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ERIC Number: ED525868
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 192
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1244-0136-2
Niebuhr, Dewey, and the Ethics of a Christian Pragmatist Public Elementary School Teacher
Mackey, David R.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Miami University
This conceptual study asks how a Christian public elementary school teacher might go about teaching in a classroom in ways that reflect or draw upon said teacher's personal Christian beliefs while also maintaining the secular character required of a public school classroom in a pluralistic democracy. In other words, I ask how a Christian educator can teach in a public school classroom in a manner that honestly maintains that classroom's secular nature without pretending to be an atheist. This study positions three social texts (Ohio HB 184, a teacher training workbook by Margaret A. Searle, and vignettes describing my own techniques for establishing classroom order) as foils for my argument, standing as exemplars of situations that I encounter every day in the classroom. I argue vis-a-vis these texts using critique, interpretation, and reasoned analysis in order to show how I, as a Christian teacher, might respond to situations in classrooms that I have judged to be immoral. How do I determine if classroom situations are immoral? In what ways do I analyze these situations and morally reason out a response? Since my conceptual language must avoid dependence on absolute truths and totalizing narratives that are incompatible with my desire to protect the pluralistic nature of my classroom, I use pragmatist philosophy to guide my argument. When articulating my privately held Christian moral stance as it applies to classroom situations, I rely heavily on the theological pragmatism of Reinhold Niebuhr. When attempting to translate my privately held Niebuhrian Christian convictions into moral constructs that are appropriate to share in public space, I rely on the pragmatism of John Dewey, a pragmatism that thoroughly avoids reliance on exclusive, dogmatic, or supernatural foundations for morality, instead offering a morality wedded to an inclusive notion of democracy. My attempt to merge the pragmatisms of Niebuhr and Dewey yields intriguing, yet imperfect results, but from this effort comes a reasoned moral argument based on theological pragmatist notions of irony, democracy, love, and hope. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio