Christian Education and the Ethics of Authenticity
A qualitative study was undertaken to explore the concept of authenticity in Christian education. The study was situated in the context of Christian schools in Ontario. Some of these schools have experienced declining enrolment and all of these schools face the challenge of being distinctive in a secular culture. To investigate the potential of the concept of authenticity for reclaiming the vision of Christian education, interviews were conducted with 3 experienced principals of Christian schools. Data analysis yielded an emergent conceptual framework of authenticity consisting of 5 concepts: authorship, relatedness, reflection, autonomy, and excellence. Authenticity was found to be a useful tool for school analysis of both the deep structures and the surface structures within Christian schools. To offset unauthentic tendencies that can arise within these schools, this study calls for an intentional use of the lens of authenticity to expose these tendencies and revitalize core expectations. Through the narratives shared by the Christian school principals, the study also develops a picture of the role of authentic Christian education in the development of the authentic Christian person.