The Complex Reasons for Missing Spirituality. A Response to "Democratic Foundations for Spiritually Responsive Pedagogy

Democracy and Education, May 2017

This article is written in response to Lingley’s (2016) concept of spiritually responsive pedagogy. To begin with, the word spiritual, when applied to education, still attracts varied responses. Therefore, I have begun by examining contemporary understandings of spirituality as reflected in current research and literature, which provides an informed context for my response. I follow up by aligning some of the key features noted by Lingley in democratic education and spiritually responsive pedagogy to other perspectives that deal with the spiritual dimension in education; I do this in order to offer a supportive stance to Lingley’s assertion that, if we are to address the real needs of our students today and prepare them to meet the challenges of the world of tomorrow, we must incorporate spiritually responsive pedagogy into educational policy and practice.

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The Complex Reasons for Missing Spirituality. A Response to "Democratic Foundations for Spiritually Responsive Pedagogy

Article 6. Available at: http:// democracyeducationjournal.org/home/vol24/iss2/6 This article is written in response to Lingley's (2016) concept of spiritually responsive pedagogy. To begin with, the worspdi ritual, when applied to education, still attracts varied responses. Therefore, I have begun by examining contemporary understandings of spirituality as reflected in current research and literature, which provides an informed context for my response. I follow up by aligning some of the key features noted by Lingley in democratic education and spiritually res-ponsive peda gogy to other perspectives that deal with the spiritual dimension in education; I do this in order to offer a supportive stance to Lingley's assertion that, if we are to address the real needs of our students today and prepare them to meet the challenges of the world of tomorrow, we must inc-orporate spiri tually responsive pedagogy into educational policy and practice. - hen I was asked if I would respond to Traditional and Contemporary Audrey Lingley’s (2016) article discussingPerspectives on Human Spirituality spiritually responsive pedagogy, I was botFhrom the late 1990s, networks of educators and researchers have interested and intrigued to discover just how she understoogdraonwdn across the globe who have been grappling with the proble conveyed the concept and how it might inform my own and of incorporating a spiritual dimension into educational program others’ work in addressing the spiritual dimension in educati (oen.g.., Best, 1996; de Souza, Engebretson, Durka, Jackson, & As Lingley noted, spirituality is perceived as a complex conceMptcGrady, 2006) . One fundamental issue has been generated by that usually attracts an array of responses in academia, botthhe question: How is spirituality understood in contemporary positive and negative in terms of how it is being deciphered, and whether or not it has a place in education. Accordingly, I have structured this article into two sections. The first providesDar. Marian de Souza is an honorary associate professor, summary of some contemporary understandings of spiritualitFyeidneration University, Australia, and an honorary fellow, order to provide a context for Lingley’s definition and my Australian Catholic University, who has spent over 20 years response. The second part examines the proposed concept of investigating contemporary understandings of children and spiritually responsive pedagogy and responds directly to theyoung people’s spirituality and the corresponding implications questions raised by Lingley. for education. She has over 75 research publications in this field. times and how is it translated and reflected in everyday life?In other words, it is the experiential dimension of religiously acti This is followed by the question: Does spirituality have a placleiviens. Additionally, there is much emphasis on interiority so that education? Lingley (2016) has noted the complications arisingone’s inner journey is seen as more important, and sometimes it from the first question and offered various interpretations frboemcomes distanced from the individual’s outer, existential life. relevant literature to argue that spirituality does have a plUalcteimately, transcendence and mysticism from a traditional within democratic education. perspective is Gocde-ntred. My own response to the first question is to acknowledge that This traditional perspective of spirituality, I believe, has there are distinct problems related to how the concept -of spirietlueavlance to Dewey’s notion of religiousness that Lingley (2016) ity is being understood in both wider and/or more specific used to begin her theorizing. Dewey’s theory of democratic applications. I believe this can be attributed to the different education dates from the earlier years of the last century at a ti perspectives that stem from the religious, secular, and culturwahlen spirituality in the Western world was