THE INSTITUTE FOR EMBODIED LEARNING

2013

2014

The Institute for Embodied Learning was a project I created during my time at Creighton University, which was sponsored by the Center for Academic Excellence and Assessment and was grounded, described and analyzed in ethnographic form as my Master's Thesis for Composition and Rhetoric. Below you will find the abstract for the project and here is a link to the thesis, should you want to read 97 pages on the subject:

"Because Minds Can't Sit in Classrooms Without Bodies: Making Use of the Enneagram as a Tool for Embodied Education."

"Paulo Friere said, 'Authentic reflection considers neither abstract man nor the world without people, but people in their relations with the world.' If education is to be authentically reflective, it must subvert the objectivist paradigm in which students are only passive receptacles for information. In the current moment, information is easily accessible and the classroom can feel less and less relevant, but if true knowledge only emerges from relationships, the community of the classroom is still an important place. By utilizing the Enneagram as a tool for self-reflection, The Institute for Embodied Learning was an attempt to empower students by providing new language to reflect on relationships within their education—relationships to their classmates, to their professors, to their major, and to information itself. By emphasizing the reality of multiple and diverse subjectivities, many students were able to recognize in a new way their own role as active participants in their learning process.

 

Grounding the Institute in the feminist and Jesuit traditions, and providing case studies to explore the benefits of this experiment, this paper aims to show that educational embodiment, with its emphasis on forging unique relationships between the self and all that exists outside the self, is a liberating force. Instead of being passive recipients of information, by empowering students to consider themselves as whole persons, active in the creation and ordering of knowledge, they were able to connect, invest, and act in new ways as they encountered themselves and their education from an emerging perspective, a perspective that is uniquely and unequivocally, their own."

I deeply believe that this kind of course, implemented at the university-level as part of the core curriculum, could transform the way students engage with the learning process and their vocational discernment, augment the depth and specificity of the work students produce, and facilitate meaningful conversations university-wide about the possibilities and responsibilities of ascertaining truth .

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