How to create the optimal educational paradigm for an unknown future

How do you begin to educate people about the importance of physical education, including mental health? If these topics are really that important, how do you go about your own educational journey? And why have you never been formally taught how to create a path for lifelong learning?

These are valid questions and important ones to ask. One of the goals of Movemind is to provide an online resource for creating optimal educational paradigms.

This post aims to break down what an educational paradigm is exactly, and how you can structure your own to ensure a life full of learning and growth, whatever the future may hold.

Let’s start with a rough definition.

An optimal educational paradigm could be described as;

A personal framework for lifelong learning that also seeks to discover pragmatic solutions to our everyday issues of mental and physical wellbeing.

The institutions in existence claim that they offer us an education in the face of a world that is ever changing and a future that is completely unknown. Yet the results speak for themselves. Just speak to the average degree holder in any western nation and they will tell you how truly effective their ‘education’ has been in helping them adapt to an unknown future. Not to mention the cost.

Sure, their degrees, masters and PhDs have given them bodies of knowledge around a chosen subject, but have they given them skills that are useful in the art of living? Have they learned how to adapt their thought processes to a world in constant flux, avoiding common cerebral pitfalls? Have they been taught the ways in which their bodies can be trained and maintained, so that they serve them for as long as they’re alive?

Preparing for the future doesn’t have to be complicated. Or expensive. But it does need to approach learning with a combination of theory and experience. Western institutions are renowned for delivering bodies of theory. Life, however, is infamous for subjecting us to experience. Movemind believes you need both; theory and experience, knowledge and action, cerebral input and corporal output, in order to create a framework of education that will serve you for life, not just for the duration of your course or degree. Because let’s be honest, if you’re not learning, you’re dying.

The variety of methods that MoveMind advocates for one’s physical education; protocols that develop, restore or maintain the human body, are founded in pragmatism. The methods must be useful for anyone, regardless of race, gender, age or location.

If the methods are not suitable for the lowest common denominator, then how useful are they? These methods should also benefit me, you and the world at large. We are all on this planet together – it seems logical to improve the standard of living for everyone, if we can. And that starts with improving your own body and mind.

The Ideal Paradigm

So how do you ensure that you’re not repeating the same mistakes that our ‘educational’ institutions have for so many years? How do you create an optimal educational paradigm; one filled with pragmatic solutions to your everyday issues of mental and physical wellbeing?

A really useful diagram to help explain the MoveMind approach to solving this conundrum is heavily influenced by Dr Ed Thomas. He created an image which helps to portray the variety of important variables that exist when aiming to create your ideal paradigm for physical education.

These variables, shown below, have existed and been discussed since the era of the ancient Greeks. Having stood the test of time right through to the modern day, they are critical areas to understand and contemplate when discovering your own ideal educational paradigm.

Dr Thomas’ diagram, explanations and reasoning behind the Ideal Paradigm for physical education have contributed largely towards explaining what MoveMind stands for and believes to be of prime importance.

Over an average lifetime, mankind spends a considerable amount of time experiencing things through the physical body. It’s safe to say for the entire time that you are alive, you are in this shell called your body. Whether we like it or not, whether we are even aware of it or not, these experiences contribute to shaping human character and carving the path that is life.

We will call the experiences that are received through the physical body and brain physical education. This is represented above by a big, balanced bucket (the grid comprised of nine grey squares). What would it look like if you could proactively choose the experiences that made up your physical education?

The good news is you can choose. The bucket of squares above is full of different types of fuel (function) and information (content) that all contribute to a wholesome physical education. The foundation of the bucket’s stability is based around it being balanced. The diagram shows that the bucket actually has a dual-foundation; it is perched on a base of Physical Culture and Leisure, or in layman terms; Motion and Study. More on what this means later.

A substantial physical education is represented by a full bucket. A bucket that is only half full, or a bucket that spills its contents, is suboptimal. In order for the bucket to stay balanced, there must be an even amount of attention placed on each of the nine squares. More on this later, too.

Let’s dive in to what keeping the bucket full really looks like. In your lifetime, you must move and you must study, frequently and consistently. This is the bare minimum to ensure that one’s physical education is coming from a place of growth and constant self-discovery. In this way, what the unknown future holds is largely irrelevant. If you are prepared to move and you’re always studying, what is there to worry about? Your body is never stale and your mind is never stagnant. The number of athletes who don’t study, or the number of university professors who don’t move is astounding. Don’t fall in to this trap.

MoveMind believes that the ability to balance the bucket of physical education on the dual-foundation of Motion and Study, is not dependent purely on talent or chance but is a process that can be taught and practiced, perfected and mastered, but never completed. At the most simplistic level, this balancing process consists of understanding time management, realistic goal setting and how to avoid the various deceptive cognitive pitfalls at play.

Providing adequate focus is spent on what’s inside the bucket and its stability via the dual-foundations, your physical education will positively influence you into becoming the best version of yourself and the best use for the community at large.

