Chapter

'Spiritual Creatures?' Exploring a possible interface between reflective practice and spirituality

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

'Human beings are essentially spiritual creatures because we are driven by a need to ask ... "ultimate" questions ... to find meaning and value in what we do and experience.' (Zohar & Marshall 2000:4) The discourses of contemporary spirituality now extend across many professions and disciplines. Swinton (2011:16) argues that spirituality 'names an absence, something that is missing from the ways in which we currently practice'. This chapter explores a possible interface between models of reflective practice and spirituality. It suggests that professional/reflective learning cannot be separated from personal ways of meaning-making and must therefore take account of the 'ultimate questions' that are often absent from the theorisation of critical reflection. References Swinton J (2011) 'What is missing from our practice?', Journal for the Study of Spirituality, Vol.1, No.1, pp13-16. Zohar D & Marshall I (2000) SQ: Spiritual Intelligence (London: Bloomsbury).

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... They point out that 'deep critical reflection ... can actually take us to the heart of what it is to be human ... this might enable a more ethical and compassionate engagement with the world and its moral dilemmas in the Socratic tradition ...'. Critical reflection is thus not only a crucial element of professional education and learning (which, in their turn, help to enhance professional practice, including heightening awareness of the needs of service users) but it also has strong links to an understanding of spirituality as a means of asking 'ultimate questions' such as 'Who am I?' (Hunt 2015). ...
Full-text available
Article
All my Editorials in the Journal for the Study of Spirituality discuss a topical subject and also provide an overview of the contents of each issue.
... The question of how people 'freeze the shifting phantasmagoria' of their experiences and make sense and meaning out of them has been central to my professional life. For a large part of that, 1 have been involved in facilitating critical reflective practice with practitioners in a variety of settings, including doctoral and professional development programmes (see Hunt, 2016). ...
Full-text available
Chapter
This chapter explores the place and function of autoethnography in education, particularly in doctoral programmes and educational research. It suggests that powerful gatekeepers, whilst apparently upholding an evidence-base of research that demonstrates ‘quality’, ‘rigour’ and so on, are effectively excluding the ‘self’ of the researcher from the discourses of educational research. It invites discussion on whether that matters.
Chapter
This chapter is concerned with ways in which practitioners understand and articulate their lived experience, including of spirituality, and how they deal with incongruities that may arise between personal experiences, values and beliefs and the political and institutional demands of their workplace. The concepts of critical reflection, transformative learning, authenticity and spirituality are discussed and shown to be inextricably entwined within the theories and practices of adult learning and professional development. The notion of professional psychological wellbeing is introduced and its links with vocation, spirituality and the achievement of congruence between personal and public worldviews are explored. The final section reflects on discussions in earlier chapters about worldviews and paradigm shift and considers their relevance at a time of global crisis.
Chapter
This chapter ‘walks the talk’ of the author’s statement: ‘I believe that an important element of reflective practice is to be able to say “This is how it is for me now; and these seem to be some of the reasons that have led me to think/feel/act as I do”’. It illustrates how and why key concepts and personal and professional experiences have shaped the author’s worldview and ongoing professional practice. These include John Heron’s concept of fourfold knowing; the theory and practice of adult education, incorporating understandings of democracy and citizenship; the potentially subversive nature of teaching; models of community education; and the characteristics of community, including its spiritual aspect.
Chapter
Spirituality and religion are important considerations for the adult learner, because with adulthood comes an increased identification with spirituality. In this chapter, the authors outline key theories and concepts related to spirituality and religion in adult learning, or andragogy. Transformative learning, reflective learning, and whole-person or experiential learning are described within the context of their relatedness to spirituality/religion in andragogy. A separate section on lifelong learning, an extension of adult learning, and multiculturalism, a social realty, are explored. Moving from the theoretical to the practical application of spirituality/religion in andragogy, several examples and worldviews of spirituality/religion outside of the Western, Judeo-Christian perspective are included, as well. Practical considerations are given for learners, instructors, and researchers on secular approaches to cultivating traits and qualities that correspond to an individual's spiritual dimension, feeling of connectedness, and overall wellbeing.
Chapter
I have come, somewhat shamefully I feel, to appreciate the role of spirituality in peoples’ lives rather late in my own life and career. As I say this, I realize this is not entirely true. I was actually raised as a devout Seventh-day Adventist, and this did colour the way I viewed spirituality. This was from the perspective of organized religion, and looking back on it now, I fear I mistook much fundamentalist culture and dogma for spirituality. In my early twenties, I forsook my religion in favour of just thinking for myself and experienced this as entirely novel and not a little bit liberating. I had developed a severe suspicion of organized religion, especially of the fundamentalist kind. In some ways it meant I gave up thinking about explicitly spiritual matters. This stance was never challenged within the social work program I studied in the mid-1970s, when much social work education was very secular in orientation. (Indeed, I recall in my first year of study how I failed an essay on personal values because I wrote about my Christian values.) Despite an ongoing suspicion of organized religion, however, I have had an interesting relationship with both spirituality and religion since that time. In some ways perhaps, given my early negative experiences, this was more of a relationship than I care to acknowledge. It is challenging to reflect back on this now. Over the course of my life, I have had the good fortune to have very close friendships with people who both espoused and practised a quiet yet substantial spirituality. In some cases this was coupled with a formal religion and the churchgoing that entailed. Their religion provides a circle of like-minded people, and a framework from which they contribute to and try to make our world a better place.
Full-text available
Chapter
In this chapter I explore the notion of ‘wyrd’ knowledge as a felt experience of interconnectedness. Using a reflective practice approach, incorporating what are, to me, the new ‘lenses’ of mythopoesis and mythogenesis, I review some of my earlier ideas and their links with spirituality. Drawing on evidence from a seminar series in the UK funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, I suggest that a fresh theoretical and practical understanding of wyrd may help in conceptualising aspects of contemporary spirituality.
