they see it of benefit and would provide funding to such an experimental alternative school. This school would allow students to determine their own discipline system and determine their own curriculum using a form of participatory democracy to perhaps even elect teachers.

A yoga system based school may be consistent with where the general public is at anyway.
1. Yoga is practised everywhere by many Americans and Australians.
2. The USA is an immigrant nation with a growing Asian population and interest in Asian religions. The third highest immigrants in Australia [after NZ and UK] are Indians and fourth Chinese, who would be very open to a yoga based education system. Judging by the fact that Chinese and Indian students perform much better than any other students suggests that perhaps their culture of yoga and meditation may be an influencing factor that needs further investigation to improve our education system.
3. Meditation is generally recognised as an important tool to control the mind by almost all scientific authorities and is widely practised in America and Australia.
4. Vegetarian diet is prevalent in America and Australia, growing exponentially and is environmentally far less damaging and uses less resources, furthermore countless research shows its beneficial effects on the health, including 50% less degenerative diseases by vegetarians. With obesity at 30% amongst school children, this is an obvious solution.

b). A further survey of all yoga-based alternative schools to determine their academic and social results as well as post school employment and success.

F. Founder

I have spent the last five years investigating schools in Australia, NZ, India, Costa Rica, Korea and California. Yoga based schools teaching children at Ananda in California gains higher results across all areas than high schools and produces more peaceful, loving and broadminded individuals who cope better in the world. Statistics on their past students prove this. The schools in Auroville, India also shows this result. The last 18 years I have been practicing yoga and mediation and have tried many different systems. I received a high distinction in psychology at Monash University. My education in psychology, history, law and media, with two degrees and two diplomas reinforces my credentials to not just research this area which could be included in a higher degree thesis, but run this Experischool.

For the horrific experience our children face in a normal school and I faced in my first teaching position in a typical Australian high school in Queensland, Biloela High, please read the letter I sent to the Minister of Education. Probably worse than the job was the dealings and three year legal conflict with EQ afterwards.
Some of the schools I have taught in and others I have observed have been using yoga, vegetarian diet, meditation and open multi-level, team-taught classrooms catering to individual multiple intelligences using different assessment for different students according to their unique abilities with a view to create gifted students. Creativity, music, dance and art has been an important part, as well as developing academic brilliance, excellence in cottage industry skills and survival outdoor adventure abilities.

Schools include:
IndiaRam (Hari Das) - Haredwar - orphanage
Joshua Tree School - Pushkar - for the poor
Auroville Schools - Future and Transition School, New Creation - - alternative based on Integral Yoga
New ZealandPalmerston North - alternative school including adventure training for at risk students mostly from California
AustraliaBooroobin Sudbury School - Maleny - alternative Sudbury school
Biloela High School
Hughesdale Primary School
Wantirna College
Ananda School - Nevada City - alternative based on Yogananda's teachings
Costa Rica
Revolution Project - orphan and disadvantaged youth school
Pachamama Preschool - alternative school based on Tyohar's teachings
Alajuela Preschool
Gochang High School - taught English and yoga

In my diploma of education I qualified in human development and special needs, adolescent mental health and learning educational psychology. I have taught special needs classes as extras in Biloela High School and found it very rewarding. I looked after physically and mentally disabled children in Mother Teresa's in Calcutta, India.

UOCA believes every human being has in indelible unique quality or gift that is essential for all of us and therefore every human being has to be not just regarded, but known as equal.
For more about UOCA visit www.wna.org.au