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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Attending to the inner life of an educator : the human dimension in education Cohen, Avraham


My dissertation is a selection of essays that reflect upon human potential, particularly but not exclusively, within educational environments. I offer theory and practices that suggest that under the right conditions educators and students will move towards the far reaches of their own creative capacities. I offer my own experience and practice as an exemplar of possibilities. I make proposals about educators and education of educators that represent a paradigm shift from centralizing curriculum and content to focusing on care, nurturance, subjective and inter-subjective understanding, and development of educators. The reader is invited to see educators as central, and is encouraged towards the possibility that educators must be supported, encouraged, and cared for in order to support emergence of their vitality, first for themselves and subsequently for students. I outline an approach that puts human beings in educational environments first in practical and specific ways. Integration of personal experience and curriculum material is explicated. The importance of personal inner work for educators is highlighted. Inner Work is characterized as a personal and spiritual process. The claim that educators need to have group facilitation skills is made and evidence offered. Philosophical and theoretical background from education, eastern and western philosophy, humanistic and transpersonal psychology, process-oriented methods, and counselling psychology are drawn upon. The approach is holistic and systemic. The human is viewed as important but not separate from other living beings or the environment. The values of presence, care, and deep democracy underlie the ideas. The importance of relationality and I-Thou connection are explicated. The writing and research draws on a variety of qualitative approaches, including, living inquiry, autobiography, and self-study, as well as conceptual, narrative, poetic, auto-ethnographic, heuristic, and analytic methods. The material, personal, and ephemeral are investigated as integrated parts of the Dao-Field of education and life.

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