Christian Perspectives in Education, Winter 2013
IntroductionI made a recent presentation regarding my latest mixed-methods research into the intersection of spirituality and education to an audience of Christian K-12 educators. One attendee asked if I didn't feel it dangerous to introduce spiritual concepts to students without also simultaneously proselytizing. Now, in a private Christian education setting, I'm inclined to agree. But placing such a blanket restriction would leave public school educators with literatlly no means to discuss such topics in the classroom. When I taught in public schools, I interjected as much spiritually themed concepts as possible (without even using the term spirituality to my students). We discussed moral and character education, how we internally know the difference between right and wrong, our sense of self-identity, how we discover our purpose in life. I engaged my students in activities that allowed for communal and self-expression and that gave them outlets to connect with and serve others. In an environment where I could not proselytize, I felt that planting these "spiritual" seeds would perhaps one day allow God to see to the increase. If we view spirituality as a component of the traditional view of holistic education (that we should educate students' minds, bodies, AND spirits) throwing out any discussion of spirituality where we cannot simultaneously proselytize is tantamount to giving up on providing physical and nutrition education. Just because some students will grow up to be Christians and others will not, does not remove the obligation from seeing to our students' spiritual development, just as the fact that some students will grow up to be professional athletes while others grow up to be couch-potatoes does not mean we abdicate our responsibility to see to our students' physical education. Do what you can, where you are, to improve your students' spiritual and religious literacy. At the very least, even in places where you can't share your specific faith, you will be equipping your students to make informed decisions in these areas later in life.
The Need for Redemptive Discipline in the Christian School
Chris P. Taylor
Faith: A New Component within Differentiated Instruction
Maude S. Yacapsin
Moral Turbulence and the Infusion of Multimodal Character Education Strategies in American Elementary Schools
Mark A. Lamport, Ph.D. and Kristi L. Cobb, M.A.