Establishing the Educational Relevance of Spiritual Development Through Critical Historiography
Chapter One: Critical ConstructivistResearch in Education
Chapter One Critical Constructivist Research in Education Perceiving the Politics of Spirituality in Education THE historical exclusion of the spiritual dimension of learning and human growth from dominant pedagogy in many Western, State- sponsored educational systems is rooted in the maintenance of po- litical, economic, and social worldviews that allow for the continued oppression of marginalized populations. A pedagogy that renders spirituality and spiritual growth as irrelevant to the learning process requires that both teachers and students culti- vate images of Self and Other as fragmented, therefore facilitating the self-suppression of compassion, wonder, tolerance for ambigu- ity, and a sense of interconnection. Oppressive political systems depend upon participants who are not aware of each other’s essen- tial humanity. An education that explicitly addresses student (and teacher) spirituality is not as much an ethical issue, therefore, as it is a political one. My purpose in the research described in this text is to articu- late the educational relevance of the spiritual development of middle grades students as a curriculum and instruction issue as a counter-narrative to the secularization of public school education in the United States. Relevance implies legitimacy; in this re- search, I establish a clear understanding about the legitimacy of addressing student spiritual development in the context of public schooling. Advocates of middle grades reform in the United States argue that curriculum and instruction—as well as leadership, or- ganization, and community relationships—should be informed by knowledge of the developmental characteristics of 10- to 15-year- olds within physical,...
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