A confessional postmodern approach to philosophy of education: towards narrative possibilities for educational praxis
Research Problem: How can a confessional and narrative approach make a contribution towards the advance of philosophy of education in a postmodern age? Research aims: The main aim of this thesis was to demonstrate the viability of a (Christian) confessional and narrative philosophy of education in a postmodern age by situating the approach (a) historically, (b) existentially and in connection to (c) educational praxis. Research methodology: As a result of opting for a prescriptive framework in the study of postmodernity and its implications for a (Christian) confessional and narrative approach to philosophy of education, theorization was pursued by means of a trajectory that sought authentic personal dialogue with selected philosophical sources in light of contemporary dilemmas related to postmodernity and educational praxis. Primary findings: Postmodern critique of rationality offers a promising avenue for philosophy of education. A confessional and narrative approach avoids ideological totalitarianism as well as religious relativism. A confessional and narrative approach translates into creating a culture of honest, committed participation and authentic dialogue when applied by teacher-educators in their individual and cultural formative role. A confessional and narrative philosophy of education does not legitimate itself by an appeal to universal, scientific reason. Instead, it proclaims a narrative vision that appeals to honest, committed participation and authentic dialogue for the sake of unity in diversity in individual and cultural formation. In order to arrive at this conclusion, a configuration has been created, which can be understood as follows in terms of an exploratory trajectory: After justifying the viability of the proposed approach historically in chapter two, by exploring the postmodern narrative identity, a symbolic point of entry was sought in order to locate the proposed approach to philosophy of education existentially. Chapter three explored the drama of human existence in terms of the archetype of the pilgrim and the narrative landscape which represents human existence as a journey to a Promised Land. The worldview of the pilgrim provided important foundations for dealing with postmodern problems of otherness and difference in chapter four in light of, inter alia, the Apartheid ideology and other divisive tendencies. The biblical narrative of Being Human was presented as a vision for a future, unified post-post-Apartheid South Africa. The explorations of divisive ideological tendencies in chapter four led to the assumption that an overemphasis of group identity at the cost of individual responsibility is a major problem for education in its role of contributing towards individual and cultural formation by guiding individuals to explore their full potential and become responsible individuals. Subsequently, the narrative schematism presented in chapter five offered an alternative to the (nihilistic) postmodern overemphasis of group identity by appealing to traditionally codified patterns of human experience and behaviour from the Christian symbolic network; to help understanding and authentic interaction with the world from a narrative perspective, which accounts for the individual's power of action in a manner that allows human beings to remain open to the future without disconnecting from the past and/or tradition. After taking many detours to provide historical and existential justifications for the proposed approach to philosophy of education, thereby constantly establishing the link to philosophy of education and educational praxis, chapter six presented guidelines for a confessional and narrative educational praxis in terms of a more detailed account on suggested narrative exercises and their practical significance for individual and cultural formation.
- Education