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Spirituality and learning PowerPoint Presentation
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Spirituality and learning

Spirituality and learning

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Spirituality and learning

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  1. “All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there”.Jalal ad-Din Rumi

  2. “For wisdom is protection just as money is protection, but the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.” Ecclesiastes 7:12

  3. Spirituality and learning • How you attempt to answer the big questions depends on your worldview. • Everyone has a worldview, even if they think they haven’t got one. • Worldview and learning are fundamentally interconnected. • What kind of people do you want your students to be?

  4. Outline of the day Session 1: What is Spirituality Anyway? COFFEE BREAK Session 2: Creating a Culture LUNCH Session 3: Teaching Learning and Assessment

  5. Education of the whole person • 1988 Education Act (following 1944 Act) a balanced and broadly-based curriculum which – • Promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and of society; and • Prepares such pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.

  6. Schools White Paper ‘word cloud’ (DFE, 2010)

  7. The treasure that is our fellow human beings • We live in a society driven by a ‘liberal economic’ worldview. In Judeo-Christian tradition there exists a significant spiritual challenge to the assumption that we will only be secure if we have wealth • "Jesus said that where our treasure is, there our hearts will be. Our hearts will be in a very bad way if they are focused only on the state of our finances. They'll be healthy if they're capable of turning outwards - looking at the real treasure that is our fellow human beings“ (Archbishop of Canterbury, 2010).

  8. Separating the Spiritual from the Moral • "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.” Matthew 23:27 Acknowledgement: thanks to Mark Hamill who provided the following slides.

  9. Spiritual from Social • ‘It is easier to be a saint than to live with one.’

  10. Moral from Social


  12. Worldview Moral Socio-cultural Spiritual

  13. The spiritual, moral, social and cultural elements of pupils’ development are interrelated. Attempting to disaggregate them is helpful for the purpose of analysis and also inspection and school self-improvement. But it should not be forgotten that there is much overlap between them, not least in respect of spirituality and its links to pupils’ attitudes, morals, behaviour in society and cultural understanding. (p.8) Ofsted (2004)

  14. What is Moral Development? • Moral development is about the building, by pupils, of a framework of moral values which regulates their personal behaviour. It is also about the development of pupils’ understanding of society’s shared and agreed values. It is about understanding that there are issues where there is disagreement and it is also about understanding that society’s values change. Moral development is about gaining an understanding of the range of views and the reasons for the range. It is also about developing an opinion about the different views. (ibid, p.15)

  15. Ofsted’s Worldview Ofsted’s Definition Of Moral Development

  16. Ofsted’s Worldview • Elevates personal autonomy • ‘Objective’ • ‘Rational’ • Scientific • ‘Soulless’ • Secular (‘anti-religious’?)

  17. Traditional Theories of Moral Development • Durkheim: Moral Education • Piaget: The Moral Judgement of the Child • Kohlberg: Child Psychology and Childhood Education: a cognitive developmental view • From imposition to free acceptance • Moral Reasoning Not Moral Behaviour

  18. The Current State of Research • What do we mean by spirituality or spiritual impact? – there is little agreement • Diversity of research paradigms and views of knowledge • Home and School effect – we don’t know how they interact • Focus on standards drives research

  19. Mapping The Field • 1. Pupils at church maintained schools and independent Christian ethos schools have a more positive attitude to religion and spiritual health • 2. Pupils achieve more highly and make better progress – this is not entirely accounted for by pupil selection • 3. Religious affiliation predicts individual behaviour and positive attitude towards religion

  20. Sample of Studies • Erricker, C. (2007) Children’s spirituality and postmodern faith. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 12, (1), pp.51-60 • Fisher, J.W. (2008) Impacting teachers’ and students’ spiritual well-being. Journal of Beliefs & Values, 29, (3), pp.253-261 • Hyde, B. (2008) Weaving the threads of meaning: A characteristic of children’s spirituality and its implications for Religious Education. British Journal of Religious Education, 30, (3), pp.235-245

  21. ‘spirituality, values and distinctiveness are difficult concepts for schools and headteachers to grapple with.’ (Mapping the field, p.13)

  22. Questions • Is spirituality a public or private matter? • Can it/should it be measured? • What is the relationship between spiritual health and quality of education? • Does promoting spiritual health in education offer a fruitful arena for faith/non-faith consensus?

