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Locating non-western enlightenment texts for a global curriculum
journal contributionposted on 2006-03-01, 00:00 authored by Richard Johnson
The context of this paper is a university-based teacher education course in Melbourne, Australia. The assumption underpinning the course is that it is crucial for trainee teachers to examine the lenses they typically use in terms of common-sense understandings of children and adolescents. We point to the 18th century Western enlightenment period as the source of this thinking. I argue that it is important to be aware of other enlightenments that have shaped the traditions of students in our multicultural mix. In this paper, I explore the writings of the Mahabharata and other early Indian texts to see how they have also influenced ways of thinking about childhood and adolescence. Data for this paper have been drawn from course materials, student responses, translations of early Indian texts and popular stories depicting childhood and adolescence.