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dc.contributor.advisorMorrison, Hugh Douglas
dc.contributor.authorArnst, Owen Bruce
dc.date.available2019-05-29T21:55:08Z
dc.date.copyright2019
dc.identifier.citationArnst, O. B. (2019). Spirituality in the Context of the Aotearoa New Zealand Primary School Classroom (Thesis, Doctor of Education). University of Otago. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10523/9341en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10523/9341
dc.description.abstractContemporary spirituality is understood to be a basic quality of all people, more culturally plural than simple religious affiliation. Accordingly, spiritual wellbeing is seen to be a fundamental dimension of people’s overall health and wellbeing. Western-based research into contemporary childhood spirituality is a relatively new area of inquiry, and this is certainly the case within Aotearoa New Zealand. While official curriculum documents variously, and often vaguely, reference the spiritual dimension, very little research focused on the primary school years has been undertaken. The inclusion of Mason Durie’s (1994) whare tapawhā model in the New Zealand Curriculum for Health and Physical Education (Ministry of Education, 1999) to illustrate the importance of all aspects of life being in balance adds a uniquely Aotearoa context. There is a need to explore the relationship between spiritual wellbeing and other aspects of children’s overall wellbeing. Seeking to address this gap in the literature, this study examines what some Year 6 children in Aotearoa New Zealand, and their teachers, understand by spirituality. In the process the focus is on two issues: first, the relationship between primary students’ spiritual wellbeing and other markers of childhood development (namely social development, emotional development and educational attainment), and second, the applicability of John Fisher’s (1998) construct of spiritual wellbeing as an effective way of articulating children’s spirituality within the context of Aotearoa New Zealand primary schools. The study utilised a mixed methods approach. For the quantitative phase of the study, empirical data were collected with regard to 32 Year 6 children, from three urban, state primary schools. Qualitative semi-structured small-group interviews were then completed with 20 of these children and, in the case of two of the schools, with the seven class teachers of these children. A significant correlation was found between the spiritual wellbeing scores and children’s social competence, emotional quotient and mathematical attainment, but not with either measure of reading attainment, suggesting that primary school aged children’s spirituality may somehow be linked to other markers of childhood development. Analysis of the interview data identified spirituality themes common in contemporary childhood spirituality literature and, additionally, noted frequent expressions of spirituality with reference to children’s close connectedness to animals and pets. Introducing Fisher’s (1998) model of spiritual wellbeing as a pragmatic and relatable construct, the study validates the use of this model within the Aotearoa New Zealand context, highlighting ways in which the use of this construct and language could sit alongside Durie’s (1994) whare tapawhā model of well-being to provide a way forward, blending contemporary Western and Māori understandings. The discussion addresses a professional concern that spiritual wellbeing remains largely unconsidered in most classrooms, and that teachers may not currently have the knowledge, confidence or support to openly acknowledge and nurture spirituality within the school setting. The study concludes that the use of Fisher’s model of spiritual wellbeing could allow childhood spirituality to be understood, openly discussed and explicitly nurtured in the modern, secular context.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectNew Zealand
dc.subjectspirituality
dc.subjectchildhood spirituality
dc.subjectspiritual wellbeing
dc.subjectHauora
dc.titleSpirituality in the Context of the Aotearoa New Zealand Primary School Classroom
dc.typeThesis
dc.date.updated2019-05-29T08:17:55Z
dc.language.rfc3066en
thesis.degree.disciplineEducation
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Education
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Otago
thesis.degree.levelDoctoral
otago.openaccessOpen
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