Establishing the Educational Relevance of Spiritual Development Through Critical Historiography
Chapter Nine: A Discourse of Possibility
Chapter Nine A Discourse of Possibility The Purpose and Promise of Education IN my earlier explanation of how I use the term relevance in this research, I characterized relevance as a topic or idea that was germane to the context. Germane is an intentional word choice; its origins are the Latin germanus, which means genuine or having the same parents (Oxford Dictionary of English, 2010). Knowing its etymological origins led me to consider the parents of educa- tion, and I thought of the purpose of education. Relevance is connected to purpose, and so the absence of explicit consideration of the spiritual domain of human development could be related back to questions about the purpose of education in the United States. If the purpose of education is limited to the transmission of cer- tain knowledge or skills, I can see how the relevance of spiritual development might be called into question. As the findings and conclusions from this study show, spiritual development is con- ceived of as a process of inquiry: making personal meaning, being aware of interconnection, and exploring commitments to values and beliefs. The spiritual development processes are not consistent with an educational purpose focused on transmission of pre- determined knowledge and skills. While participation in religious traditions may involve transmission of doctrine as knowledge, in the (hi)stories of spiritual development and holistic education, spiritual development is not synonymous with religiosity. There- fore, in educational endeavors with the purpose of knowledge transmission only, spiritual development is not relevant....
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