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Promoting Children's Spiritual Development in Education: A Review of The Literature and The Exploration of Teachers' Attitudes.

McCreery, Elaine. (2000) Promoting Children's Spiritual Development in Education: A Review of The Literature and The Exploration of Teachers' Attitudes. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

This thesis contains a study of the part teachers play in children’s spiritual development. All schools are required to contribute to such development by law. However, the notion of spiritual development is complex and few guidelines have been offered to teachers to help them in this area. While much has been written about children’s spiritual development, very little attention has been given to the views and attitudes of teachers. This study examines the views of 162 teachers about the spiritual through interview and questionnaire. The thesis begins with a review of literature relating to the place of the spiritual within education and one specific context in which it is to take place: the primary school. The empirical work includes data collected through interviews (and questionnaires) with twenty-seven teachers in five first schools. What emerged from these was a picture of teachers who were sensitive to their role in providing for children’s spiritual development, but who seemed to have little support or guidance in how to go about it. A key feature was the apparent lack of a shared understanding of the term ‘spiritual development’ and a wariness that it involved commitment to a particular religious tradition. Nevertheless, the teachers were able to identify where they believed the spiritual appeared in their work with children. Some of the patterns which emerged from the interviews were then developed into a questionnaire to reach a wider teacher population. Data from 132 questionnaire respondents was used to reflect upon the interview data and the literature outlined earlier. It was found that some of the features, issues and concerns which emerged from the interviews were shared by this wider group of teachers. However, there were also some differences and an attempt is made to establish possible explanations. As part of this, the identification of four teacher ‘types’ is made to describe teachers’ attitudes towards the spiritual in education. The thesis concludes with some reflections on the implications of the study, focusing particularly on the needs of teachers. Among these are suggestions for continued dialogue relating to the nature of the spiritual within formal education and greater reflection on what it means to take this area of the curriculum seriously.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : McCreery, Elaine.
Date : 2000
Additional Information : Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 2000.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 06 May 2020 13:07
Last Modified : 06 May 2020 13:13
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/855955

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