They draw us on and energize us, give us courage and will to take on important initiatives. Negative images of the future also have a magnetism.
In fact, I found during my years of teaching that most of my students were both curious about and eager to discuss these subjects—a bit of a conundrum when schools generally consider these to be taboo subjects.
Interestingly, however, scientists are beginning to find that just like cognitive, physical, and emotional development, spirituality may also be a universal developmental process—which, given that teaching is informed by child development, raises the question: Can spirituality play a role in secular education?
Advertisement X A three-course professional certificate series that teaches you the what, why, and how of increasing happiness at work. Before I go any further, though, I want to fully acknowledge how divisive and tricky the topic of spirituality in education can be for very legitimate reasons.
That is why I am approaching the subject through a scientific lens. In general, however, spirituality is viewed as beliefs, practices, and experiences that shape and create a way of knowing and living that may or may not be informed by religious ritual, tradition, and doctrine. A person often inherits religion, but makes the conscious choice to practice spirituality by seeking answers about the self, universe, and meaning of life.
While numerous scientists propose that spirituality is a developmental process, they disagree on how the process occurs. Others think spiritual development occurs in stages as we integrate our beliefs with our feelings and actions.
To determine if there is a universal developmental process of spirituality, the Search Institute —led at the time by Peter Bensonan expert in positive youth development —collaborated with scientists from around the world to study the spiritual and religious beliefs and practices of young people.
The Search Institute took their definition of spirituality from a paper published in by the journal Applied Developmental Science: Spiritual development is the process of growing the intrinsic human capacity for self-transcendence, in which the self is embedded in something greater than itself, including the sacred.
It is shaped both within and outside of religious traditions, beliefs, and practices. The sample represented a broad range of educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, and every major religion as well as Paganism, Sikhism, Native or Traditional Spirituality, atheism, agnosticism, other religions, and those who did not identify as religious.
What they found strongly suggests that a spiritual development process exists that transcends the boundaries of culture and religion and that does not necessarily require engagement in religious practices.
For example, approximately 64 percent of the sample indicated that they were actively pursuing spiritual development without strong adherence to a religious path—with more than half stating that they had grown in their spiritual identity in the last two years.
Their main means for spiritual growth included creating positive relationships through prosocial kind, helpful beliefs and actions, discovering meaning in life, practicing mindfulness, and aligning values with actions. Findings also suggested that the majority of young people would welcome the opportunity to explore the topic of spirituality in a safe, caring, and non-judgmental setting.
What does this mean for teaching? Many consider the sole purpose of schools to be cognitive development.
So here comes the tricky question: If spirituality is indeed a universal developmental process, how do teachers account for this process in their classroom where separation of church and state is paramount?
Interestingly, many teachers are probably already doing it—without even realizing it.
If we use the definition of spiritual development given above, then teachers who… provide experiences of awe for their students through art, music, nature, or studying great people are helping their students connect to something larger than themselves.
How to talk about spirituality with students But what about the finding that says young people are deeply interested in discussing spirituality? A more formal example is the Passageworks program developed by the late Rachael Kessler.
Passageworks helps teachers establish a classroom environment in which students feel safe to explore these needs. Spirituality in education is a potentially contentious area, and yet recent scientific findings on spiritual development encourage us, at the very minimum, to ask the question: Do we need to pay attention to this?
Perhaps it is apropos of the topic that there are no definitive answers—only big questions. Greater Good wants to know: Do you think this article will influence your opinions or behavior?Find out what a spiritual psychologist does and how to become one including post graduate credentialing, master's and doctoral level tracks and professional resources.
Psychology Education Topics. What they do and how to become one. Spiritual psychologists infuse spirituality into their research and/ or clinical practice. They may. Spirituality means something different to everyone. For some, it's about participating in organized religion: going to a church, synagogue, mosque, and so on.
For others, spirituality is a non. professional dialogues, exposure) on religion and spirituality into school psychology curricula, and the need for professional development on religion and spirituality in the future for .
For example, The Virtues Project is a values education program that has made humankind's spirituality, as defined in the world's religious scriptures, central to its curriculum. When individuals combine understandings derived from science, philosophy and religion with their personal experiences and intuitions they will have a more complete.
The Case for Discussing Spirituality in Schools and in-depth interviews. The sample represented a broad range of educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, and every major religion as well as Paganism, Sikhism, Native or Traditional Spirituality, atheism, agnosticism, other religions, and those who did not identify as religious.
The spiritual psychology program normally includes courses on human growth and development, the evolution of the self, human relationships, self-counseling techniques, and personal fulfillment.