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December 2021

Spiritual education as the cultivation of qualities of the heart and mind. A reply to Blake and Carr

Journal/Book: Oxford Rev Educ. 2000; 26: Rankine Rd, Basingstoke Rg24 8Pr, Hants, England. Carfax Publishing. 263-283.

Abstract: Recent thinking on the possibilities of a spiritual education in a modern secular state are reviewed and found wanting. The methodology used in such discussion is typified as reductionist, in that the concept of spirituality is held in opposition to other concepts, rather than being seen to pervade all phenomena. The view of the various correspondents on the nature of the notion of the education of the whole child is held to be mistaken. An alternative conception is offered, stemming from an holistic viewpoint. This conception sees spiritual education as being involved with the cultivation of qualities of the heart and mind. These qualities are nurtured through spiritual practice, and are not the domain of only a few selected areas of the curriculum, but can be utilised in effective education in all areas of learning. It is suggested that the main points of the argument could be accepted even if a term other than 'spiritual' were used to denote this area of human experience. Support for this position is taken from existing spiritual traditions, and also from recent work in the area of cognitive psychology. The education of spiritual sensibility is held to be an aim of education for all people, and is critical for any conception of good educational practice.

Note: Editorial Lewis J, Univ Plymouth, Fac Arts & Educ, Rolle Sch Educ, Exmouth EX8 2AT, ENGLAND


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