Spirituality: Providing guidance through uncertainty

Year: 2002

Author: Webster, Scott

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Spirituality has all too often been neglected by both the practices and the profession of education. In these times of great uncertainty the spiritual dimension needs to be developed in order for people to more effectively navigate their way. This paper specifically examines what is understood by 'spirituality' and argues why and how it should be developed. Briefly, this dimension refers to what the meaning of life and one's self-identity are understood to be. Every person can therefore be considered to be spiritual to some extent, not just the religious.

Furthermore it considers that meaning-making, self-identity, choices, decisions and motivation, largely emerge from one's spirituality. By developing this dimension, personal well-being is enhanced and people can gain a more effective understanding of themselves and their world, elucidating what purposes are worthwhile for them to pursue.

There is an increasing interest being given to spirituality mainly from the fields of psychology, the work-place, some aspects of the New Age movement (especially self-help courses) and now also by education. It is argued that spiritual development, which is claimed to be facilitated by philosophical approaches within communities of inquiry, benefits both the learners of educational programmes and also ourselves as researchers.