Lhomon Education (LME) is a grassroots initiative fostering the development of innovative curricula designed specifically for Bhutanese students. The basis of the LME initiative is an alternative model of teacher training and curriculum development that integrates principles of Gross National Happiness (GNH) in the truest sense of the term. Based on the overarching mission of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s Lhomon Society, and on the values and principles laid out in this document, LME is helping teachers create innovative GNH-based curricula for use in a variety of education environments. LME curriculum development workshops and teacher training seminars are open to a wide range of education institutions, including government schools, monasteries, rural education centers, and other formal and non-formal education institutions and initiatives in Bhutan.
As a pilot project, LME is being implemented at Chokyi Gyatsho Institute (CGI), a monastery in Dewathang, Samdrup Jongkhar, East Bhutan, under the auspices of the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative. The objective is to create a set of twenty comprehensive secular educational units that can be used as a model for GNH-infused education and implemented in monasteries and possibly other schools and institutions in Bhutan. These integrated units will incorporate many of the learning objectives found in the standard Bhutanese educational system (i.e. math, science, social science, technology, health).
Vision: What We Want for Our Students
We would like to see more connected, actively-involved, life-long learners grounded in Bhutan’s ancient wisdom traditions, principles, values, and practices. To that end, along with the ongoing teaching, CGI as a laboratory, the comprehensive curriculum units are being developed. The units within the curriculum help students develop the values, knowledge, competencies, and practical life skills that will enable them to live full and satisfying lives and to become contributing members of society. As Khyentse Rinpoche said, “true freedom only comes when one is no longer enslaved on an inner level by the emotion and desire and on an external level by ignorance.” LME’s endeavor is to help guide students to this level of freedom.
Principles: Foundations for Curriculum Decision Making
The foundations for the LME curriculum differ from the current Bhutanese education model in that they aim to produce a curriculum not tied to standardized tests or certificates. This curriculum aims to engage the heart and mind and to develop long-lasting skills. The LME principles, which underpin the development of all our curriculum development, serve to lessen the division between in-school learning and life-long learning. The aim is to educate the whole person in a way that engages and challenges students, is forward-looking and inclusive, project-based, reflects GNH values, and affirms their unique Bhutanese identity. The curriculum will provide a modern education that is consistent with traditional values. Mindfulness training is incorporated across subject areas as it is a key component of living a balanced and peaceful life.
An LME Curriculum
- Has meaning for students, connects with their lives, and engages the support of their families, dzongkhags (districts), and local communities.
- Makes links within and across learning areas, and connects with their abilities, interests, and culture.
- Values local wisdom.
- Encourages students to reflect on their own learning processes and learn how to learn.
- Uses the local environment (both physical and cultural) as the context for imparting knowledge.
- Offers students a broad education with practical application.
- Teaches essential life skills and opens up pathways to future learning.
- Encourages students to explore significant future-focused issues such as: sustainability, citizenship, equity, enterprise, and globalization/localization.
- Recognizes and honors the unique intelligence and learning style of each student.
- Requires continual feedback from teachers, peers, etc.
- Provides assessment tools that are closely linked with the students’ own learning.
- Promotes cooperation rather than competition.
- Supports and empowers all students to learn and achieve personal goals.
- Promotes dignity of labor.
Key Competencies & Practical Outcomes: Capabilities for Living and Lifelong Learning
Key competencies help people live meaningfully and contribute to a well-functioning society:
- Thinking– cultivating creative, critical, and logical thinking; metacognition; self-awareness and reflection, understanding the concept of self
- Participating and Contributing– active listening, taking part in discourse, developing curiosity and confidence that translates into active involvement in and service to their communities
- Managing Self– making sound decisions, setting goals, and planning; distinguishing wants from needs, exploring the notion of the self as the source of suffering, mindfulness training in action
- Relating to Others– developing the knowledge, communication skills, attitudes, and values necessary for working and interacting with others, compassion in action
- Using Language, Symbols, and Texts– discovering meaning, comprehension
Our students will develop the skills to live successfully and responsibly in the world, with a natural inclination to conserve nature and benefit others. They will learn to manage a household budget, apply first aid, sow a vegetable garden, make sustainable choices at the market, and prevent alcohol abuse and forest fires. Their appreciation for their communities and nation as a whole and expanded understanding of local and global issues will help stem rural-urban migration.
