Spiritual journeys in the classroom: elementary public school teachers' perspectives /
Bower, Jennifer Lynn.
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This thesis explored 5 public elementary school teachers ' perceptions of spirituality and its implications for classroom practice. A generic qualitative study was conducted where each teacher shared her experiences and perceptions in one audiotaped semistructured interview. Transcripts were generated and coded for themes which emerged, resulting in the findings of the study. Following this process, the participants verified the accuracy of the transcripts and findings through a member-checking system. The research found that each teacher has her own definition of spirituality. Furthermore, one's personal connection with spirituality can involve a relationship with religion, the self, a higher being, others, and nature. These spiritual relationships were nurtured through a variety of methods outlined by the teachers. This resulted in the creation of a personal spiritual profile for each teacher which contained each teacher's spiritual connections or facets and the methods used to develop these facets. The teachers identified spiritual needs in their students warranting the need for and importance of spiritual education. Given this, a number of classroom practices were identified with the intention of meeting the spiritual needs of students. Among these practices, the teacher as role model was identified as a significant practice for students' spiritual development in the classroom. The teachers further outlined a number of professional development initiatives with the intention to promote greater awareness for spiritual education and to provide resources for educators.