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Perceptions of Spirituality and Spiritual Development in Education held by Teachers and Students on Teacher Training Courses

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posted on 2022-10-14, 10:40 authored by Martin Rawle

 Current   legislation   requires   schools   in   England   and   Wales   to   promote   the   spiritual   development  of  their  pupils.    The  non-statutory  guidance  provided  by  various  bodies  has  resulted in broad and inclusive definitions of the ‘spiritual’ and ‘spiritual development’ which combines  both  the  religious  and  the  secular  and  applies  to  all  areas  of  the  curriculum  and  school life. The world of academia has responded to this quasi-official guidance with varying degrees  of  approval  to  downright  hostility,  exposing  the  pretence  that  all  agree  with  the  current definitions and guidance. This thesis examines, by means of a cross-sectional survey, using qualitative and quantitative data gathered by means of questionnaire and interview, the perceptions  of  a  sample  of  student  teachers  (428)  on  teacher  training  courses  and  qualified  teachers   (76)   of   the   meanings   of   'spirituality',   'spiritual   experience'   and   'spiritual   development'.      Although  different  viewpoints  emerge,  some  underlying  themes  can  be  discerned.  'Spirituality' is conceived as the acquisition of a set of principles to guide everyday living,  which  may  be  derived  from  a  religion,  from  a  personal  philosophy  or  from  beliefs  concerning  morality,  relationships  with  others,  and  an  increased  awareness  of  life  and  the  world.  The 'spiritual development' of pupils is seen to imply their freedom to search for and decide  the  principles  they  will  adopt.      The  views  of  respondents  on  the  extent  to  which  'spiritual  development'  should  form  part  of  the  teacher's  role  are  also  reported,  and  it  is  suggested that current terminology associated with ‘spirituality’ be replaced with terms which students and teachers can more readily understand.  



  • School of Education and Social Policy

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Publication year


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