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Interrogating (Hi)stories

Establishing the Educational Relevance of Spiritual Development Through Critical Historiography


Audrey Lingley

In Interrogating (Hi)stories, Audrey Lingley uses a critical constructivist perspective to problematize the absence of the spiritual dimension of human growth from pedagogical models that emphasize responsiveness to developmental psychology. The book investigates this conspicuous absence through critical historiographical research; it is a critical interrogation of the tacit understandings that guide education in general and middle grades reform in particular. The author offers practical, classroom-based implications and culturally respectful language for educators who believe spirituality is a legitimate aspect of human growth and learning in a public school setting.


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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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