often conflated with diversity that may be found among the players and theorists inretlhigeion. Dewey distinguished between religion and religiousness spirituality dialogue and research. Further, the lack of effect(iDvewey, 1986, ch. 1), whereby he identified experience as distinct language in the Western world to capture this particular dimfreonmsiorneligious belief. At the time of his writings, Christianity still of human experience and expression plays a significant role in played an influential role in the lives of many people living in creating obscurity rather than transparency. Western societies so that an effort to untangle spirituality from In the twenty or more years that I have been engaged in religion was a challenging prospect. It is only at the end of the 20 research into young people’s spirituality and the implicationscfeonrtury, when the power of institutionalized religions declined, education, I have been both fascinated and frustrated by the that spirituality was more clearly identified as distinct from ongoing discourse that continues to emphasize and passively religiosity, thereby leading to contemporary perspectiv-es. There accept the ambiguous nature of spirituality despite the fact thfoarte, while Dewey appeared to be alluding to the spiritual in his such uncertainty does impact on the credibility of associatedtreatise on democratic education, we need to note that given the research. In general, it has been a common experience for manycontext of his writing, his language remained embedded in a academics to listen to conference papers on spiritual researchretlhigaitous framework. begin by acknowledging the inability of the researchers to define The most apparent difference generated by contemporary spirituality. They then proceed to explain how spirituality is bperinsgpectives is that spirituality is not necessarriellyaGteoddunderstood and applied in their particular project, and we he (adre Souza & Watson, 2016, p. 345) . Further, transcendence is not words that are commonly used to reflect perceptions of spiritfuoacluisteyd, on a divine mystery or divine person but extends to such asawe and wonder, compassion, joy, transcendence, freedom, include “an awareness that one is connected to something more, meaning andpurpose, oneness andunity, and so on. I have observed beyond the individual self, but which can be grounded in an (de Souza, 2012, 2016) that, in general, these words reflect theexistential reality” (de Souza & Watson, 2016, p. 345). Accordingly, individual’s response to the inner self or to something outsideatthoene level, an individual may experience transcendence in self so that they are expressions of human relationality and tthraatdfoitrional terms so that it isreGloadt-ed. At another level, many, spirituality is about the connectedness that an individueaxpleriences of transcendence may include emotions and-experi experiences toward the Ot1her. ences that are inspired by their relationship or response to anoth In 2015, my efforts to bring some coherence to the discourspeerson and to truth and beauty in creation, the arts, and so on. led to an edited book where researchers from different disciplinesAs well, there are differences in the interpretation of the wo were invited to explain how the concept of spirituality-was instaecrred. In traditional terms, sacred isrGeoldat-ed and applies to preted in their specific fields. They were also asked to discuss tahspeects of religious life such as prayer and liturgy, doctrine, texts implications for application and practice. Their writings provaidnde/or music. In contemporary terms, experiences of deep the content of a new publication (de Souza, Bone, & Watson, 20m1e6a),ning and sentiment, particular relationships, or indeed, and I would like to draw on the findings from the final analytipcaarlticular activities in the everyday may also be perceived as chapter to present a concept of spirituality which will informsamcyred. These include experiences of transcendence in response to discussion in this paper. social and community action, creation, art works, and/o-r connec To begin with, what emerged was that two distinct-perspetcions to the earth and universe that may arouse a sense of unity a tives on spirituality could be identified wherein the concept oofneness. Without doubt, these are experiences that are intrinsic t spirituality was usually housed: traditional and contemporaerdyucation and learning, hence, supporting the call for a spiritual (de Souza & Watson, 2016) . The former draws from a variety of responsive pedagogy. faith traditions and is linked to religious beliefs and practices In the end, then, contemporary understandings indicate that aligned with the search for God, Ultimate Reality, or a Divinespirituality is not reserved for the few who belong to religious Mystery. Here, spirituality is perceived and expressed in the traditions. Instead, it is recognized as a shared, innate human trai affective dimension of religious activsiutcyh—as rites and rituals. (Hay, 2006) which is as essential to the wholeness of being as intellectual, physical and emotional attributes. It