Education for togetherness and harmony; Learning and teaching through lived experiences
University of Cambridge
Faculty of Education
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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Patel, J. (2020). Education for togetherness and harmony; Learning and teaching through lived experiences (Doctoral thesis). https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.64123
“Learning To Live Together” (LTLT) has been emphasised as one of the four education pillars (Delors et al, 1996). Recently, Sustainable Development Goal 4.7 (at times titled: Learning To Live Together Sustainably, UNESCO, 2018) has provided a renewed focus, emphasising peace education, global citizenship education and education for sustainable development. It has been challenging to research and inform teaching practices, schooling systems and policies for LTLT due to the lack of a coherent conceptual framework based on classroom practices and a sustained international aid and research focus on literacy and numeracy. In India, there has been a long-standing interest in synergetic concepts and schools have refined ‘best practices’. Philosophers, such as Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Aurobindo Ghose, Rabindranath Tagore and Jiddu Krishnamurthi, have foregrounded “education of the heart”, “education of the spirit” and “education for inner flowering” as fundamental goals of education. They founded and inspired schools that target education for LTLT, some of which have existed for more than a century. In this thesis, I use complex systems theory (CST) and the human capabilities approach (HCA) to explore: a) how teachers conceptualise LTLT; b) how they teach LTLT; and c) what (systemic) influences enable and constrain them in teaching students to LTLT. My multiple embedded case-study involved a ten month-long immersion across five Indian schools founded or inspired by the aforementioned philosophers and extensive shadowing, classroom observations, introspective interviews, card sorting activities and reflective diaries, with a total of 14 teachers. The methods tapped into Southern epistemologies by drawing on reflection and introspection as ways of knowing. This research builds trustworthiness through interviews with principals, extended time in the field and triangulation of perspectives (those of teachers, students, principals and the researcher). This research reconceptualises LTLT as LTLT “Harmoniously” (LTLTH) and establishes that the investigated teachers perceived and practised LTLTH as the primary purpose of education. I reconceptualise Delors et al’s (1996) LTLT framework into an interconnected 2D framework of LTLTH. I introduce three domains for discovery of the self, other and community, intersected with the six dimensions of “awareness”, “right relations”, “sense of purpose”, “change in perspective”, “compassionate action” and “meaningful engagement”. I find that teachers leveraged a lived experience-based pedagogy, where LTLTH took place through experiential learning, a continuum of shared lived experiences and an ethos of harmonious living. I build upon UNESCO (2014) and Noddings’s (2002) pedagogical framework and present a six-component LTLTH teaching pedagogy framework comprising teaching philosophy, teachers living harmoniously, experiential learning practices, behavioural management strategies, teacher-student relations and content. Finally, I find that most of the teachers were intrinsically driven and committed to educating students for LTLTH and trying to do so for themselves. In addition, the school environments supported teachers’ capabilities by embodying an ethos of freedom, autonomy, harmony, community living and lifelong learning. The thesis offers a) theoretical contributions by developing novel conceptual frameworks for understanding both LTLTH and its associated teaching practices; b) empirical contributions by exploring teachers’ conceptions of the purposes of education, their classroom practices and school-level enablers that build teacher capability for LTLTH; and c) methodological contributions through the use of Southern epistemologies and integration of CST and HCA in exploring LTLTH.
Learning to live together, teacher perceptions, teaching learning processes, systemic influences, embedded case study, India
The project was financially supported by Cambridge Trust, SMUTS memorial fund, Education Faculty Fieldwork Grant, Mary Euphrasia Mosley, Sir Bartle Frere’s Memorial & Worts Travelling Scholars Fund and Robinson College.
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This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.64123
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