Teaching as a religious activity : the classroom as a place of darkness and mystery

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Carol Ann Zinn (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
David E. Purpel

Abstract: This study is an examination of the perception of teaching as a religious activity framed in the mystical concept of Endarkenment. Throughout this work, the concept of Endarkenment is presented as a viable point of departure for educational theory and praxis in much the same way as Enlightenment currently provides the impetus for educational theory and praxis. The premise of this study is that the human journey towards wholeness and communion constitutes the meaning and purpose of human existence. Therefore, the experience of education must image and facilitate this journey. An analysis of the spiritual journey parallels a critique of current educational theory and praxis indicating the liberation and limitations of each. This dissertation is an exploration of the possibilities inherent and revealed when educators view human existence from a religious perspective. The literary form of metaphor provides the discourse for this work and the chapters reflect the consequences of critiquing Education as Redemption, Addiction as Sin, Story-Telling as Confession, Darkness as Conversion and Endarkenment as Transformation. The purpose of Chapter I is to present the idea that education viewed as redemption reminds humanity of its deepest hopes and aspirations. Chapter II offers an explanation for the current educational sin of amnesia by framing it within the model of addiction. Chapter III is an analysis of the experience of two students and an educator through story-telling, confession, examen and praxis. Chapter IV chronicles a conversion journey into darkness, mystery and hope. Chapter V is an invitation extended to educators to enter into the journey towards transformation through the concept of Endarkenment. This chapter supports the premise of this dissertation, that teaching is a religious activity and that the journey towards wholeness and communion demands courage to embrace the dialectics of human existence, energy to engage the journey and consciousness to recognize that the journey comes full circle, thus ending where it begins, in redemption.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1991
Teaching $x Religious aspects
Education $x Philosophy

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