Education and the Art of Living
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Today’s societies are characterised by a host of opportunities and challenges. The pace of life is quicker than ever before, and the changes and developments in societies, science and technology come about faster every day. One of the major challenges for human beings is to make a myriad of choices on a daily basis, which will define their place in society, in life and in the world altogether. To make prudent and sensible decisions is, therefore, one of the key competencies for a successful and good life.
This study revisits the idea of an education focused on the personal development and well-being of human beings instead of economic growth. Drawing on philosophical ideas about the good life -- especially Schmid’s art of living concept Lebenskunst -- and recent research in positive psychology, an argument is made for a shift of focus in education and schooling towards a good life and an art of living for today's students. Possible implications of this change of focus for educational practice are discussed, including suggestions for curricula and school subjects, the structure of schools and learning environments, teaching methods, and teacher training.
The original contributions to knowledge in this study are: a critique of Schmid's concept from an educational point of view; a comparison of positive psychology research and philosophical concepts of the art of living with a focus on Schmid's work; the development of an educational approach to the art of living, including a discussion of schooling in relation to the art of living; and consequent first steps towards the development of an education for life concept.