applies equall all people, religious and nonreligious (de Souza & Watson, 2016, 1 I useOther as a collective noun that encompasses all others in the human and nonhuman world. p. 346) . This finding, indeed, provides sound support for Lingley’s democracy & education, vol 25, n-o1 argument for a spiritually responsive pedagogy. If spiritualityUisnaitned States and other Western democratic countries but has innate human quality, its role in educational programs must baepplications in a wider, global context. recognized and addressed. I shall examine this further in the nextA further pertinent consideration is that in a world besieged section of this article. by globalization and plurality, we find a wealth of expressions of Another factor is that organized religion used to be the mcoanintemporary spirituality that reflect the diversity associated avenue, particularly in the Western world, where humans trhieudmtaon beliefs, practices, and endeavours, and each has its own nurture and express their spiritual natures (see Armstrong, 2i0n0t9e;grity and credibility because spirituality comprises both Hay, 2006; O’Múrchú, 1997; among others). Such expressions maycollective and individual elements that compose humankind. be described as religious expressions of spirituality. This is quiAteccordingly, no particular form or expression of spirituality, for different to the fact that in today’s world, many seekers are fiinndstinagnce, religious spirituality, may claim to be superior to anoth more holistic ways and means to engage and practise the-ir spisruitcuh as secular, humanistic, or indeed, indigenous spirituality. ality so as to encompass the wholeness of their humanity. These are challenging issues for all countries, such as Australia a A further point that emerged through our analysis (de StohuezUanited States, where societies are composed of people from & Watson), and which is pertinent to this discussion, is that dtihffeerreent regions, cultures, and religions. is, usually, little or no ambiguity attached to the traditional Finally, from our investigations, we were able to identify some concept of spirituality. Rather, there is a distinct understankdeyintgroafits of spirituality that were unmistakeably sha-red under a transcendent dimension that is rGeolda-ted, which influences standings across the many and varied disciplinary voices. This the way one lives one’s life. Consequently, it is important to suggested that the transitional process referred to earlier has be recognize that while human spirituality, in some form or othteore,merge into a distinct discipline that has both credibility and may have been recognized from the earliest years of known validity as a field of study, and that can inform and further our human existence, the ambiguity that has been identified by knowledge and understanding about the human condition. To Lingley and others is a relatively new phenomenon. From theconclude, the essence of human spirituality may be recognized as latter half of the 20th century, as the influence of organizedan implicit element in human relationality and it is reflected in religion dwindled in the Western world so that spiritualityebxpeegrainences and expressions of connectedness that the individual to emerge as something distinct from religion, it appears to hhaavsewith the human and, sometimes, the nonhuman world moved into a state of transition. This has involved finding ne (wde Souza, 2016) . Certainly, these are the conclusions I have ways and language to discuss, study, and understand human reached in my study of contemporary spirituality, and it is with th spirituality as something holistic and essential to the flouruisnhdienrgstanding that I write my response to Lingley’s (2016) notion of human beings. of spiritually responsive pedagogy. The above discussion raises some relevant points to consider in light of Lingley’s (2016) argument that the tendency to confSlpaitreitually Responsive spirituality with religion has provided an excuse for th-ose edPuecadagogy—Some Considerations tors who are resistant to incorporating spirituality in to demTocbreagtinicwith, I was not surprised by the choice of educators that education. Rather she saw it as “a refusal on the part of membLerinsgolfey (2016) focused on. To ground her thesis within the work of the dominator class to relinquish epistemological and ontoltohgiecsaelscholars who have informed research and scholarship in thi control” (p. 7). I suggest that the situation is more complex. Unfiteild over the past century was indeed worthwhile and indicated some consensus is reached about a definition of spirituality sointtheartpretation of the notion of spirituality in contemporary term a convincing argument can be offered for its role in educationr,aththereer than one that was restricted to traditional terms. Lingle will continue to be a certain resistance to recognizing a spirintoutaeld that little attention has been given to spiritual-ity in educ dimension in education in western education systems. This is tional discourse at the policy or curriculum development level i precisely because the beliefs and