Integrated teaching practices that nurture the highest standards of intellect, character and physical development

 

WHAT DOES BAHA'I-INSPIRED MEAN?

 

School of the Nations:  

A School with a Different Philosophy

The School of the Nations aims to develop citizens who uphold excellence in their moral character, whose vision is world embracing, who strive to serve humanity, and who help build an ever-advancing civilization.  The essential elements of this framework can be summarized as follow:

- Each student who comes through the education system of the School is regarded as a mine of rich potential and education can help to uncover those hidden gems in order to contribute to the advancement of society.

- Every person has the potential to do good and bad, but education processes can choose to help the student so that his or her noble nature dominates.

- The School chooses to uphold the nobility of each human being; hence, it views everyone - students, parents, teachers, administrative staff and anyone it interacts with - with respect and without prejudice. Race, religion, nationality and gender are not the basis of consideration in student admissions and staffs recruitment, and SON is proud of the religious and ethnic diversity of its students and faculty.

- The School's education system is about "Whole Person Development".  It therefore gives equal emphasis to character development and academic progress. This is reflected in what the School chooses to celebrate and honour as is demonstrated in the awards given to those students who have made remarkable progress in a particular aspect of their character once a month and the awards at the end of the School's academic year such as: "Peace Maker Award", "Academic Excellence", "Light upon Light Award" etc.

- The School believes that each participant of the School community contributes to the process of learning, which is demonstrated in its participatory approach to learning and School management, and students are trained to take increasing ownership of the learning process.

- Contrary to forces of negative competition, manipulation and other techniques based on different conceptions of human nature, SON believes that students are motivated to learn out of their attraction to beauty, cleanliness, orderliness, arts of various kinds, virtuous conduct, and out of a desire to search for knowledge and truth.

- The School makes a deliberate effort to cultivate in the young ones the desire and habits to help others, as a preparation for them to serve the future interests of their society instead of their own interests alone.

- The School is committed to the aim of building a just and prosperous society in the context of a world embracing vision, and sees society’s reconstruction as a capacity-building process, in which schools have important contributions to make.  In this process, education and educational institutions will be defined and redefined as well.  SON is interested in engaging in dialogue with individuals or parties who wish to contribute towards this discussion, including how to put into practice the philosophy outlined above, which the School sees as a learning process.

- The overall framework outlined above, gains much of its inspiration from the teachings of the Baha’i Faith.  You may be wondering what the Baha’i Faith is and what it means to be a Baha’i-inspired school.  The next two sections attempt to answer these questions.

The Baha’i Faith: A Source of Inspiration

The Baha'i Faith is an independent world religion founded by Baha'u'llah and the Bab in 1844. In terms of geographical distribution, it is the second most widespread religion in the world. There are no less than 6 million Baha’is in the world, residing in over 200 countries and territories. In Macau, it is generally acknowledged as one the five main religions established in this city. Some important Baha’i principles include:

  • Humanity is one human family.We must treasure and respect the diversity of humanity, while striving to establish its unity and interconnectedness.
  • All prejudice- racial, religious, national, or economic- is destructive and must be overcome.
  • Full equality of women and men is necessary for the progress of society.
  • We each have the responsibility to investigate truth for ourselves, without preconceptions.
  • True religion is in harmony with reason and the pursuit of scientific knowledge.
  • The family is the building block of society, therefore, its strength and unity is very important.
  • There is one God and all major world religions come from God.
  • Daily prayer and communion with God is the foundation for a life devoted to spiritual advancement and service to humanity.
  • Unity building must be at the core of constructing an ever advancing global civilization, which is the crying need of our time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions about the relationship between the School of the Nations and the Baha'i Faith.

1.  How might a parent notice practical demonstration of faith at SON?

You may notice morning devotionals and suspension of school during Baha’i Holy days.

Every morning, the classes in the School begin with a few prayers and writings aimed at uplifting the heart and spirit, and allowing time for personal reflection.  All devotionals aim to be respectful and inclusive of all religious traditions. At the Kindergarten level, children learn short prayers that encourage respect for all creation.  At the Primary and Secondary levels, devotionals may include writings from a wide-range of religious traditions and students are also encouraged to bring and share their own prayers or inspiring writings.

There are nine significant dates in a year associated with the history of the Baha'i Faith, which are generally regarded as Baha'i holy days in which work is suspended for the Baha'is.  As SON is a Baha’i-inspired school, it honors Baha’i Holy Days and school is suspended on those days. The significance of these holy days is often explained to the students. For an explanation of these holy days you can go to the following websites: in Chinese www.macaubahai.org, and in English: www.bahai.org.

2.  Does SON draw its educational philosophy entirely from the Baha’i Faith?

Though the guiding philosophy of School of the Nations draws its inspiration from the Baha’i Faith, it does not limit itself to this system of knowledge and practice alone. The School consults the state of the art practices and ideals in education endeavours locally as well as in the international arena.  It also refers to the experience of numerous other Baha'i-inspired schools around world as well as educational institutions based on other philosophies.

3.  Who operates the School of the Nations?

The School is operated by professionals in the field of education, some of who are Baha’is. It is not run by a professional priesthood; in fact, there is no such category of individuals in the Baha'i Faith.

The School respects the station of the Baha'i institutions but the School has complete autonomy in its management. The Baha'i institutions and community do not interfere in the affairs of the School. Likewise, the finance of the School is not linked to or used to fund any other Baha'i activities.

4.  Was SON created to teach the Baha’i Faith?

While the School was not created to teach the Baha’i Faith, it is hoped that the students gain the yearning to serve humanity, become builders of justice and peace within the world, manifest a virtuous character, and become contributors to the advancement of society (which are also aims of the Baha’i teachings). The School was not created for the purpose of converting others to become believers of the Baha'i Faith. Neither is there an expectation that students should become members of the Baha'i community at the end of their education at the School. The historical record of the School in this regard is a testimony of this. In the Baha'i Faith, individuals who become Baha'is do so voluntarily; proselytizing is strictly and categorically forbidden. The Badi Foundation created the School of the Nations to contribute to the development of this region, especially in the field of education.

5.  If I am interested in learning more about the Baha’i Faith, how can I go about it?

Individuals or parties from Macau interested to know more about the Baha’i Faith are warmly invited to contact the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Macau. More information about the Baha’i Faith in Chinese can be accessed from: www.macaubahai.org, and in English: www.bahai.org.