Chandana Watagodakumbura has been in academia for close to twenty years, having been involved in conducting over seventy courses in higher education at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. For over a dozen of these courses, he prepared complete curricula, including assessment and all teaching-learning material following his educational ideals. Most of his recent research, inquiring and integrative activities and publications were in the areas of educational neuroscience, mindful learning, social-emotional learning (SEL), and whole-person development, mainly after completing his Graduate Certificate in Higher Education in 2006 from Monash University Melbourne. In his work, education is perceived from a deeper, broader, and multidisciplinary/domain perspective. More specifically, the emotional and social aspects of learning are given due consideration in addition to/support of the usual cognitive ones, and inclusive and equity-based practices are highlighted and encouraged. Publications done in these areas include three books titled "Education from a Deeper and Multidisciplinary Perspective: Enhanced by Relating to Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Based on Mindfulness, Self-Awareness, and Emotional Intelligence", "Programming the Brain: Educational Neuroscience Perspective - Pedagogical Practices and Study Skills for Enhanced Learning and Metacognition" and “Education from a Deeper and Multidisciplinary Perspective - For a Sustainable Development of the Neurodiverse Society - A Futuristic View" published in 2019, 2017 and 2013, respectively. These inquiring and integrative outcomes were the results of his continuous, passionate contemplation on general education matters for over thirty years since his teenage years. Chandana is currently working as a visiting academic at the Melbourne campus of Central Queensland University (CQU), and he has previously worked at Monash and RMIT Universities in Melbourne, the Cyprus campus of the University of Northern Virginia, and the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka as a full-time academic. He has done formal research studies in the broader area of Computer Systems Engineering and earned a PhD from RMIT University Melbourne in 2004.
“The arguments are based on solid and substantial research, with full citations. While the volume skillfully addresses the conceptual aspects of the education system's shortcomings, it is particularly effective in identifying concrete, accepted practices that limit students' potential development...The author presents a strong case for the dramatic changes he advocates and the benefits of "an integrated human development-focused sustainable system...An ambitious and well-argued approach to redesigning the educational environment to better respond to student needs.”
– Kirkus Reviews
An educator proposes a research-based teaching method that incorporates broad aspects of the human mind and personal development.
In this second edition of his debut book, Watagodakumbura makes a case for what he calls “authentic” education, a holistic practice that maximizes learning by being more responsive to students’ needs and concentrates on deep lessons rather than rote memorization. The work guides readers through research on brain development, learning styles, and the creation of knowledge (Daniel Goleman, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Daniel Siegel, and Rick Hanson make appearances in the text, as do frequent mentions of Bloom’s taxonomy and Maslow’s hierarchy), delivering a greater understanding of what it means to be educated. The author establishes the many ways in which contemporary educational environments do not meet student needs and keep pupils from reaching their maximum potentials, and he shows how many aspects of modern life could be improved by a wider approach to the learning process. He then provides readers with examples of how authentic techniques can be used in the classroom while acknowledging the difficulty of implementing these strategies within the current education milieus. The book is aimed at students of pedagogy and classroom teachers who deal with the practical applications of education research, and it stays focused on its specialist audience throughout the text. Watagodakumbura is passionate about the potential benefits of authentic education. The work serves as a generally compelling argument for revisiting the traditional approach to teaching and learning, acknowledging that it represents a substantial change from the status quo: “Authentic education per se is a catalyst for a holistic transformation our societies need in the educational forefront, not a patch to be applied, to be swayed in the presence of economic or market changes with a narrow perspective or to suppress one problem until we encounter another, much bigger one.” The arguments are based on solid and substantial research, with full citations. While the volume skillfully addresses the conceptual aspects of the education system’s shortcomings, it is particularly effective in identifying concrete, accepted practices that limit students’ potential development, such as the use of multiple-choice questions and the imposition of artificial time limits. The book also does an excellent job of explaining why adapting to the neurodiversity and varied needs of the student population is a benefit both to individual pupils (who are not marginalized by rigid definitions of learning and achievement) and society (which gains the talents of more productive folks while isolating fewer who do not conform). The author presents a strong case for the dramatic changes he advocates and the benefits of “an integrated human development-focused sustainable system.” The prose is occasionally awkward (“Many students, especially in teenage and early adulthood, may feel the learning environment in a more neutral manner”; “Under prevailed social contexts”). But there are also plenty of vivid metaphors and imagery that will draw readers’ attention and make the complex topic manageable.
An ambitious and well-argued approach to redesigning the educational environment to better respond to student needs.
Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019
Page count: 250pp
Publisher: Time Tunnel Media
Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019
Video on the first edition of "Education from a deeper and multidisciplinary perspective"
Melbourne (Australia)/ Kandy (Sri Lanka)
There are many
There are many
Lecturing/teaching/facilitating learning and learner transformation (that essentially include social -emotional aspects of learning in addition to cognitive ones)
Favorite line from a book
"Schools generally pay little attention to how, when, and by whom the criteria for grading were chosen. If the criteria were questioned and varied, students’ position on the continuum might change. But they are rarely varied" Ellen Langer (in Mindful Lea
TRANSFORMATION (Learner TRANSFORMATION (akin to Human Development) to Social TRANSFORMATION to Economic TRANSFORMATION, not in the reverse order of main focus as per the unsustainable status quo)
Unexpected skill or talent
Playing violin (last played over 20 years ago)
Passion in life
Working for the greater good by engaging in (difficult but much-needed) processes of educational/learner transformation with a focu on integrated, whole person development leading to achieving social (and thereby economic) sustainability in that orderSan Francisco Book Review, 2019 SPR review on "Education from a Deeper and Multidisciplinary Perspective", 2019 SPR Review on "Programming the Brain: Educational Neuroscience Perspective", 2017 Xlibris Invited Blog on Author Inspirations, 2015
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