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Loneliness and Solitude in Education

How to Value Individuality and Create an Enstatic School

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Julian Stern

Analysing loneliness and solitude in schools and exploring how to deal with them is a vital task. In recent research for the author’s Spirit of the School project, a number of pupils, teachers and headteachers described times when they felt lonely and times when they felt the need for healthy solitude. The causes of loneliness are numerous and its consequences have a significant unrecognised impact on education. How do schools deal with people when they are lonely, and how can they overcome loneliness? How can they create opportunities for healthy solitude, a welcome alternative to loneliness? Schools can sometimes try to include people by being intensely social, but end up making them feel even more excluded. A school that teaches solitude well and helps individuals deal with loneliness can be called an ‘enstatic’ school: a school in which people are comfortable within themselves. The objective of this book – the first comprehensive study of the subject – is to help us all understand loneliness and solitude and thereby to reinvigorate debates on personal, character and values education.
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About the author

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Julian Stern is Professor of Education and Religion and Dean of Education and Theology at York St John University. Previously, he was a school teacher for fourteen years and employed at various universities for sixteen years. He has published eleven books and numerous articles, including The Spirit of the School (2009), Getting the B--- to Do Their Homework (second edition, 2009), Schools and Religions: Imagining the Real (2007) and Teaching Religious Education: Researchers in the Classroom (2006).

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