Jump to navigation
Revisiting the universal schoolhouse: Moffett's mythopoetic model for education
Hernandez, Shelley Breeden
Smith, Joseph A.Aitken, Stuart C.
Uncertainty in our country concerning the state of public education crosses the spectrum of geographical locations and spiritual orientations. Questions regarding how to better educate children today have prompted new ideas, but one historical proposal warrants reconsideration now. In his 1994 book, The Universal Schoolhouse: Spiritual Awakening Through Education, James Moffett addressed issues central to contemporary debates. He championed freedom of choice and decried curriculum censorship within the school system. He advocated for collaboration between citizens and institutions to achieve communal involvement and individual engagement in the educative process. And, he argued that meaningful inquiry and personal growth are vital for development of an evolved and enlightened society. This is what sets Moffett’s vision for education reform apart from other programs; educational reformation is situated within the context of societal transformation. With emphasis upon individuality, community, and spirituality, Moffett’s unique approach to teaching and learning reflected his singular approach to working and living. Coupled with a perspective of cosmological unity, James Moffett reconfigured the model for public education which redefined both its process and its purpose. Utilizing the concept of mythopoesis – myth-making narratives which highlight imaginal knowing – I find that Moffett’s ‘universal schoolhouse’ idea speaks to concerns in current discussion regarding schools and society. Moffett problem-solved through concrete, research rich knowledge and relied upon abstract, intuitively inspired interpretations which resonates with the mythopoetic. Therefore, mythopoesis is the hermeneutical key to understanding Moffett’s life, work, and vision, and for considering new approaches to education reform. Moffett and mythopoesis together provide a framework for modern-day narratives concerning educational processes and purposes. Training students for political and corporate utility which satisfies projected learning outcomes is a limited way to manage public education. Schooling citizens for individual and communal development that motivates meaning-seeking to make sense of the world holds unlimited possibility. Examining Moffett’s imaginal schoolhouse reveals that he looked beyond management and standardization and promoted interpretation and exploration. Acquainting ourselves with Moffett’s work and life helps us to look beyond assumptions about locality and spirituality to consider the transformational, the meaningful, and the universal as exemplified by Moffett’s mythopoetic model for education.
Liberal Arts And Sciences
Liberal Arts and Sciences
Arts and Letters
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2016
© 2015 SDSU Library & Information Access. All Rights Reserved.