Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Yesterday I attended an event with the Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism at St. Mary's College in Moraga. It was a panel presentation on Hinduism, with a speaker from Hindu American Foundation and a Professor of the college who teaches on Hinduism and yogic philosophy. Prayerful chanting and breathing exercises were worked in to the presentation. A student asked why Hinduism was taught in such a different way during her World Religions course in high school. Barbara McGraw named problems with scholarship on Indian history and Hinduism, much of it having been drawn from British colonizers. My feeling is that there is a different element also, in that this presentation at St. Mary's was interactive, teaching about Hinduism with spiritual practices students could attempt. While I don't know the particular student's classroom experience, a public high school teacher may have taught strictly with lecture and discussion and not included yogic practices. Decisions to do so are pedagogical and also influenced by teachers' feelings about the public school system and its boundaries.

-Michelle Mueller

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