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Appealing to the soul: towards a Judeo-Christian theory of learning

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Beginning with the recognition that every learning theory rests on particular assumptions about the nature and capacities of the learners, this study provides an examination of the implicit premises upon which several of the more prominent learning theories – behaviourism, cognitivism, situated learning, and social cognitivism – have been built. Even as each theory is found to propose a slightly distinct conceptualization of human nature, none are found to accommodate acknowledgement of the role of the soul, the spiritual dimension, in determining individuals’ ability to learn. Expanding on Habermas’s and Mezirow’s ideas of learning domains as popularized by Cranton (1994), this paper shows that ultimately, the learning transaction hinges upon the phenomena of perceptions, and perceptions are realized through the realms of physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual input. This reconceptualization of learning to include the soul as a key determinant concludes with a concrete explanation of how acknowledgement of humans’ spiritual dimension holds significant potential for enhancing teaching-learning situations.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2000

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