Teacher as Healer: Animating the ‘Ecological Self’ Through Holistic, Engaged Pedagogy

  • Michael A. GordonEmail author


This chapter examines the potential for educators to model what Arne Naess called the ‘ecological self’ and Abraham Maslow the ‘transpersonal self’ through experiential and holistic learning. With a global education trend favouring a shift toward physical sciences, technical skill acquisition, and standardized assessment—one that mirrors neoliberal capitalism in economic and social policy, and thus disparages the value of the humanities subjects as lacking in inherent ‘utility’—the author looks at the philosophical, psychosociological, and phenomenological implications of a holistic model of education. This approach emphasizes a pedagogy from a worldview of interdependence, diversity, and intersubjectivity for learners and educators. This chapter presents the view that enhancing mutual self-reflection for teachers and learners is conducive to humane, safe, and inclusive pedagogical practices and spaces, and that this holistic approach aligns with a worldview that is non-dualistic, transhuman in orientation and leads to outcomes based on empathy, altruism, and wholeness or ‘healing.’


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Simon Fraser UniversityVancouverCanada

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