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Review of 'Reconstructing 'Education' through Mindful Attention: Positioning the Mind at the Center of Curriculum and Pedagogy,' Oren Ergas

Lewin, David (2018) Review of 'Reconstructing 'Education' through Mindful Attention: Positioning the Mind at the Center of Curriculum and Pedagogy,' Oren Ergas. [Review]

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Abstract

This paper provides a review of Reconstructing ‘Education' through Mindful Attention: Positioning the Mind at the Center of Curriculum and Pedagogy by Oren Ergas. The review examines the central argument of the book, namely that present educational theory and practice avoids substantial self-inquiry, paying lip service to reflective practice but stopping short of any real encounter with the complex dynamics of the self. In Ergas’ bold inquiry, we are invited to attend and to see for ourselves by considering perspectives and practices rooted in contemplative traditions. The educational context becomes clear as attention to the self entails formation of the self. However, I argue that it is not clear why contemplative traditions (or mindful attention defined by the text) are best placed to engage in such formation. I suggest that a central problem with the book is the conflation here of education and socialisation, and that more systematic treatment of educational questions might obviate some of the troubling issues around the failures of what is called the inner curriculum.