  23. Awe and Wonder? Creating a Culture...

  24. Who owns the mission? Who is the guardian of the mission and the purpose and the ethos?

  25. Reservoirs of Hope‘spirituality is a lived faith’

  26. Spiritual Moral Social Cultural

  27. Two Ways of Knowing • “Indeed to know is a thing that pleaseth Talkers and Boasters; but to do, is that which pleaseth God. Not that the heart can be good without knowledge; for without that the heart is nought: There is therefore knowledge and knowledge. Knowledge that resteth in the bare speculation of things, and knowledge that is accompanied with the grace of faith and love, which puts a man upon doing even the will of God from the heart” John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress

  28. Learners As Spiritual Beings • “not a block of wood from which you can carve a statue,” but rather “a living image, shaping, misshaping and reshaping itself” (Comenius, 1953, p. 24).

  29. Teachers & Learners are spiritual beings • “Human beings appear in the classroom as teachers, as learners and as the characters who inhabit teaching materials of various kinds – story books, images in wall displays...An implicit or explicit set of beliefs concerning the human beings who appear in these roles must therefore be a significant part of any approach to teaching.” (Smith, D, 2000, p. 62) • (Smith, D. (2000) Spirituality and teaching methods. In R. Best (Ed.) Education for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development, London: Continuum, pp. 52-67)

  30. Four windows onto spirituality • Spiritual capacities • Spiritual experiences • Spiritual understanding • Spiritual responses

  31. Spiritual Capacities • human abilities which make us the kind of creatures which are capable of spiritual growth Such As: • Self-awareness and reflection upon our experiences and circumstances; • Empathy; • Reflecting upon the moral dimension of our existence; • Making free and responsible choices in awareness of their consequences and implications; • Reflecting on the meaning of our lives; • Gaining a coherent sense of identity and purpose; and • Exercising imagination and creativity and appreciating beauty.

  32. Spiritual Experience • A slightly different approach focuses on spiritual experiences it suggests that students should be made aware that spiritual experiences are quite common in the population at large, and that such experiences have beneficial effects. Examples include: • curiosity and mystery; • awe and wonder; • connection and belonging; • heightened self awareness; • prayer and worship; • deep feelings associated with what is felt to be ultimately important; and • a sense of security, well-being and purposefulness

  33. Spiritual Understanding • Spirituality involves understanding as well as abilities and experiences. Understanding means equipping students with the tools to relate their abilities and experiences to broader frameworks of beliefs; this is often regarded as the job of the RE teacher. But in any part of the curriculum where we are encountering some human endeavour, from our use of technology to our artistic achievements, it is relevant to ask how our beliefs and commitments come into play.   • In a maths lesson, students are working with percentages and fractions in relation to money. Instead of making calculations in relation to purchases, however; the theme is giving. Pupils calculate the value of a gift relative to the overall amount of income of the giver; and learn about the practices of making charitable covenants and of tithing. They go on to study how the money of a major charity is allocated to different projects, focusing on the difficult decisions involved in allocating finite resources. (From Charis Mathematics Units 1 – 9

  34. Spiritual Responses • “The difference between spiritual growth and its absence becomes visible in actions.” (Smith, 1999) • How will I deal with my own weaknesses, fears and hurts? • What or whom will I trust? • How will I invest my time and energy? • What priorities will I set? • What is of highest value, or worth sacrificing for? • What will give my life purpose and meaning?

  35. What does this mean for the curriculum? • Can we trust science and technology to give us a good future? • Is the truth of a work of literature less important than a mathematical truth? • What commitments motivated this artist or historical figure and how am I like her or unlike her? • How will I relate to those from other cultures or who speak other languages? • What purpose does music have? • Does learning to handle money involve giving as well as saving and spending? (Smith, 1999)

  36. What does this mean for pedagogy? • What kind of relationships are being promoted in the learning context? • What messages are being communicated to the learner about what is worthwhile and has value? • What messages are being communicated to the learner about their own significance?

  37. What does this mean for assessment? • What are we measuring? • Is assessment critically aligned? • What messages do modes of assessment communicate to the learner? • Does success or significance underpin assessment strategies? • What messages do current models of whole school assessment communicate to the members of that community?

  38. In Summary • Worldview, spirituality and learning are fundamentally connected because all teachers and learners are spiritual beings. • Spirituality is not irrational, it is relational, it is part of how we know and how we act/enact belief. • Curriculum, pedagogy and assessment ALL communicate spiritual messages – the question is are these messages aligned with the spiritual development we would want to promote?