values of Western cult-ure ortihgei United States, and she attributed this to multiple u-nderstand nated in Western Christianity where, for centuries, the boundinagrsiaesnd applications that prevent clear definitions of the concep determining human spirituality and human religiosity becameAs I have indicated earlier, there are distinct reasons wh-y a spirit quite blurred. It is not surprising, then, that in countries likeatlhley responsive pedagogy has not been at the forefront of action fo United States, Australia, and others, where there has been a renewal in educational policies and programs in the United State determination to keep religion out of education, spirituality aisnd other Western education systems. An exception is Britain, viewed with suspicion. It is seen as a subtle attempt by religionwishtesre spiritual education has been named and included in to bring religion into education. curriculum documents for some years (e.g., Office for Standards The attempts to distinguish between religion and spirituainliEtdy,ucation, 1994; School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, as discussed earlier, are a relatively new phenomenon so that19t9h5e). Nevertheless, the subject in Britain continues to pose some findings of current research are only just beginning to influenpcreoblems for practitioners in terms of just how to address and thinking and planning in education in some countries. What isinclude it in the classroom. important to recognize here is that the Western education systemLingley (2016) argued strongly that democratic educators has been influential in many nWones-tern countries so that the should engage with a concept of spirituality with the sam-e enthusi discussion on spirituality and education is not be restricted taosmthweith which they have engaged with topics in critical social democracy & education, vol 25, n-o1 justice pedagogy. Her arguments have shown that critical As I am writing, there is a news report that five young men social justice education is steeped in human relationality; thefrreofmorMe,elbourne, all under thirty, have been arrested in Cairns, it would not be difficult to make appropriate links betwe-en spirtiotwun along Australia’s far northeast coast. They were heading ality and democratic education. toward Cape York, from where they planned to travel t-o Indone One important consideration in Lingley’s (2016) selection ofsia in a small boat on their way to Syria to join ISIS. The news wa educators is the respective contexts that influence their writi nfega.Ftourred across television, radio, and print media (e.g., ABC instance, those five scholars drew on a Western cultural worldBvrieeawk, fast on Channel 2, Radio NationalTh,eaHnedrald Sun although with distinct variations related to class, culture, an[dVrielilgaiornis. & Mason, 2016]). Such reports are becoming co-mmon I would add gender, particularly women’s voices, to this list andpnlaotce, and related questions are frequently heard from a bemuse that Lingley did identify the critical feminist, political perspecatinvdescionncerned community, such as: What is causing young both Noddings’s and ThayBear-con’s writings. Further, she ack-nowlpeople to become radicalized, and what can we do, as a nation, edged that Noddings, Freire, hooks, and ThBaayceorn- all write from to prevent this? a perspective that draws on and from the voices and situations of Initially, a general theme underlying public responses blamed marginalized people and asks, “Why does the honest naming of the Muslim community and demanded that it was their r-esponsi spirituality seem obvious for educators who speak from African,bility to fix the problem. However, as Australians are confronted Latina, and indigenous perspectives?” (p. 5). However, she did ever more instances of radicalized young people, both male and recognize that critical democratic education and spiritu-ally rfesmpaolne, more considered and insightful responses have begun to sive pedagogy share a common purpose in providing a counter- emerge. In particular, it is distinctly worrying when we learn of t narrative to the educational practices that “sustain majority very young ages at which some of these young people are being culturbe-ased systems of oppression, marginalization, and alienatrioand”icalized. In an incident in October 201y5e,ar1o-5-ld boy shot (p. 8) since both encourage (a) a reduction in alienation throughand killed a police civilian employee in Parramatta, a suburb of awareness of interconnection, (b) a strong sense of personal agenSycdyney, and was subsequently shot and killed by the3 Iptolice. through integration of internal navigational feelings with extearpnpaelared that none of the boy’s friends at school had any idea of h meaning-systems, and (c) an empowered commitment to a commonradicalization because he had never spoken of anything that may good for all community members through cultivation of spirituahlave indicated his thinking about his religion or associated views resources such as compassion and resilience (p2p1.)2.0– In discussing the situation, Reid (2015) concluded that this Certainly, the above