Unleashing the elephant out of the closet and into the wildness of inner work

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Graduate student (PhD)
Date created: 
inner work
reflective practice

In this chapter, the authors explore the “hidden curriculum” that is enactedwhen the teaching-self transmits to the learning-self, the being aspects of theteacher. It is proposed that these aspects are communicated through discursiveand nondiscursive materials. The latter includes energetic, emotional, andgestural “languages.” An argument is made that the current, modernist conceptionsand practices of education that predominantly focus on covering anddownloading curriculum materials do not create openings for exploring thebeing aspects of teachers and learners. Moreover, acknowledging AvrahamCohen’s thesis, “We teach who we are, and that’s the problem,” the authorsexplore the hurtful and damaging influence of the teachers’ “Shadow materials.”An argument is made for the moral imperative of teachers’ (or anyonewho is in a position of influencing others) self-study to minimize or preventhurtful and damaging influences that could have a long-lasting impact on thestudents’ or learners’ self-formation. The authors propose the method of innerwork, integrated with contemplative inquiry and practices, as a way for educatorsto work with the materials of consciousness. Inner work largely involvesworking through psychological projections, introjections, and entanglementsthat permeate one’s inner world. Some details of inner work are offered,including how to facilitate a dialogue between the parts or subselves in one’sinner world that are in tension and conflict. It has been further proposed that this kind of inner work would lay the necessary foundation for becomingkinder, caring, and more compassionate human beings.

Document type: 
Book chapter
You are free to copy, distribute and transmit this work under the following conditions: You must give attribution to the work (but not in any way that suggests that the author endorses you or your use of the work); You may not use this work for commercial purposes; You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work. Any further uses require the permission of the rights holder (or author if no rights holder is listed). These rights are based on the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License.