The first chapter, Transdisciplinary Pedagogy and Learning is written by our invited guest author Dr. Sue L. T. McGregor, an internationally recognized researcher on globalization. In 2012 the Board of Governors of the Academy of Transdisciplinary Learning and Advanced Studies named Dr. McGregor an ATLAS Fellow in recognition of her outstanding transdisciplinary achievements (promoting transdisciplinarity for the benefit of humanity) and in 2011 she was named Marjorie M. Brown Distinguished Professor (Kappa Omicron Nu) in recognition of the use of critical social theory in scholarship and research and for continuing to critically analyze concepts central to the field and calling for dialogue toward acceptance by the profession. McGregor contends that because the forces of globalization from the top down and the bottom up are changing the world at a phenomenal pace, we need to ask “How should we go about educating students so they can thrive in a globalized world?” They will be expected to deal with complex issues that transcend local, regional and national boundaries: poverty, climate change, pandemics, economic disparities and crises, environmental degradation, migration and population growth. This chapter proposes the idea of transeducation, and draws from the literature on transdisciplinary learning, learning approaches, mind habits, and pedagogy, as well as the new idea of transdisciplines. The intent is to elaborate on the idea of transdisciplinary-informed educational pedagogy, drawing specifically on Basarab Nicolescu’s transdisciplinary methodology. His approach can be used to prepare citizens who are keen to cross and go beyond an assortment of boundaries to solve the wicked, complex problems facing humanity. The resultant deep education addresses the depth and urgency of the current state of the world, which requires a deep transformation of humans and of human society to ensure a sustainable future. Transdisciplinary-informed education helps prepare lifelong learners predisposed to work together to create intense knowledge that is alive, complex and deep, just like the problems facing humanity.
Hamilton and Collister’s chapter, The Context of Teaching, Meaningful Work, and Engagement in Direct Knowledge of the World addresses the ‘changes in the culture of teaching’ and the ‘changing role of teacher educators’ that have emerged, and are emerging, as the teaching and learning relationship embraces the digital age. They also explore the need for change in teacher education and professional development in higher education in what they describe as a liminal space, a space on the cusp of the old, and the new.
Noel’s research in Teaching in a Digital Age centres on the dramatic shift in the teacher’s role from being the ‘sole repository of knowledge’ to the ‘guide on the side’ and more recently, that of collaborator. This chapter explores this shift and how it impacts on the method of instruction, the target group to whom the instruction is geared, and the impact it has on peers and parents. The writer also considers that male learners, who are more predisposed to digital technology than more traditional learning approaches, can be motivated to learn by the use of computer-aided instruction, and this could narrow the literacy divide. In her final thoughts, Noel questions whether policymakers in education have kept abreast of cur- rent trends and have created the space and support for their practitioners to function competently in this digital age.
Dean’s chapter, Teachers Reaching Lives and Not Just Merely Passing on Information explores how both graduate students in an education class and an instructor respond to the questions: Why and how do I teach? What is my relationship to knowledge? And how has writing autobiographically affected me as a teacher? Autobiography is employed as a way to look beneath the surface of professional lives and offers teachers a path to a deeper sense of self and identity; it becomes a critical, self-reflective tool for teachers to examine their own subject positions, to identify possible biases embedded in their thinking and to reveal their assumptions about schooling and learning. Autobiogra- phy enables teachers to identify and to separate from conditioned patterns of thinking and institutional constraints as they begin to “reach lives and not merely pass on information.”
Recognizing the importance of autobiography, Barchuk and Harkins interview Dr. Fatuma Chege, the first female Dean of Education at Kenyatta University which has the largest Education Department in Kenya. We discuss her educational journey as a young teacher, in a male dominated profession, to becom- ing an internationally prominent educator and researcher. Through her stories you will learn about the role of “tea politics” in her profession, how she empowers children through her research, and how she brings about teacher reflection and change through the writing of diaries.
Through her powerful, innovative writing style Carter, in her chapter, Imagination: Hope for a Severed Curriculum employs the metaphor of “phantom pains” as it applies to the state of the severed curriculum in Canadian schools. After tracing the possible reasons for issues such as school violence, student boredom, and so forth and then delineating the history of particular curriculum theories; this paper proposes that we must begin anew to create a flourishing school community/society. Kant’s concepts of the transcendental imagination (Einbildungskraft) and between lands (Zwischenland) as well as the significance of emotion in relation to educational endeavors are discussed as possible ways to begin a process of self-understanding that will then lead to self-mobilization.
In the final chapter entitled Meditative Education: A Proposal for the Existential Renewal of Teacher Education in the 21st Century, Kumar, drawing upon the profound insights of James Macdonald and Jiddu Krishnamurti conceptualizes a vision of a meditative education for the existential renewal of teacher edu- cation and school education in the 21st century.The core purpose of a meditative education is to encourage teacher educators, pre-service and in-service teachers, and their students to understand and transform their consciousness. A meditative education emphasizes the arts of listening and seeing to have a deeper perception into one’s consciousness and one’s relationships. It encourages the cultivation of the qualities of openness, aesthetics, and freedom in educational process. Viewed from a meditative perspective, education no more remains a problem of information transmission or means-end learning. On the contrary, it emerg- es as a space of freedom where the main focus of educational experience is to learn about oneself and one’s relationships to people, nature, and ideas.