Conceptual Research in Theoretical Studies: Intersections of Human Education and Curriculum

Michael Cornell


This paper examines Daisaku Ikeda’s perspective and practice of ningen kyoiku, or “human education.” Ikeda and the Soka tradition of education informing his perspective and practice have gained increasing purchase in the field of Curriculum Studies (Goulah & Ito, 2012; He, Schultz, & Schubert, 2015). Here, Cornell applies peace education pioneer Betty Reardon’s (2017) approach to understanding the alternative mode of thinking present in Ikeda’s philosophy and practice of peace to his philosophy and practice of human education. For Reardon, these modes include “values, i.e., moral and ethical principles and standards; concerns, i.e., problems that violate the values; proposals, i.e., ideas for overcoming or resolving the problems; actions, i.e., steps to implement the proposals; and consequences, i.e., potential outcomes of the actions” (Reardon, 2017, n.p.).


Building off this framework, Goulah (2019) identifies a sixth mode of thinking, Buddhist philosophy, and indicates that Ikeda incorporates Buddhist philosophy to shed light on the problems and challenges he discusses. Cornell argues that these six modes of thinking present in Ikeda’s perspective on human education indicate his fundamental intent of outlining a vision in which human becoming, or what he calls “human revolution,” should be the central focus of all human endeavor and a central principle of Curriculum Studies. Salient to the field of Curriculum Studies, Schubert (2009) asks, “What is worth knowing, needing, experiencing, doing, being, becoming, sharing, contributing, and wondering?” (p. 22). Cornell concludes that the intersection of these questions in relation to human revolution and human becoming in education lead to the need for teacher agency in schools as learning cultures of human becoming.


Human Education, Human Becoming Ikeda, Ningen Kyoiku

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JCT: Journal of Curriculum Theorizing is an interdisciplinary journal of curriculum studies. It offers an academic forum for scholarly discussions of curriculum. Historically aligned with the "reconceptualist" movement in curriculum theorizing and oriented toward informing and affecting classroom practice, JCT presents compelling pieces within forms that challenge disciplinary, genre, and textual boundaries.

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