Initial Primary Teacher Education Students and Spirituality

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [University of Newcastle (Australia)]On: 06 October 2014, At: 01:09Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>International Journal of Children'sSpiritualityPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:</p><p>Initial Primary Teacher EducationStudents and SpiritualityGeoff Rogers &amp; Doug HillPublished online: 21 Jul 2010.</p><p>To cite this article: Geoff Rogers &amp; Doug Hill (2002) Initial Primary Teacher EducationStudents and Spirituality, International Journal of Children's Spirituality, 7:3, 273-289, DOI:10.1080/1364436022000023194</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information(the Content) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor&amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warrantieswhatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of theContent. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions andviews of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. Theaccuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should be independentlyverified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liablefor any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages,and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectlyin connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes.Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expresslyforbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>International Journal of Childrens SpiritualityVol. 7, No. 3, 2002</p><p>Initial Primary Teacher EducationStudents and SpiritualityGEOFF ROGERSSchool of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, Queensland University ofTechnology, Kelvin Grove, Qld. 4059, Australia. E-Mail:</p><p>DOUG HILLSchool of Education, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, N.S.W. 2650,Australia. E-Mail: dm</p><p>ABSTRACT In recent years there has begun to be a resurgence of interest in educating thewhole child in response to an over emphasis on basic skills teaching. In the study reportedin this article, initial primary teacher education students at a regional Australian universitywere asked to explore and discuss their beliefs about the notion of spirituality. A survey wasone of the instruments used and the responses obtained were placed into one of ve categoriesor dimensions of spirituality. These included spirituality and self (re ection); religion;nature (environment/universe); relationships; and major life events (birth/marriage/death).Each of these categories are discussed in relation to a similar study conducted in the UnitedKingdom. Some implications for teacher educators and their initial primary teachereducation students are discussed. These implications are able to help both groups worktowards a more spiritually sensitive curriculum which seeks to recognise spiritual develop-ment as integral and central for providing a holistic education for all children.</p><p>Introduction</p><p>In recent years many Australian educators have become disenchanted with a primaryschool curriculum that focuses on relatively narrow outcomes. This dissatisfactionhas resulted in a movement towards a more liberal approach to curriculum that goesbeyond basic skills and concepts and seeks to help children make sense of the worldaround them. Such an approach involves helping children to answer their ownquestions, explore interconnections and consider values and spiritual issues.If teachers are to employ such an approach in their classrooms then they need an</p><p>appropriate background. This is particularly important in the area of spiritualitywhich has only gradually begun to be recognised as an identi ed aspect of curricu-lum by most Australian states in the last few years.</p><p>ISSN 1364-436X print; 1469-8455 online/02/030273-17 2002 Taylor &amp; Francis LtdDOI: 10.1080/1364436022000023194</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f N</p><p>ewca</p><p>stle</p><p> (A</p><p>ustr</p><p>alia</p><p>)] a</p><p>t 01:</p><p>10 0</p><p>6 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>274 G. Rogers &amp; D. Hill</p><p>The study reported in this article had three main purposes. It sought to:</p><p>1. investigate the understanding of trainee student teachers notions of spirituality;2. explore ways in which a spiritual dimension could be incorporated across the key</p><p>learning areas of the primary curriculum; and3. identify cognate implications for the professional development of teacher educa-</p><p>tors and their trainee student teachers.</p><p>Literature Review</p><p>This review has as its prime focus some of the literature that directly relates to thepurposes of the study. It does not purport to re ect the current diversity of views onspirituality and its place in the curriculum or to comprehensively cover both childand adult development.Australian society appears to have reduced the focus on community and responsi-</p><p>bility for others to a major concentration on the individual by seeking to maximiseoutcomes for ones self. Making money, career advancement and material posses-sions seem to be a few of the obvious motivators for behaviour in our current society(Hard, 1999). Rarely is attention given to an education that includes an emphasis onthe whole childs social, emotional, physical and spiritual development (Miller,2000). Lewis (2000) cites Cromptons (1992) ancient Hindu view that our bodiescan be considered to be a four roomed house in which each of the rooms representsour physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects of who we are. Thisanalogy suggests that the spiritual dimension is equally important in the overallhealth and well-being of adults and children.In contrast to Australia, United Kingdom governments seem to have shown a</p><p>greater willingness to give some attention to childrens spiritual development duringtheir schooling (Halstead, 1999; Kendall, 1999). For example, British legislationrequires that the compulsory OFSTED school inspections include some attention tochildrens spiritual development (SCAA, 1996).Miller (2000) even contends that in the last few years there has been an increased</p><p>interest in spirituality and that there is a new awakening to a sense of the sacred andto the interconnectedness of life. In Australia, for example, the word spirituality isfrequently being used in the media in a variety of contexts that are not justassociated with religions. This can range from New Age alternative subculturesthrough to the widely accepted and used term of Aboriginal Spirituality. An ongoingdebate on spirituality has been reported in a variety of Australian journals concernedwith religion and religious education (for example, see Hill, 2000).Before attempting to de ne spirituality, it is helpful to rst explore what is meant</p><p>by the terms culture, beliefs and belief system. Brief comments will be made about eachof these concepts as each is closely linked to notions of spirituality. An appreciationand understanding of these terms will assist the discussion that follows where theauthors attempt to offer some insights into what they understand by the termspirituality.