Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Teaching and Spirituality
A recent survey of American college and university professors' attitudes towards religion found that "more than 80 percent of faculty members consider themselves spiritual at least to some extent, and a majority of faculty members consider themselves religious to some extent, and pray to some extent." Here is a summary of the results.
One of the more interesting conclusions came when the study correlated religious attitudes with other professional attitudes and behaviors like job satisfaction and teaching techniques. In particular, the study found that "spiritual faculty members are also more likely to use participatory teaching techniques than are non-spiritual faculty members."
What can we say of this correlation? Not long ago we championed "participatory teaching techniques" and claimed they led to "co-created" learning experiences, moments when relationships are discovered, formed or transformed.
Perhaps this is a large part of what it means to be spiritual as well— "co-creating, engaging the world with our individual human characters and becoming more fully human through that interaction." If so, then we might argue that this sort of spirituality is a real asset to learning/teaching.