This chapter brings the ancient dichotomy between vita activa and vita contemplativa – a traditional separation between lay life and religious life – to the realm of different states of mind that form the experience of self in contemporary times. Instead of seeing the above dichotomy necessarily within the secular-religious spectrum, I explore it as two pulls within self and, in particular, within a teacher's life. One pull concerns the gravity of day-to-day that William James described as a habitual, half-awake state, very much shaped by external conditions, such as schooling systems in contemporary times. In this half-awake state, self experiences a lack of agency, and is defined by external expectations and standards. The other pull is the elevation toward what Viktor Frankl called meaning and Paul Tillich viewed as ultimate concerns. This pull need not necessarily be conceptualized as religious. It can be secular and/or grounded in agnosticism and merely reflect a sincere wish to lead an agentic, authentic, and meaningful life. This pull can appear in the most prosaic situations within a teacher's life, calling her/him to resist the gravity of half-asleep functioning and survival. Self is, essentially, a site of struggle and reconciliation between these two pulls, experienced as fluctuating states of the embodied mind. This chapter comprises mostly of an existential-phenomenological description of “what it is like to be a self” in the world, exemplified in the case of being a teacher in contemporary times. After describing the two pulls, I will make some suggestions as to the need for teacher education that explicitly caters to the contemplative self through contemplative practices.
Ergas, O. (2020), "The Formation of the “Teaching Self” Through the Pulls of Day-to-Day and Meaning", Ergas, O. and Ritter, J.K. (Ed.) Exploring Self Toward Expanding Teaching, Teacher Education and Practitioner Research (Advances in Research on Teaching, Vol. 34), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 143-155. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-368720200000034009Download as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2020 Emerald Publishing Limited