Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice
Reflecting on my past two unsettling journeys of teaching in China and America produces questions about the teaching of truth in chapter one. The question of truth as it relates to the teacher’s role in the classroom raises not only issues of what and how we should teach, but challenges the very purpose of teaching. When I explored Martin Heidegger’s phenomenological perspective on (un)truth for insights into taken-for-granted assumptions about education and the purposes of teaching and learning, I noticed a strong resonance between his notion of “clearing” and the essential spirit of Taoism, “the Tao of inaction.” This led me to coin the word, “en-teaching” to express my idea of how teachers can teach through paradoxically non-teaching, without implying a binary opposition between teaching and non-teaching. In reviewing selected literature critical of the “teaching-as-telling” in America and China, I suggest in chapter two that the traditional direct teaching of truth has been entrenched in the public school systems in both countries as not only a teaching method but an implicit educational culture. The essence of this “teaching-as-telling” in both countries is the same – the will to control. What alternatives might there be to the method of teaching-as-telling? How can we teach otherwise? Or can we? Since I struggle with the question of truth related to teaching and this question “assumes the greatest urgency in Heidegger’s thought” (Sallis, 20), chapter three focuses on Heidegger’s complex explorations of (un)truth in clearings between brightness and darkness along with his concept of “let learn” through “always-being-in-the-world.” In chapter four, I go further to explore my notion of en-teaching based upon Heidegger’s thoughts of teaching and learning with insights from Lao Tzu and Dewey. In the last chapter, I try to not only reflect upon all previous chapters but respond to the practical question, “What does en-teaching mean to me as I face my class on Monday morning?”
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Yu, Jie, "Reflections on en-teaching: Dewey, Heidegger and Lao Tzu" (2012). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 712.