Education About Asia: Online Archives

Practically Speaking: Teaching Hindu Traditions

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Many of us who teach Hinduism find ourselves presented with thorny issues when we examine our own pedagogical practices. Because we think that teachers should prepare students to live intelligently in what has become, increasingly, a globally conceived world, we must be clear about conceptualizing ways of teaching the diversity within Hindu traditions. In particular, we cannot teach brahmanical texts as the essence of Hindu tradition. Nor can we let ourselves slip into presenting the development of Hinduism as a unitary narrative. Teaching about the diversity of religious belief and practice within Hindu traditions turns out to be a task that can push us to the limits of our intellectual flexibility and pedagogical resourcefulness. Nonetheless, articulating the ways in which Hindu traditions encompass multiple strands helps to prepare our students for the complexity they find in Hindu communities, both in South Asia and abroad.