In pursuit of a pedagogy of personhood: existentialism and possibilities for educator liberation

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sheryl J. Lieb (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Glenn Hudak

Abstract: In this study, I explore the problem of 21st century educator existential oppression (my term) as the negation of personal and pedagogical personhood that I experienced as a result of my confrontations (across three separate schools) with oppressive policies and practices instituted by the neoliberal business model within the institution of education. I use my story to reflect the individual educator’s situation of dehumanization as it has become embedded within a neoliberal pedagogy of standardization, measurement, and objectification, asserting that this is an increasingly common phenomenon among contemporary educators. I discuss philosophical conceptions of oppression, personhood, and pedagogy through the lens of existentialism, positioned as a humanizing response to the dehumanization of neoliberal educational ideology. Emphasizing the existential attitude of intentional self-consciousness for self- reclamation (personhood) and resistance to oppression, I also address existential tenets that inform my current efforts toward teaching for freedom in the undergraduate classroom. Four existential questions frame the conclusion of this study, the responses to which prioritize the concept of integrity as fundamental to the pursuit of an individual pedagogy of personhood and the rehumanization of education, even inferring the community at large. The methodology of this study is an integration of philosophical analysis and scholarly personal narrative writing (SPN), the latter including reflections and commentaries interspersed throughout the study, along with excerpts from post-class, teaching field notes (spring 2013, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro), most notably in Chapter IV.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Educator existential oppression, Existentialism, Neoliberal, Oppression, Personhood, Scholarly Personal Narrative Writing (SPN)
Teaching, Freedom of
Academic freedom
Identity (Psychology)
Oppression (Psychology)
Neoliberalism $x Social aspects
Education, Humanistic
Educational change

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