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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Understanding curriculum as meditative inquiry : a study of the ideas of Jiddu Krishnamurti and James Macdonald Kumar, Ashwani


In Understanding Curriculum As Meditative Inquiry: A Study of the Ideas of Jiddu Krishnamurti and James Macdonald, I study the relationship among consciousness, meditative inquiry, and curriculum. I argue that human consciousness, which is the basis of our thinking, feeling, and action, is common to all humanity and is in crisis. This crisis of consciousness—which is characterized by fear, conditioning, becoming, and fragmentation— affects and is deeply affected by the nature of contemporary educational institutions. Contemporary educational institutions create in children fear of authority, exams, and punishment. They also condition their minds with state-controlled and market-driven knowledge. In addition, modern educational institutions alienate children from their bodies, emotions, and spirits due to their overemphasis on cognitive learning. The crisis of consciousness is an existential problem and, therefore, in order to understand its depth and complexities we require an existential approach. Meditative inquiry, which is to be aware of the movement of consciousness without analysis or judgment, is an existential approach to understanding and transforming consciousness to create a peaceful world. On the one hand, meditative inquiry underscores the limitations of thinking and analysis and, on the other hand, it emphasizes meditative listening and observation. Because of the existential nature of our consciousness and the significance of meditative inquiry to comprehending the former, I propose viewing curriculum as a space for meditative inquiry. Curriculum as meditative inquiry is a transformative approach to educational experience that aspires to undermine and possibly dissolve the conflicted nature of our consciousness by cultivating a deeper sense of awareness. Specifically, curriculum as meditative inquiry emphasizes the arts of listening and seeing to have a deeper perception into one’s own consciousness and one’s relationships. It encourages the cultivation of the qualities of openness, aesthetics, and freedom in educational experience. Viewed from the perspective of meditative inquiry, education no more remains a problem of information transmission or means-end learning. On the contrary, it emerges as a space of freedom where the main focus is to learn about oneself and one’s relationships to people, nature, and ideas.

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