‘How do primary school teachers understand and express their spirituality in the workplace?’ an interpretative phenomenological analysis of professional educators’ spiritual expression in primary schools

Gillespie, Aidan (2017) ‘How do primary school teachers understand and express their spirituality in the workplace?’ an interpretative phenomenological analysis of professional educators’ spiritual expression in primary schools. Ed.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to uncover and illuminate aspects of spirituality, which may be present in the work of primary school teachers. Four themes emerged out the analysis and were coded using the methodology consistent with an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The themes were:

● Spirituality as an aspect of identity formation and understanding.
● Relationships as central to understanding and formation.
● Teaching and learning as a shared encounter through mentoring.
● Spirituality as a contextual resource.

IPA was chosen as a methodology as it places the participant as central to and expert in their lived experience whilst acknowledging the ways in which the researcher impacts on the interpretative process. Drawing on phenomenology whilst adopting a systematic process of analysis, the material uncovered ways in which spirituality can be used a resource in the professional encounter.

The implications for this study points towards a new definition of spirituality that encompasses ‘moments of profundity and connection with other that leads to change’. This is particularly important in relation to the teachers in this study and could be of value to others in the education profession. Seeing one’s spirituality as a source of wisdom and as a contextual resource has allowed the participants to make connections with their colleagues and pupils that draw heavily on their spirituality in order to make sense of and bring change to situations and relationships. These instances are profound in nature for each individual but has brought about change in the situation, relationship or way of teaching and relating to one’s environment. As such the definition of spirituality in this study both encompasses established understanding of what it means to be spiritual but places this in the educational environment and profession.

It is hoped that the findings of this study lead to an awareness of the way in which one’s spirituality can be drawn upon as a positive agential resource will be acknowledged in teacher education programmes and school-based teaching.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
Divisions: Faculty of Education > School of Teacher Education and Development
Depositing User: Miss Rosemary Cox
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2018 15:10
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2018 18:45
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/17437

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