Cultivating Creativity and Self-Reflective Thinking through Dialogic Teacher Education

US-China Education Review 2 (2):237 – 249 (2012)
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A new program of teacher training in a dialogical spirit in order to prepare them towards working in the field of philosophy with children combines cultivating creativity and self-reflective thinking had been operated as a part of cooperation between the academia and the education system in Israel. This article describes the program that is a part of their practice towards co-operation between academia and schools as a part of PDS (Professional Development Schools) partnership. The program fosters creativity and self-reflective thinking in schools and teacher training, and offers dialogical methods through the philosophy of Martin Buber, Emanuel Levinas and Paulo Freire. The program encourages adopting principles proposed by Martin Buber (1947, 1957, 1959), who perceived education as a dialogue among people whose humanity is fully manifested in its reciprocity. This is an unequivocal stance, maintaining that neither skillful technique nor exciting contents can replace the experience of the spontaneous, authentic concrete presence of the educator’s personality. The dialogic dimension of the program draws its significance from the principle of responsibility, as expressed by Emanuel Levinas (2003). It is based on the idea that the human being, as a speaking subject, does not place himself/herself in the center, but turns to the other. This committed attitude of the other must be expressed in education action, in clothing the naked and feeding the hungry as expressed by Paulo Freire (1973). These principles implemented in teacher education and teacher training requires active listening, a capacity to be response-able to environment in which teachers are situated and it seeks to uncover assumptions, reflect on concepts in use and assist the new teacher to be involve on a philosophical inquiry, as well as situating self-understanding in the context of philosophy of education.
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