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f N</p><p>ewca</p><p>stle</p><p> (A</p><p>ustr</p><p>alia</p><p>)] a</p><p>t 01:</p><p>10 0</p><p>6 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>Students and Spirituality 275</p><p>Culture</p><p>In everyday terms culture refers to a way of life and includes such aspects aslanguage, traditions, customs, religion, and technologies. The essential feature ofany culture is that it allows people to make sense of life by providing a system ofshared meanings. These shared meanings are what we have in common and whatbinds us together as a nation. Teachers thus need to understand the nature of theprevailing culture and its common ideas, values and beliefs and recognise that forindividuals this involves multiple personal and social meanings, relationships, prac-tices and values (Kalantzis and Cope, 2000). This can be a very demanding task ina society which has a diversity of cultures.Language is a key element in cultural identity, as the passage below reveals.</p><p> language is the primary means by which people build up the sharedunderstanding that makes a culture reality analysis [of language] canreveal much about the way people conceive of their lives and their experi-ences. People usually have words for the things that are most important forthem. Classroom activity is a cultural activity. In modern Western societyit is the main context in which the younger generation undergoes itsapprenticeship for participation in our culture. What teachers see as thestandards and norms of their culture in uences what they teach and howthey teach it. (Shopen, 1993, p. 1)</p><p>For the above reasons it would seem important to include a spiritual dimension tothe curriculum.Our beliefs are in uenced by our development. Donaldson (1996) tried to</p><p>integrate both affective and cognitive aspects into a mode of processing model ofdevelopment which is appropriate for considering human growth in an holistic way.Essentially her position is that individuals need to develop a range of ways fordealing with the complexity of lived experience. Each of these modes contributes tothe development of a fuller understanding and appreciation of the world around us.She described four modes of functioning:</p><p> point modewhere the locus of concern is here and now. line modewhere the concern is with speci c events recalled from the past oranticipated in the future.</p><p> construct modewhere the concern has shifted from the speci c to the general. transcendent modein which concern is no longer with things and happenings inspace-time at all. (p. 329)</p><p>The nal mode seems similar to the later stages in many models of adult develop-ment (for example, see Kegan, 1994), as does her notion of control of the repertoire.She describes the latter as the development of the skill that enables us to determinefrom moment to moment how to use the mental capacities we possess. Beliefs maydiffer according to the modes of processing available at the critical time of theirdevelopment. This explains why some of an individuals beliefs may not be inkeeping with the rest of his or her thinking.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f N</p><p>ewca</p><p>stle</p><p> (A</p><p>ustr</p><p>alia</p><p>)] a</p><p>t 01:</p><p>10 0</p><p>6 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>276 G. Rogers &amp; D. Hill</p><p>Beliefs</p><p>Beliefs are among the most important personal constructs or schema (Spencer andRossmanith, 1997). They are relatively stable convictions about the truth or realityof something. For example, most Australian Aboriginals see themselves as part ofthe land where they were born and therefore perceive that what threatens it threatensthem. It appears in many cases that such beliefs:</p><p> are implicit or unconscious; have evolved slowly over time as part of the process of making sense of the worldand form an important part of a culture;</p><p> are not always been subject to critical examination; are often based on insuf cient evidence to establish certainty; are accepted on faith; differ in the ease with which they may be changed.</p><p>Slavin (2000) has argued that individuals behave as if the beliefs they have con-structed of themselves, and the socio-cultural environment around them, constitutereality and behave accordingly.</p><p>Belief Systems</p><p>Our belief systems involve both declarative and procedural knowledge. Just how thebelief system develops and operates is somewhat less clear. Long (2000) argues thatour experiences get analysed, categorised and generalised and represented in seman-tic memory. For example, a persons experiences of individual Christmases becomegeneralised so that a few days after a particular Christmas, the speci c events are stillfresh in memory, but a few years later all Christmases can seem much the same andare represented in long term memory as a single schema. Long goes on to claim thatsuch knowledge of meaning becomes integrated into procedural knowledge whichguides behaviour at Christmas time. The nature of the schema depends on our levelof development at the time and the modes of processing used. Once a Christmasschema has become part of procedural knowledge this knowledge functions in a wayas if the conditions associated with Christmas exist, then that individual proceeds tofeel or act in certain predictable ways.</p><p>Spirituality</p><p>At this stage it may be fruitful to consider what is meant by the term spirituality. Aswith any complex concept, spirituality means different things to each individual.There are numerous de nitions of spirituality and the task of trying to sift throughthem all is potentially a challenging task. Ashley (2000) has suggested that it mightbe useful to classify them into kingdoms in a similar way scientists have done forliving things. He maintained that spirituality can be divided into humanistic/secularand the divine/supernatural kingdoms in which life in the fullest sense of the wordwould be the unifying characteristic.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f N</p><p>ewca</p><p>stle</p><p> (A</p><p>ustr</p><p>alia</p><p>)] a</p><p>t 01:</p><p>10 0</p><p>6 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>Students and Spirituality 277</p><p>It has been argued from an holistic viewpoint that spirituality should not beconsidered to be a separate category, but rather a characteristic of all phenomena(Lewis, 2000). Such a conceptualisation considers spirituality in education as beingprimarily concerned with the cultivation of the heart and mind. Such an approachneeds to be utilised in all areas of learning.In an Australian study (Fisher, 1999), the views of 98 teachers were sought to</p><p>formulate a de nition of what constitutes spiritual health. According to Fisher,spirituality can be considered to involve four sets of relationships. These fourrelationships are of a person with themselves; others; the environment; and with a higherorder. Fisher went on to describe spiritual well-being as being a dynamic state ofbeing in which people live in harmony within their relationships in these fourdomains which he also referred to as:</p><p> Personalwherein one intra-relates with oneself with regards to meaning, purposeand values in life. The human spirit creates self-awareness, relating to self-esteemand identity.</p><p> Communalas expressed in the quality and depth of interpersonal relationships,between self and others, relating to morality, culture and religion. This includeslove, justice, hope and faith in humanity...</p></li></ul>


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