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Teacher as an anonymous moral agent of universal good: discussion on the role of teacher in the short story ‘The Morning Clouds’ by Yasunari Kawabata

Author:

Mahesh Hapugoda

Department of Languages, Faculty of Social Sciences & Languages, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Belihuloya., LK
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Abstract

This paper investigates the philosophical applicability of the Kantian notion of teacher to interpret the short story, The Morning Clouds by Yasunari Kawabata. Though the role of teacher has broadly been discussed in various pedagogical contexts, in a postmodern time like today the teacher’s role as a moral guide is often discouraged and his/her intervention is reduced to a facilitator, while his/her existence is often believed to be duplicated by a computer. However, the teacher is still treated as an entity of reference and role model, because s/he is believed to be capable of transmitting the message of ‘universal good’ and implanting moral values in students; the future of any society. A moral agent as ‘a rational and free being who is capable of acting with reference to right and wrong’ is perceived through the social role of a teacher who guides students to a final moral destination. Such action must be based on a ‘priori’, a Kantian social essential created in the human mind for universal good, as an act of faith for the preservation of ultimate human values. Teacher as a personal identity may be of little importance as far as a ‘priori’ functions as a signifier in students’ minds, but the teacher’s obligation to the moral entity and exemplification seems the most important aspect since students, especially when they grow into adulthood, take him/herself as a role model. Therefore, as a teacher, one should place him/herself beyond personal interests because of the unconditional and universal responsibility towards ‘the other’ (his/her pupils). In this respect, this paper examines how the teacher in the short story, The Morning Clouds, sets a unique example as to how a teacher should act before students as an idealised moral guide, and attempts to justify the legitimacy of teacher as a universal moral guide who could design the destiny of future generation.
How to Cite: Hapugoda, M., (2016). Teacher as an anonymous moral agent of universal good: discussion on the role of teacher in the short story ‘The Morning Clouds’ by Yasunari Kawabata. Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences. 38(2), pp.79–94. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljss.v38i2.7393
Published on 20 Jul 2016.
Peer Reviewed

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