An Existential Perspective on the Concept of Inspirational Teaching


  • Boaz Tsabar Hebrew University and David Yellin College of education


Existentialist and dialogical approaches lay special emphasis on the educator's personality in the educational process. This stance holds that inspirational educators have no less of an impact, and perhaps even more of one, by virtue of their personality and humanity than by virtue of their teaching or philosophy.  Accordingly, educational practice in a deeper sense rests more upon identification and inspiration than any other foundation. This insight suggests that education's impact may not be primarily rational and intellectual in essence but rather emotional and existential. However, underlining the centrality of the educator's personality in the pedagogical process raises a challenge, because contrary to the accepted wisdom regarding the criteria that define "good teaching," nailing down the cluster of personality traits that inspirational educators should possess turns out to be a rather elusive task. Thus, we are faced with a complex situation: on the one hand, the educator's personality is acknowledged as a key component in their evolution into a figure of influence and inspiration, while on the other hand, its ambiguous, singular, and dynamic nature frustrates conceptualization, not to mention impartment. This article examines the dialectical complexity of the educator's personality whilst attempting to establish the argument that educators' capacity to express their authentic self in the school setting serves as a threshold not only to enhancing their impact and potential to become inspirational teachers, but also to achieving a sense of personal meaning in their work.

Author Biography

Boaz Tsabar, Hebrew University and David Yellin College of education

Head of education studies.





Peer Reviewed Articles