ERIC Number: ED375410
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994
Metaphorical Transformation: A Tool for Enhancing Holistic Language Instruction and Student Identity.
Stewart, Richard D.
The Cartesian/Newtonian vision of human existence is outmoded because modern quantum physics has rendered it inaccurate. Quantum theory has demonstrated that the world cannot be reduced to independent and separate elements. The notion that there is an external, objective reality "out there," separate from the self, to be classified, measured, quantified, and manipulated has been severely undermined. But while the scientists in the hard sciences are moving beyond "commonsense" notions, social scientists, especially psychologists and educators, remain entrenched in the dualities of older Western thinking. The time is ripe for a paradigm shift in these fields, and techniques such as metaphor-based transformative narrative and "classroom therapy" may be central to this process. Instructors should become cognizant of the metaphors that they and their students use to construct knowledge about the learning process and about the self. Additionally, educators might ask, along with D. J. Flinders, "How do metaphors presented in text materials, courseware, or a class discussion reproduce cultural stereotypes?" Similarly, Eastern philosophy might be used to challenge Western assumptions. Instead of explaining the inherent unity of all life and energy in the universe (an idea supported by modern quantum physics) in logical, linear fashion, Taoist, Buddhist and yogic teachers use stories and parables to help students metaphorically uncover their meaning. The most popular example of such a method is the Zen Buddhist "koan," a riddle impenetrable by logic. (Contains 15 references.) (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A