ERIC Number: EJ942039
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Light-ness of Being in the Primary Classroom: Inviting Conversations of Depth across Educational Communities
Witte-Townsend, Darlene L.; Hill, Anne E.
Educational Philosophy and Theory, v38 n3 p373-389 Jun 2006
When young children first come to school they bring with them a depth of being; the authors suggest that the educational community should respond to children with a pedagogy that is capable of nurturing this depth. The authors of this paper are teachers of many years' experience. Their own work in classrooms has shown them that, paradoxically, depth in pedagogy is most surely to be found when teachers follow the light in the eyes of children. The authors draw upon a selection of vignettes and narratives taken from classroom experiences to describe how this is done. They also show how children and teachers can approach the complex learning that requires transcendence of the known. Notions of relational consciousness (Hay, 2000), as well as ethical and spiritual sensibility (Hay & Nye, 1998) are developed through reference to a range of educators including Bronson Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Dewey, Stanley Cavell, Maxine Greene, Nell Noddings, Vivan Paley and Arthur Vogel. The broader educational community is reminded that school experiences should balance the measurable and the immeasurable. The authors question some aspects of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (PL 107-110), sharing their concern that it may focus teachers' attention too tightly on "that which is formed from without" (Dewey, 1938, p. 17). The authors suggest that the weight of this legislation may result in the neglect of some very important aspects of learning. The broader educational community is invited to consider the implications of a pedagogy of depth, to become more aware of the skill of transcending known limitations through coming to shared understanding, and to find ways to reconcile the potential violence of legislated structures with the being-in-the-world of children in schools.
Descriptors: Federal Legislation, Indexes, Ethics, Instruction, Vignettes, Children, Teacher Student Relationship, Personal Narratives, Spiritual Development
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Elementary and Secondary Education Act; No Child Left Behind Act 2001