Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD, Director; Lance E. Nelson, PhD; Edward Kujawa Jr., PhD


children & youth, elementary schools, Hindu Gurus, interpretive analysis, pedagogical methods, qualitative, religion, Self-Awareness Teaching Model, teaching methods


The purpose of this study was to explore the pedagogical methods of Hindu gurus that could be applicable to elementary school teaching for the inner development of students. With severe cutbacks to classroom instruction and demands by economic, political, and educational leaders for education to produce a highly skilled work force for the future of the economy, teachers are forced to use precision teaching for measurable learning. The review of the literature in this study presented a historiography of Western pedagogical methods. It showed how Western teaching methods have been defined by the seventeenth-century Newtonian objectivistic-reductionistic-mechanistic paradigm and later enforced by Comte's positivistic ideology for education. Teaching continues to use this paradigm for both academic achievement and to solve the different problems that students face today. The perpetuation of these old teaching dogmas and practices means that teachers are unable to address the human dimension and the subjective needs of their students. The study followed a qualitative inquiry design that used an analytic research methodology. It involved a library search for document sources on four Hindu gurus: three males, Ramakrishna (1836–1886), Ramana Maharshi (1879–1950), and Yogananda (1893—1952); and one female, Anandamayi (1896–1982). Interpretive analysis was utilized for the data collected. The data indicated that Hindu gurus used two distinct pedagogies: direct and indirect teaching methods. Based on many years of spiritual discipline and their direct and total experiences with God—the Ultimate Reality, Hindu gurus used a variety of techniques within these two methods to teach learners how to also experience God. The direct pedagogies were face-to-face instructional methods that used specific techniques such as analogies, illustrations, stories, puns, parables, games, songs, rites, rituals, and ceremonies. The indirect methods were subtle, silent methods that communicated spiritual advancement, such as the gurus' look, gaze, touch, and presence. The gurus believed that by experiencing God, learners would develop Godly qualities and also act from a moral and ethical perspective. A fundamental aspect of teaching and education is to recognize the needs of the whole child. This cannot be done in the absence of the spiritual dimension. Any new leadership vision for teaching is one that must include a shift to a new epistemology of science and a new ontology of wholeness. A Self-Awareness Teaching (SAT) Model was developed to provide preliminary steps for teaching toward the recognition and development of the inner self of students and teachers. .

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access