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

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Author: Bai, Heesoon
In this chapter, the authors explore the “hidden curriculum” that is enacted
when the teaching-self transmits to the learning-self, the being aspects of the
teacher. It is proposed that these aspects are communicated through discursive
and nondiscursive materials. The latter includes energetic, emotional, and
gestural “languages.” An argument is made that the current, modernist conceptions
and practices of education that predominantly focus on covering and
downloading curriculum materials do not create openings for exploring the
being aspects of teachers and learners. Moreover, acknowledging Avraham
Cohen’s thesis, “We teach who we are, and that’s the problem,” the authors
explore the hurtful and damaging influence of the teachers’ “Shadow materials.”
An argument is made for the moral imperative of teachers’ (or anyone
who is in a position of influencing others) self-study to minimize or prevent
hurtful and damaging influences that could have a long-lasting impact on the
students’ or learners’ self-formation. The authors propose the method of inner
work, integrated with contemplative inquiry and practices, as a way for educators
to work with the materials of consciousness. Inner work largely involves
working through psychological projections, introjections, and entanglements
that 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’s
inner 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.
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Bai et al. Elephant Chapter.pdf 460.72 KB