Illuminating the place of personal values and Christian beliefs in teaching sensitive and controversial issues in personal social health education (PSHE) in South East England: a life history approach

O'Connor, P. (2017) Illuminating the place of personal values and Christian beliefs in teaching sensitive and controversial issues in personal social health education (PSHE) in South East England: a life history approach. Ed.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Abstract

Christian teachers of Personal social health education (PSHE) can be conflicted when confronted with sensitive and controversial issues in their professional practice. Concerns include unprofessional conduct, exercising undue influence of their personal values and beliefs on students and being untrue to their faith. These can lead to uncertainty in negotiating areas of conscience and controversy.

This life history study situated within the south east of England was used to illuminate the complexities which abound when operating within a wider milieu of perceived marginalisation of the Christian faith through advancing secularisation and liberalism. These tensions are reflected in the curriculum, policy frameworks and legal documents and have implications for teachers’ personal values, Christian faith and professional practice. Semi-structured questionnaires were administered to 13 PSHE teachers and analysed for emergent themes, borrowing language from thematic, ethical and theological analysis.

The research illuminates insights into a wider context of faith in professional life. It demonstrates the way teachers are in transition in these conflicts, yet understanding faith as a holistic quality. Findings show that the approaches that teachers adopt to the interpretation and application of faith in personal life influence how faith is integrated professionally. The conflicts confronted, reflect responses of resilience, compliance and rebellion, while some teachers remain unchanged in their positions.

Analysis of the data suggested that discreetly integrating faith in practice is a coping strategy some teachers employ. My study suggests that silence can be a price to pay for faith, balancing courageous restraint with conflicting compromises and professional hypocrisy. The research captures teachers in transition located in professional practice obligations, ethical and theological positions as they negotiate and navigate the place of their Christian faith and personal values with students’ rights, freedoms and autonomy.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
L Education
Divisions: Faculty of Education > School of Teacher Education and Development
Depositing User: Miss Rosemary Cox
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2018 09:41
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2018 10:30
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/17416

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00