Spiritualizing pedagogy : education as the art of working with the human spirit
This autobiographically-derived, and narratively-voiced, thesis is one
teacher's story. From the story a spiritualizing model of education is argued,
toward making a paradigm shift. The suggested shift involves placing
'technical' learning within the context of being and becoming fully, and
positively, human. Teaching then becomes a matter of enabling development
of the individual's Caring, Creative and Critical abilities, developed within the
Community (the 4Cs), inspired by the light of higher-order values - the
remainder being processes and content.
The thesis makes an original contribution to educational knowledge
through the educational life-story, and through making explicit a model out of
that life-experience. The suggested model of spiritualizing pedagogy, called
SunWALK, therefore is grounded in accounts of the writer's major educational
life-events. In particular it presents epiphanous encounters undergone in
meeting three 'discourse-communities': the Baha'i Faith, the teaching of
English, and Philosophy for Children. These are seen as providing the three
intrapersonal 'voices' of human engagement, Caring, Creativity and Criticality,
which correspondingly have three ways of knowing: the 'social-others-centred',
the 'subjective-creative-mystical' and the 'objective-reasoning-scientific'. A
fourth discourse-community, that of holistic education, is the educational subdomain
to situate the thesis.
A conceptual framework for the model is outlined, using concepts
gleaned from the four discourse-communities. A view of 'the Whole', and of
heart-knowing, is presented, to counter-balance the conceptual. Heartknowing,
the 'subjective-creative-mystical', is seen as an innate, intuitive way of
knowing, c.t. the methods of the 'objective-reasoning-scientific'. The third form,
i.e. social knowing, is seen as deriving from the cultural interpersonal matrix of
family and community relationships - internalized as Caring. .
The conceptual and heart-knowing are brought together, via a
'conceptual-contemplative-conceptual' cyclical approach, using a 'Mandala
Diagram'. The idea of 'Dialectical Spiritualization' is developed, as that which
the four 'Cs' have in common. A summary and diagram, and evaluation,
conclude the thesis.