- Organic Garden
- Community Service
- Farm as a learning lab
- Medicinal Herbs – losing its importance
- The richness of nine traditional grains: Lebi (Soya Bean) to Tofu
- ‘‘Nature Mindful Walk’’- Connecting the world around us and our inner world
- Kolokpa (once a popular game amongst community people) in Decline
- Rediscovering the Lost Soap
- Mimosa – The Sensitive Plant
- Garbage to decoration
Even the best curriculum needs skilled teachers who have the qualities of a kalyana mitra, a friend who can guide a student along the path, therefore LME’s primary focus is on teacher training. LME programs and teacher training seminars, such as the Winter Mindfulness Camp for Bhutanese Educators, focus on developing the inner qualities of the teacher. At the mindfulness retreat, teachers had an opportunity to deepen their meditation practice under the guidance of masters and also learn about the scientific benefits of the practice.
Teachers must believe in and embody the qualities we hope to instill in our students in order to pass them on. Bhutan is built on a legacy of a master to disciple transmission of wisdom and we wish to follow that example.
Annual Winter Mindfulness Camp
INTEGRATING MINDFULNESS IN DAILY LIFE
Annual Winter Mindfulness Camp for Bhutanese Educators and Others
‘‘In this materialistic time just to have little interest to look inside, contemplate inside, not getting distracted by outside and really looking inside is very important. It’s worthwhile to spend our time and energy in it.’’ – Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
How do we integrate mindfulness into our daily lives? To help Bhutanese educators express mindfulness in their everyday roles as teachers and community leaders, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche has encouraged Lhomon Education to initiate a Winter Mindfulness Training Camp in Dewathang.
The week-long mindfulness program will be practice-oriented, with sitting and walking sessions, interspersed with short talks and discussions about strategies for Bhutan’s spiritual education.
‘‘If the teachers are interested in the value of Mindfulness, this is a good sign for the future of Bhutan. If the interest in mindfulness grows at a grassroots level, then we will have hope for our nation. If not, we will become mindless. We will become insane, our country will soon be filled with greed and insanity people.’’ —– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
- Fourth Winter Mindfulness Camp fro Bhutanese Educators
- Third Winter Mindfulness Camp for Bhutanese Educators
- Second Winter Mindfulness Camp for Bhutanese Educators
- First Winter Mindfulness Camp for Bhutanese Educators
- Mindfulness Camp Participants (Teachers), Making differences in their Schools
- Mindfulness follow-up with teacher participants
- Daily Meditation with LME students
- Mindfulness in Bhutanese Colleges
Rinpoche’s Education Messages
- Education – Bhutan’s most important choice
- A path to Bodhi – Path Beyond Intelligence
- DJKR’s Education Message
- About LME: Education is the Key
- Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche speaking to the LME Workshop Participants
Documents and blog articles on LME
- Click here: day dump site cleaning at Bangtso: 27/5/2017
- Lho Mon Education creates a new secular curriculum for Chokyi Gyatso Institute
- Lhomon Education Curriculum Development Workshop
- Keep Bhutan Beautiful – Click Here for a video
- Lhomon Education’s First Curriculum Development Workshop a Success
- Teaching in a Monastic-Environment
- We are all Connected – Click Here for an Audio
- Allowing Learning to Happen
- Samvaad II Conference, Gurgeon, India
Mukazor Study Tour
You are your Mask’s Boss
A tribute to Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche
Rinpoche’s Birthday Tribute by LME students
Tshering Chengmo cover by LME
Mindfulness Camp 2016
Don’t forget the soap