The TeachWise Model

TeachWise promotes the TeachWise Model of an inclusive inner curriculum of thinking skills and learning dispositions based on:

  1. Liberal Learning as the means of accessing and contributing to the fruits of western and muslim cultural achievement through a personal quest for truth, goodness, beauty and oneness.
  2. The Quest for Truth, the principle that personhood is realised in the quest for truth, knowledge and science which enables access to the academic and professional culture of the West and traditional Muslim cultures
  3. The Quest for Goodness: the principle that personhood is realised in the quest for goodness, nobility and service which enables access to the Humanist culture of the West shared with traditional Muslim cultures.
  4. The Quest for Beauty : the principle that personhood is realised in the quest for beauty which enables access to the Artistic culture of the West shared with traditional Muslim cultures.
  5. Quest for Oneness : the principle that personhood is realised in the quest for unity and integrity which enables access to the Prophetic reformist culture of the West shared with traditional Muslim cultures.
  6. Character Building : the principle that Spiritual, moral, cultural and mental development facilitates character building through dispositional learning and developing renaissance learning powers
  7. Renaissance : the principle that it is desirable for the indigenous culture of Britain to capitalise on the contribution of other faiths & cultures to liberal learning and character building by means of a British Renaissance which is also an Islamic Renaissance in the academic, humanist, artistic and prophetic cultures of the West shared with traditional Muslim societies

IRIS is a specialist educational consultancy which adopts and adapts the TeachWise Model to capitalise on the creative contribution of Muslims to civil society and education in the UK and Middle East. In particular we aim to facilitate an Islamic renaissance in schools by promoting the enrichment of the four cultures of the West shared with Muslim societies: Artistic culture, Academic culture, Humanist culture and Prophetic culture.

We want to achieve the best of both worlds educationally, working to enhance British tradition from an Islamic perspective and Islamic tradition from a British perspective. To that end we explicitly work within a framework which values:

  1. the pluralist state of constitutional monarchies
  2. personal freedom
  3. grassroots democracy
  4. patriotic governance

We affirm the voluntary, inclusive and integrative nature of Islam and are opposed to the two extremes that undermine these values in education:

  • Political Islam or Islamism which threatens to undermine our liberties by imposing a totalitarian religious solution
  • The corporate State which threatens to undermine our liberties by imposing a totalitarian statist solution.

Islamic Renaissance Project was founded by Timothy Saunders PhD, MA, BA, PGCE who has 25 years experience in education and has been Head of 8 schools. He is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and a practising Muslim. Invited to become a Research Fellow at the Cambridge Muslim College the Project was born out of discussions about how British Muslims could be more positive about their own indigenous identity and develop forms of Islam which are rooted in and enrich British culture. In particular Dr Saunders was interested in how there was little conversation between Muslims, philosophical conservatism and classical learning in the British educational tradition.  As the director of IRIS Dr Saunders is keen to invite governors, teachers, students and parents to join in this conversation that seeks the best of both worlds in promoting the values and learning dispositions of an integrative worldview.

Islamic Renaissance utilises the ‘Integrative British Values Framework’ conceived by Dr Saunders which encapsulates an educational theory of politics providing clarity about the Ground and Goal of politics on the one hand and the Method and Direction of politics on the other. Its ground is pluralist, its goal personal, its method participatory and its direction patriotic. This ensures that education is not regarded as an extension of politics but esteemed as the foundation and fulfilment of any culture including its political values.

The Integrative British Values Framework

Integrative British Values Framework

Islamic Renaissance works by using Appreciative Inquiry as a mode of action research seeking to:

1) Discover what’s good about voluntary Islam as a personal quest for beauty, truth, goodness and oneness and how the Artistic, Academic, Humanist and Prophetic cultures of the West are based on these values.

2) Dream how harnessing Islamic spirituality can improve the education of Muslims by promoting these values in SMSC and thinking skills in schools and realising how an Islamic Renaissance is also a renewal and enrichment of British culture.

3) Design practical improvements in collaboration with governing bodies, academy boards, teachers and schools

4) Deliver real change which promotes fundamental British values expressed in excellence of Craftsmanship, Scholarship, Leadership and Mindfulness .

Our Integrative Values Framework for Promoting Fundamental British Values

We support schools in their duty to promote fundamental British values not just because it is a statutory requirement but because we advocate Integration, the politics of Gratitude and the creative dynamism of the British Constitution.  

We seek a comprehensive Fusion which integrates the ground, goal, method and direction of politics, seeking the best of blue, orange, red & green strands of British political tradition.

Promoting British values is not an after thought or a compensation for what’s missing but results from the politics of Gratitude. Beginning with a positive mindset giving thanks for what’s good and starting with what works rather than succumbing to the politics of repudiation, envy or deficit.

Personal Goal – the principle that the goal of politics is the development of the personal capacity for freedom through liberal learning – Orange British values

Participatory Method – the principle that politics involves consultation and deliberation on short term critical issues and matters of social justice and seeks to bridge the gap between direct and representative democracy – Red British values.

Patriotic Direction – the principle that politics involves consultation and deliberation on long term issues based on a prior and inclusive commitment to the common good and the desire for harmony between people and nature in the past, present and future – Green British values.

Plural Ground – the principle that sovereignty, authority & power are decentralised and depend on a tradition of voluntary assent enshrined in constitutional monarchy – Blue British values


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