Kinzel, Ria Miller
The use of an analytical model based on the sixteen elements of Nyaya in teaching English Literature with middle and high school students in consciousness-based education.

Order No. 3374436

This dissertation begins with an account of those principles and structures of consciousness presented by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi that are most pertinent to Consciousness-Based education, a system he developed with the primary goal of expanding the consciousness of students. A secondary but important goal is the achievement of excellence in the academic disciplines. Consciousness-Based education perceives pure consciousness as the ultimate reality, which may be experienced but not fully expressed in words. This renders doctrinaire definitions of ultimate truth suspect.

To integrate this perception of reality and these goals in the literature classroom, a critical-analytical approach is needed that recognizes both objective and subjective experience as essential to thought and understanding, and both heart and mind as essential elements of decision-making.

Nyaya, the Sanskrit text devoted to "distinguishing and deciding", expresses the Vedic science of reasoning which contains sixteen points by which to test the procedure of gaining knowledge. This dissertation presents, describes and demonstrates a model of critical-analytical thinking based on these sixteen points or elements. In this model, nine of the elements are essential to decision-making, and eight of them contribute specifically to obstructing one of the essential nine. The elements have a sequential relationship, first breaking-down preconceptions and then creating new perceptions and conclusions.

This model has been systematically tested in the analysis of literature and also to a lesser degree in social studies. Because it has a firm structure and sequence the model provides teachers with a "map" by which to direct classroom discussion towards a recognizable conclusion while allowing students freedom to explore what interests them. It provides structure, sequence and great flexibility. It focuses on the process of decision-making rather than on the product. It facilitates exploration of concepts and themes in depth. Because the model students are applying is a model of their own thought process, they find applying it meaningful and significant to their own lives. Weaker students find the structure to be a helpful organizer of their own writing. Strong students use the new understanding gained to generate their own questions and to integrate it in original ways.


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