Developing Intrapersonal Synergy though Dialogue and Expressive Writing: Implications for Education and Living

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Nina Greenwald


My thesis is based on the teachings of ancient philosophers Socrates and Plato: “A life unexamined is a life not worth living” and “Know thyself.” To that point, education and communication are the foundation of my synthesis project. Both of these topics are central to living but the extent to which they influence our development, their importance, is often taken for granted. Specifically, education without learning who you really are (and want to become) is less effective than it could be. Likewise, communication with others that is not representative of your true self is less effective than it could be – one must make space in one’s life for self-reflection (or intrapersonal communication). In the spirit of critical and creative thinking, I want to promote the marriage of acquiring knowledge/skills with acquiring personal insight/reflective practice. My thesis includes two projects which have a symbiotic relationship – both will evolve as I, myself become and continue to be a reflective practitioner and agent of change. The first project is a memoir I have written to describe my metamorphosis from a hard-of-hearing survivor of a traumatic childhood to a confident, articulate teacher with a mission. My purpose in sharing the details of my story, Alive With Exuberance! is meant to demonstrate reflective practice, metacognition, dialogue and expressive writing - tools I have used in my becoming. My story illustrates the common themes one encounters in the struggle to define the self, establish an autonomous identity and find one’s purpose. These themes are topics in my course proposal, the second part of my thesis. The focus of my course proposal is developing intrapersonal synergy to maximize personal, academic and career potential. My concept of Intrapersonal Synergy is not necessarily a new idea, but a combination of theories by educators Paulo Friere, Myles Horton and Viktor E. Frankl. In addition to these theorists, the course as I propose it here is interdisciplinary, drawing from the domains of psychology, philosophy, education, communication, sociology and writing. The course teaches the practice of Intrapersonal Synergy, the art of becoming a reflective practitioner to define one’s purpose and change one’s world – it means listening to the voice inside of you, knowing who you are: past, present and future and using that self-knowledge to make deliberate choices. The course is about defining yourself, your values, opinions and beliefs and making choices that are in alignment with your true authentic self. It is a continuous interactive process achieved by introspection, expressive writing and engaging in dialogue with classmates. The target audience I wish to initially teach this course to is non-traditional students, older adults who are beginning college for the first time. However, the course has broad implications for a much wider audience and can change education as we know it. As an agent of change, I envision teaching the topic of “knowing thyself” or the practice of intrapersonal synergy as a formal academic course. The course proposal as I have outlined here is a work in progress and one which I plan to begin teaching this summer. Though my experience in the Critical and Creative Thinking Program, I have found out who I am and I am going to do it on purpose.


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