Morrison, G. J. (2009). Good teaching, spirituality and the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. Australian Ejournal of Theology, 14 (1), 1-14.
The essay aims to show that nurturing a spirituality of good teaching could provide a more committed and responsible attitude towards education. Spirituality speaks of relationships, the search for meaning and, in Levinasian terms, having a heart for another. Students demand that teachers should be many things such as passionate, engaging, intelligent, fun, challenging, fair and creative. The more we can develop meaning and a spirituality in teaching, the more we may meet these demands and also attend to the students’ enthusiasm, frustration, uncertainty, impatience, fears and dreams. Part I of the essay will explore some Levinasian-inspired ways how spirituality might coincide with good teaching. From raising the question, “What makes a good teacher?”, the essay will touch upon Levinas’ ideas of otherness, encounter and passivity as a means to develop the notion of transcendental knowledge and the ethical qualities of good teaching. Part II studies the connection between lecturing and Levinas’ philosophy by way of examining misconceptions of encountering students from another culture and of developing an ethical spirituality as a response.
Peer-reviewed, Good Teaching, Emmanuel Levinas, spirituality, relationships, ethics, culture