However, in today’s times, an imbalanced approach to these two areas, motion and study, seems far more common. If you’re moving all the time but never pause to really study, you’re mentally stagnating. If you’re just studying all the time and not pausing to move, you’re calcifying and becoming physiologically stale.

The Current Paradigm

Placing too much focus on any one of the nine squares shown in the bucket causes an imbalance and increases the threat of spilling.

We are defining a spill as;

Creating a negative, suboptimal physical education paradigm, possibly even the collapse of one.

Dr Ed Thomas argues that the current physical education paradigm of the 21st century is more accurately represented like this;

This diagram shows how an imbalance is created by placing too much focus on the Personal and Pedagogical squares of physical education, which are defined below.

In basic terms, this means in this day and age, the focus is placed on; me, my needs, my health, my physical gratification (personal), and sports / games (pedagogical).

As you can see above, the needs of your neighbour (interpersonal) and the world at large (transpersonal) are not being focused on, nor are the restorative or martial methods.
This creates a cultural imbalance towards physical education and is far from an ideal paradigm if we want to prepare the current generations for the unknown future and their ability to pass on their wisdom for future generations to come.

The question is, how do you take a balanced approach to physical education?
How do you balance the bucket? You move often, you study often, and you give each of the nine squares an adequate amount of balanced focus.

But what are all these titles of the things contained in the bucket?

“The restorative, martial, and pedagogical content areas of physical education are fueled by personal, interpersonal, and transpersonal influences. Together they provide a content-motivation pattern for the physical education concept. When combined with classical definitions of culture and leisure, a paradigm begins to emerge. This paradigm can be used to evaluate the nature and value of the current physical education curriculum and emphasis.”

Dr Ed Thomas


CONTENT – The Types Of information Available

The top row in the diagram is labelled Content. This means the different types of information that exist out there and are readily available for the human race to digest and implement as part of their physical education.

What types of Content exist?

If motion is a key component for maintaining physical health in humans, then arguably one of the most important forms of motion is that of the restorative kind;

Motion that restores the organism to a healthy, balanced state.

The first column in the image above is therefore labelled Restorative;

Favourable examples of Restorative techniques, include;

  • Various forms of Asana (Yoga)
  • Classical Pilates
  • Modalities used for training Flexibility / Mobility / Stability
  • Breathwork
  • Visualisation
  • Various forms of Meditation
  • Hypnosis

Click here to read more on why MoveMind believes Asana to be the Restorative system of choice for me, you and the world at large.

Another very important form of information that can contribute to the safety (or danger) of humans is that of the martial kind. The second column is therefore labelled Martial and this consists of;

Subtle or overt techniques and movements that cover the offensive and defensive approach to dealing with external aggression.

Favourable examples of martial techniques, include;

  • Grappling arts – Judo, Wrestling, BJJ, Sambo
  • Striking arts – Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Boxing

Click here to read more on why MoveMind favours the above Martial Arts over others, for me, you and the world at large.

The last of the important forms of information that need to be accounted for when creating ideal physical education paradigms are the Pedagogical.

The third and final column consists of these Pedagogies;

Theoretical bodies of knowledge (e.g. Strength and Conditioning), sports, games and dance.

Favourable examples of Pegagogies include;

  • Grappling based sports
  • Striking based sports
  • Dance with aerial components
  • Trick-based sports
  • Rock Climbing
  • Parkour / Freerunning
  • Strength and Conditioning

Click here to read more on the various Pedagogical areas that MoveMind believes are worth your time to immerse yourself in.

A really easy way to help you choose what Content goes in your bucket, can be summarised as follows;

“Be strong, to be USEFUL.”

Georges Herbert

To put a MoveMind spin on such a great quote;

“Be physically strong, fit and mentally healthy to be USEFUL.”

If you’re not of use, you’re wasting your precious time.


It’s no good creating an ideal paradigm for physical education that only takes your needs into account. The needs of your neighbour and the world at large must be included, as physical education is for everyone and anyone. Let’s take a look at the left hand column of squares labelled Function.

My individual needs, comforts, my health and my physical gratification.

At low levels, this can be understood as family, friends, gender, race etc.
Higher levels understand this to be;

The duty of all citizens is to uphold the highest ideals for their species, and contribute productively to its future.

The needs of humans at large, which do vary culturally across the planet.

Maslow demonstrated, however, that regardless of location, the human species has a common set of hierarchical needs that have to be met in order for higher levels of living to unfold successfully.

Now that you have a decent framework for creating your own effective and functional educational paradigm, it’s time to get to the fun part; customising the contents of the bucket and keeping it balanced.

MoveMind is here to help you decide what to fill the bucket with and give you strategies on keeping your paradigm in balance. If you’re interested to see what we fill the nine squares with, click to read The Movemind Model – an optimal approach to physical education.

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