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In this paper we engage in a conversation speaking from three different perspectives and discuss the ways literature and our personal life experiences can inform policy and practice in relation to the concepts of well-being, education, and culture. We gathered around a metaphorical kitchen table, bringing to it our life experiences, as well as the literature that informed our individual research programs (positive psychology, Indigenous world view, and narrative inquiry) and we began to unpack the questions: “What role does culture play in understanding and educating for well-being and why should an education system be concerned about it?”
This is a paper about the culture of the Inuit in the Nunavut Territory of the Canadian Arctic, and the role that education should take in preventing its slow dilution, demise, and loss. The measures to be taken are evident. Inuit philosophy (Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit) must be the framework, and Inuit must be in control, not only of policy and curricula, but also of the school system, the schools, and the classrooms. It can take decades for outsiders embedded in a different culture to communicate and see through an unfamiliar worldview. Inuit do not have the luxury of time to wait for this to happen. Non-Inuit need to understand what Inuit are saying, to appreciate what they aim to achieve, and then get out of the way. If this is not done, the Inuit culture will go the way of so many other Indigenous cultures that once flourished. It’s inconceivable that we non-Inuit Canadians are willing not only to watch this happen but continue to be the cause.
Recess is often a topic overlooked in pedagogical theory due to its presumed simplicity. The essence of recess connects with play as a physical counterpart to a well-rounded education. In this article we explore the relationship play has with recess and well-being and explore its pragmatikos (systematic usefulness) as regards schooling in lieu of deep ecological frameworks of systems (wholism) theory and systemic, nonlinear dynamics. We argue that recess in its current conceptualisation—in contradistinction to work or study—is a counterfeit to metaphysical play based on the writings of Ananda K. Coomaraswamy who sheds light on its spiritual premise. By bringing to the forefront metaphysical Ideas of play we encounter similitudes between the Platonic doctrine of ēdūcere and anamnesis with Buddhist phenomenology, especially regarding the practice of Mindfulness (sati); both extol a “recollection” as opposed to a “memorisation” which arguably occupies much of Westernised curriculum. Finally, in traditional, premodern education, emphasis was placed on Spirit and heartfelt intuition, a remembrance of who we are, our Buddha-nature or Christhood, not on cerebral ratiocination whose mental operation, according to Plato, was tenebrous and illusory. Our aspiration is not an education that includes mindfulness, rather, a mindfulness-based education.