Atmosphere in Education: Tagore and the Phenomenology of Spheres

Main Article Content

Christine Kupfer

Abstract

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1940), Asia’s first Nobel laureate, was convinced that nothing influences children’s education and upbringing more than the ‘atmosphere’ in which they grow up. He argues that children learn many things by absorbing them unconsciously. In the experimental schools he founded in India, he shifted the focus from the teaching content to creating the conditions that help intensifying children’s connection with the world. The creative and aesthetic potentialities of ‘atmosphere’ are vital in all forms of education. Tagore’s notion of atmosphere is currently gaining new specificity thanks to a range of philosophical reconceptualizations of atmosphere. In this paper, I will compare Tagore’s philosophy of ‘atmosphere’ with concepts that are more commonly used in education today, such as ‘ethos’ and ‘climate’. I will then take the concept forward by comparing it with Sloterdijk’s spherologies and thereby adding a new dimension to his conceptualization of spherology. By comparing Tagore’s ‘atmosphere’ with concepts and ideas of philosophers and social scientists, we will get a better grasp on its importance and scope.

Article Details

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Author Biography

Christine Kupfer, Edinburgh Napier University

Christine Kupfer is Research Fellow at the Scottish Centre of Tagore Studies at Edinburgh Napier University. She is the Managing Editor of Gitanjali and Beyond.

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