points provide some explanation as to“concealed two thinghsi—s own complicity with unspeakable why it is among the marginalized in society that voices are raisteedxtins, but more importantly the related silencing of different vie a call for an education that engenders a spirituality of care, eoquftahlietwy,orld by conservative forces surrounding schooling” (Reid, liberation, and human dignity. Moreover, if we examine current2015, para. 3). social and political spheres across many parts of the world, we canReid (2015) also reported on the findings from a research note the regularity with which we are faced with news headlisnteusdy involving Years 9 and 10 student1s6(-1y4e–aro-lds), where related to a particular contemporary form of marginatlihzaattiont—he objective had been to explore and document through youth is, the radicalization of young people, which can often be alignveodices the causes of youth tensions in a context of rapid social with their experiences of Islamophobia. These issues are impactcinhgange. She confirmed that for many students the dominance of a the lives of too many young people across many countries-, inclucdertain culture made others feel inferior to that group and argue ing the United States, and they offer much weight to the argumtehnatt while it may seem counitnetru-itive from a conservative that educators should recognize and address the spirit-ual dimpenrspective —that ‘touchy subjects’ ought to be repressed because sion in democratic education. Accordingly, I would like to take some time to explore the impact of this form of marginalization onThe following websites provide an insight into the spread of-the prob young Australians to underscore the importance of spiritualllyem and how different countries are attempting to deal with it.-Significan responsive pedagogy which can address these problems. As wellly,,Iwhile belonging and identity are elemental factors in the relationali reemphasize that the issues I discuss about radicalization andof the human person and, therefore, human spirituality, there i-s little evi Islamophobia are pertinent to many Western countries today wdehnecreethat this is being recognized as, perhaps, one aspect of the problem: Muslims from different regions make up the popul a2tion. • http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3671824/Unmasked-Gun -toting-Jihadi-bride-maker-grooms-British-girls-ISIS-fighters 2 The issue of homeg-rown terrorism has been a major concern, p-articu -Syria-student-London-father-successful-businessman.html larly since 9/11. Roy (2004) offered the thesis that the reason young peopl•e http://www.globalsecuritystudies.com/Bizina%20Youth-AG.pdf were attracted to online propaganda from radical Islamic groups was due• http://www.e-ir.info/2016/02/11/understanding-youth to the det-erritorialization of Islam. Pratt (2015) argued that it is linked to -radicalization-in-the-age-of-isis-a-psychosocial-analysis/ expressions of religious fundamentalism, namely Islamophobia. Oth-er theo• http://theconversation.com/australias-response-to-youth ries examine psychological and sociological causes. The fact remains that, in-radicalisation-can-benefit-from-a-look-to-overseas-49492 2016, home-grown terrorism remains a serious problem for many countries• http://www.cfr.org/religion/europes-angry-muslims/p8218 around the globe, and a common factor among the many theories is the lack of integration of young Muslims into the mainstream ciunlottuhrer— 3 Another incident involved aye1a5r- old British boy in a terrorist plot with words, it is directly related to issues of belonging and identity. other young adult Australians he had met on social media (Miller, 2015). democracy & education, vol 25, n-o1 they are dangerouns—ot dealing with valid concerns that younhguman development. She described spiritual development as a people have, whether radicalization or other matters, meansmtuhlattidiitmensional process incorporating: (a) a disposition of is hard to make schools relevant in the totality of their livesg.e(nfiunianle or authentic inquiry, (b) an engagement in a search for paragraph) purpose and meaning, (c) an orientation of faith in regards to Significantly, the silencing of different worldviews that Rseoimdething larger than or beyond oneself, (d) a capacity for (2015) spoke of plainly reflects Lingley’s (2016) discussion of hoswelf-aware consciousness, (e) an interest in ethical relations and there is little place within the dominant discourse in educatbioenhafovriors, and (f) the experience of awe, love, wonder, and certain topics that don’t quite fit a framework driven by “Westrearnscendence (p. 23). male epistemic privilege” (p. 1). This is particularly the case for My first comment on the two extracts cited above is that we migrant countries like Australia, but it is equally applicablefiinnd a collection of words that are commonly used to express the today’s world for other Western countries that have experiepnecrecdeptions of spirituality that I referred to earlier. Th-ese descri their homogenous societies transform in a relatively short sptaiocens border on traditional understandings