Is Bildung possible in the classroom? Autobiographical writing as philosophical exercise (askēsis) for developing one’s Bildung

Jeong Hee Kim, Jennifer A. Morrison, Elaine Ramzinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The development of self is an important part of formal education, and related to the notion of self is the development of Bildung, or cultivation of the self. Bildung has been an integral part of curriculum theory in the United States. However, despite many theoretical debates on Bildung in the literature, there seems to be a lack of the pragmatic use of Bildung at the classroom level. Hence, the purpose of this article is to explore how classroom teachers or teacher educators can foster and nourish their students’ Bildung at the classroom level. This study examines the Bildung processes of two doctoral students based on their autobiographical essays to show their effort of developing themselves. Foucault’s notion of askēsis has been used as a theoretical framework, which is a philosophical exercise that includes three forms of reflexivity: Memory, Meditation and Method. Based on the findings, we make the following implications for curriculum studies and teacher education: 1) Bildung needs to be guided, nourished, and fostered through formal education by teachers in the classroom, which then becomes a “habitat,” an environment in which both teachers and students dwell as Bildung-centered teachers and students, 2) Bildung needs to be practiced as askēsis by students and teachers as an act of care through classroom activities, 3) Bildung-centered teachers do have autonomy, agency, and independence to create such activities for their students, in which the process of Bildung can be carried out.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-262
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2 2019

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