of spirituality with of time into communities characterized by cultural and religrioefuesrences to “an orientation of faith” (which I interpret as linked diversity. In such circumstances, we need to realize the i-nadeaqubaelief system). Nevertheless, they also cross over to mor-e conte cies of an education systemw—hich is founded on AnglEou-ropean porary understandings, whereby there is a distinct implication th philosophies, middlcel-ass values, and the ideals of ltha-taen1d9 spirituality is a response to something other than self. This includ early-2t0h-century educationfo—r today’s students. a response to the inner self, as in “aswelafr-e consciousness,” and a The issues linked to radicalization that keep appearing inroeusrponse to the Other in terms of “moral and ethical relations” a daily news coverage undoubtedly have relevance for this disc“uesxspieorni,ences of awe, love, wonder and transcendence.” This is since they relate to issues of identity, belonging, meaning, and important if we are to discuss spiritually responsive pedagogy in purpose—in other words, elements that reflect the spiritual ndaetmuorecratic education that will be relevant for today’s students i of individuals. I have discussed elsewhere and at length (de Sotuhzae United States and elsewhere. It is my understanding that the 2014, 2016) the problems of fundamentalism and how probable irtoilse of religion in the United States may be rather different to oth that radicalization has been generated by Islamophobia, bothWofestern countries like Austratlhia—tis, religion has a significant which are examples of extremist, exclusive worldviews. As welrl,oIle in American culture. Instead, in Australia, there is a wellhave shown how they have led to a loss of identity and belongdinegfionned, thriving secular culture where religion is often relegate the part of young Australian Muslims who have grown up as the fringe, and many young people do not involve themselves in Australians but against a backdrop of Islamophobia, whi-ch domreiligious practice. Therefore, a traditional perspective, where nated political discourse in the first decade of this century. Astpirituality is used interchangeably with religiosity, would have another level, they have engendered experiences of fear and diasptprluicstability to the lives of many students in Australia and other of the otherness of the Other in the case of manMyunsolnim- western countries that share similar secular traits. Alternative Australians, leading to a rejection of the different Other. Neesdpliersisttuoality is framed in relational terms, it immediately becomes say, when young people experience rejection, they are prone tosignificant factor for all students in their everyday. It would also becoming alienated and feeling displaced. This makes them mean that a spiritually responsive pedagogy must involve and susceptible to online propaganda that promises to provide theamddress the relational lives of children so as to enhan-ce the con with a sense of identity in, belonging to, and acceptance withinnectedness they experience (a) in the process of learning, (b) in another community. Moreover, the fact that this global commruenspitoynse to the learning environment, and (c) in the growth of the is one that is scathing of the values of the Western society thaktnhoawsledge and awareness of the4 Saenldf of the Other (element of rejected them in the first place makes it even more attractive.sIptiritual development). affirms them in their feelings of anger and betrayal and promotes aMoreover, while I agree with Lingley (2016) that spirituality sense of shared purpose to retaliate. Thus, what I have identifiaendd spiritual growth distinctly deal with human relationality, I here are the elements in human spirituality that affect -connechtaevde some hesitation with the concept of spiritual development. ness, that is, the sense of belonging and identity and the fear ofDtehvoesleopmental theories very often focus on caonrargeel-ated who are different. I believe in today’s world these are issues thlaitnear process, in one form or another, which may not apply to urgently require a spiritually responsive pedagogy that will essppioruitsueal growth. Spiritual growth can involve positive and negat the qualities Lingley (2016) cited from ThBaayceorn-: experiences, which can either advance the individual into spiritu maturation or cause them to retreat, become introverted, and liv a relational, pluralistic democratic pedagogy navigates—and even in the shadows (de Souza, 2012). This implies a forawnadr-dleverages—the tensions of pluralism through classroom practices that backward movement that is neitherspaegcei-fic nor developm-en reflect shared responsibility, encourage shared authority, and value tally progressive. Therefore, I believe it is more helpful to discuss shared identities. (p. 6) spiritual growth without aligning it to developmental theories o indeed, to the rather reductive concepts of spirituality that may Also pertinent to this specific situation is Lingley’s (2016)found in some areas of positive psychology. definition of spiritual development for a pedagogical framework, which, she argued, should complement traditional models of 4 Self here refers to the inner “self,” as distinct from the outer “self.” democracy & education, vol 25, n-o1 Further, I strongly contend that if spirituality, as the esstehnceeteoafcher in producing excellent students learning outcomes human relationality, forms the basis upon which learni-ng act(isveie Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation, 2016). In fact ties, resources, and learning environments are designed, they Lwiinlglley’s (2016) last principle went further, to suggest th-at preser provide students with opportunities to engage with, learn witvhic/e teacher preparation needs to raise knowledge and awareness from, and respond to/with the Other. As well, this will encouroaftgehe spiritual aspects of learning so that classroom practitione them to feel some empathy and compassion for the Other. It is ownillyl be better placed to implement spiritually responsive pedagog through genuine interaction and engagement that indifferencTeoooro,ften, this is an area that receives little attention in teache worse, rejection of the Other can move through to understaneddinugc,ation programs, and with Lingley, I believe that if we are to acceptance, and inclusion. Such a process should further extepnrdepare teachers to be effective educators in democratic educati students’ and teachers’ ksenlofw-ledge and perception, which for the 21st century, we need to acknowledge the spiritu- al dimen reflect Thomas Merton’s thinking: “I must look for my identitysniont in democratic education. only in God but in other[s]” (cited in Del Prete, 2002, p. 165) . As well, it should help them to reach a space of spiritual maturitCyo,nclusion where they may be enabled to transcend their own anxieties, fIenagresn, eral, then, I found much of interest in Lingley’s (2016) thesis and disappointments and, potentially, experience a sense of and her exegesis of relevant theorists in which to ground her wor oneness with the Other. Again, this reflects Merton’s thinkingI,agree with her that the role of spirituality in education contin encapsulated in the words: “To be what we are requires that wteo be problematized because of multiple interpretations a-nd unde realize our oneness, our existence in an ‘original unity’” (Del Psrteatned,ings, which, in turn, are influenced by the plurality of belief citing Merton, 2002, p. 165) . and cultures that are features of most contemporary societies in Practices such as these will certainly accommodate LingWleeys’st. I have argued that the causes for the neglect of spirituality (2016) first and second principles for spiritually responsive education are more complex that Lingley asserts. Nevertheless, pedagogy: they situate the learner’s spiritual development wiItohfifnerahope for researchers and educators because we appear to be holistic framework of human growth, and afford integration omf oving out of the state of transition that has caused levels of curriculum, instruction, and assessment that is invitational aomfbiguity in the discipline of spirituality (de Souza & Watson, spiritual ways of knowing and enhancing spiritual growth. 2016) . This is primarily because contemporary research has The last two principles identified by Lingley (2016) relateetnoabled us to identify common features and a unity of purpose in teacher preparation and education: an acknowledgement of our varied understandings of the holistic nature of spirituality. spirituality as part of the teaching and learning process; holistic More important, I also feel that current and ongoing study an accountability, which captures the responsibility of democrarteicsearch need to be extended so that additional factors-are consid educators to integrate spiritual aspects of teaching and learenrinedgin the design of an approach to spiritually responsive pedagog classrooms to support critical social justice goals. For instance, attention needs to be given to the needs and aspiratio Here, Lingley (2016) correctly discerned the importance oof today’s students whose lives are in a constant state of flux where the structures and processes related to teacher education asthaevyitaarle being affected by rapidly changing societal and political point in any education system. For instance, Tucker and Strongceonditions. This includes not only those who are experiencing (2005) identified qualities of effective teachers, based on r5eseamrcahrg,inalization, for whatever reasons. Rather, it includes those w and asserted: belong to the mainstream in society and who, depending on which voices are the most strident in the public arena, find themselves wi We now know empirically that these effective teachers also have a shifting attitudes toward the Other who is different. To be sure, if t direct influence in enhancing student learning. Years of research on principles of democratic education are aligned with spiritually teacher quality support the fact that effective teachers not only make responsive pedagogy, we will have an education system that is more students feel good about school and learning, but also that their work holistic in nature, one where every student is encourage-d to recog actually results in increased student achievement. Studies have nize their connectedness to the Other. This will raise their potent substantiated that a whole range of personal and professional qualities to transcend attitudes and behaviors that are driven by the fear of are associated with higher levels of student achievement. For example, otherness of Other, and, instead, they may learn to appreciate and/ we know that verbal ability, content knowledge, pedagogical develop a sense of unity with the Other. knowledge, certification status, ability to use a range of teaching A final word relates to my general impression of Lingley’s strategies skillfully, and enthusiasm for the subject characterize more (2016) thesis. I believe it was focused very much on the American successful teachers. (para. 2) system of education with implications for further research and educational practice in the United States. Nonetheless, I do belie The same revelations can be found in an Australian documtehnatt there are many aspects of American education that intersec published by the NSW Office of Education on effective teacherwsfiotrh education systems in other Western countries as well as effective learning where there is a distinct articulation of thneorno-lWeeosftern countries that have been influenced by Western educational philosophies and practice. Therefore, Lingley’s 5 They based their assumptions on the research reported by Darlinagr-guments do have applications for curriculum and pedagogy at a Hammond (2000) and Stronge (2002). global level. democracy & education, vol 25, n-o1 de Souza, M., Engebretson, K., Durka, G., Jackson, R., & McGrady, A., (Eds). (2006). I also believe that it will be affirming for educators to International handbook of the religious, moral and spiritual dimensions of education. discover that there is unity and much to share in matters rela t(Vionlgs. 1–2). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Academic Publishers. to the spiritual in human endeavors across culture, religion, and de Souza, M., & Watson, J. (2016). Understandings and applications of contemporary race. This is despite the very obvious differences that reside spiritualityA—nalysing the voices. In M. de Souza, J. Bone, & J. Watson (Eds.), at the surface and that act as sources of distraction to discourSpairgitueality across disciplines: Research and practice (pp 331-347). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Academic Publishers. the casual observer from a deeper examination of what lies hidden. Ultimately, we must provide an education for the Dewey, J. (1986).Essays, A Common Faith. The Collected Works of John Dewey, 11898523–. children of today so that they will be better able to embrace tEhleectronic edition. The Later Works of John Dewe1y,915932.V5–olume 9: 1933–1934. Edited by J. Boydston. Retrieved from https://www.uio.no/studier/ wholeness of being in all its diversity as they become the citizeenmsner/uv/uv/UV9406/dewey-john-(1986).-essays-a-common-faith.pdf and decision makers of tomorrow. Therefore, educators need to Hay, D. (2006).Something there: The biology of the human spirit . London, UK: Dartman, pay heed to Lingley’s (2016) thesis alongside those of others whoLongman & Todd Ltd. are striving to bring spirituality in education to the attention of Miller, B. (2015, October 2). British teen jailed for inciting terrorist attack on Anzac Da policymakers, curriculum writers, parents, and the general parade in Melbourne. ABC News, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-02/ public. teenager-jailed-for-at-least-five-years-over-anzac-day-plot/6824752 School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA). (D1i9s9cu5)s.sion Paper on spiritual and moral development. United Kingdom: SCAA. Armstrong , K. ( 2009 ) Th.e case for God: What religion really means . London, UK: The Bodley Head. Best , R . (Ed.). 1996E . ducation, spirituality and the whole child . New York, NY: Continuum International Publishing Group. DarlingH-ammond , L. ( 2000 ). Teacher quality and student achieveEmduencatt . ion Policy Analysis Archives , 8 ( 1 ). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v8n1. 2000 Del Prete , T. ( 2002 ). Being what we are: Thomas Merton's spirituality in education . In J. Miller & Y. Nakagawa (EdsN.)u, rturing our wholeness (pp. 164 - 191 ). Rutland, VT: Foundation for Educational Renewal . de Souza , M. (2016S)pirituality in education in a global pluralized world . Abingdon, UK: Routledge. de Souza , M. ( 2014 ). The empathetic mind: The essence of human spirituality . International Journal of Children's Spirituality , 19 ( 1 ), 45 - 54 . de Souza , M. ( 2012 ). Connectedness acnondnectedness. The dark side of spirituality: Implications for educatiIonnte . rnational Journal of children's Spirituality , 17 ( 3 ), 291 - 304 .


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Marian de Souza Dr. The Complex Reasons for Missing Spirituality. A Response to "Democratic Foundations for Spiritually Responsive Pedagogy, Democracy and Education, 2017,