Full-text available
Chapter
This chapter is based on a personal journey. It begins with reflections on the development of a module on reflective practice within a Masters degree and ends with discussion of issues arising from an ESRC seminar series that I convened on 'Researching spirituality as a dimension of lifelong learning'. It suggests that, especially for those who have a ‘transpersonal orientation’, questions about spirituality may be an integral element of reflective practice, and the implications of such questions should not be ignored in the context of professional learning.
Full-text available
Chapter
Drawing on the foundational theories of John Dewey and Kurt Lewin, we examine recent developments in theory and research on experiential learning and explore how this work can enhance experiential learning in higher education. We introduce the concept of learning space as a framework for understanding the interface between student learning styles and the institutional learning environment. We illustrate the use of the learning space framework in three case studies of longitudinal institutional development. Finally, we present principles for the enhancement of experiential learning in higher education and suggest how experiential learning can be applied throughout the educational environment by institutional development programs, including longitudinal outcome assessment, curriculum development, student development, and faculty development.
Full-text available
Article
Researchers, teacher educators and practitioners involved with reflective practice tend to think and write about those things they perceive as practical. This paper delineates and details five orientations to reflective practice: the immediate, the technical, the deliberative, the dialectic and the transpersonal. Each orientation represents a notion of the practical derived not only from specific social science paradigms, but also from fundamental beliefs and values about education. Casting the five orientations as interactive, interdependent aspects of reflective practice, rather than as competing views of what is practical, provides a conceptual framework for research and practice, both within and among orientations.
Full-text available
Article
This paper explores the current and extraordinarily diverse concept of spirituality, particularly as it relates to healthcare practices. It suggests that there is no such ‘thing’ (singular) as spirituality. Rather it is a ‘made up’ concept that helps us to understand certain things about human beings and human living. It is in this sense that there is no such ‘thing’ (singular) as spirituality. However, once we ‘make up’ spirituality(s) and create ‘spiritual people’ who require ‘spiritual care’, and then enshrine that in our policies and values, the concept of spirituality becomes extremely important and practically significant. This paper argues that the ongoing discussions around whether or not spirituality is ‘real’ or otherwise miss the practical point that spirituality may be necessary even if it is not ‘real’. This article was first delivered as a keynote speech at the Third International Conference of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality, Spirituality in a Challenging World.
Full-text available
Article
Using an autoethnographic approach and drawing on principles of reflective practice, this paper illustrates how a long‐standing professional involvement in community education evolved into a personal search for meaning that included engagement with the concept of spirituality. It re‐views typologies of community education developed in the UK in the 1980s and argues that, when they are viewed holistically, a spiritual dimension is implicit in them. The paper suggests that spirituality needs to be addressed as a dimension of educational practice and research in order to keep pace with growing popular interests and emergent thinking in the natural sciences. Full text available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/aaZ8Iazhn7ZPHWW7spH4/full Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference. (Frost 1920)
Full-text available
Article
ABSTRACT Making liberal use of metaphor, this paper attempts to articulate the felt reality of 'doing' reflective practice and of facilitating reflective processes for others. It highlights a number of questions and issues that arose during the development of a module, entitled 'Becoming a Reflective Practitioner', as part of a Masters degree programme for experienced educators and trainers in a university in the north of England. It notes, in particular, some of the tensions and mismatch of expectations that occurred as a group of tutors began to work reflectively together within an educational culture that increasingly demands tangible 'results'. The paper also notes that engagement with reflective practice can sometimes be both uncomfortable and disorientating: a brief personal account of reflection-in-action is given to illustrate this point. A concern is then raised about the need for tutors to delineate clear boundaries within which to work with students whose developing reflective practices could cause them to address difficult and/or personal issues that may lie beyond the remit of the academic programme that prompted them to embark on this path.
Full-text available
Article
This paper illustrates how metaphor can provide a vital link between the private and often idiosyncratic world of ‘felt‐reality’ and the propositional world of theories and constructs in which most academic and professional discourses are conducted. Drawing on Schön’s concept of reflection as ‘seeing‐as’ and Heron’s model of ‘ways of knowing’, it suggests that the exploration and articulation of an individual’s use of metaphor is an important element in the process of demystifying the passage of ‘intuitive’ knowledge into professional practice. The author demonstrates how part of her professional identity has been constructed through reflective writing but questions whether work of this kind has any place in the current outcomes‐driven climate of research assessment in academia.
Book
A leading MIT social scientist and consultant examines five professions--engineering, architecture, management, psychotherapy, and town planning--toshow how professionals really go about solving problems.
Article
After briefly introducing the paradigm of experiential, participative action research, four dimensions of participation – the political, epistemological, ecological and spiritual – are explored. The political dimension concerns peoples’ right to have a say in decisions which affect them, and is linked with participatory economics and the development of learning communities; the epistemological dimension concerns that nature of human knowing in a subjective-objective world; the ecological dimension counters the threats to the natural ecology which result from the positivist mindset; and the spiritual dimension suggests that one of the primary purposes of human inquiry is to heal the splits which characterise modern Western consciousness.
Article
“I shall reconsider human knowledge by starting from the fact that we can know more than we can tell,” writes Michael Polanyi, whose work paved the way for the likes of Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper. The Tacit Dimension argues that tacit knowledge—tradition, inherited practices, implied values, and prejudgments—is a crucial part of scientific knowledge. Back in print for a new generation of students and scholars, this volume challenges the assumption that skepticism, rather than established belief, lies at the heart of scientific discovery. “Polanyi’s work deserves serious attention. . . . [This is a] compact presentation of some of the essentials of his thought.”—Review of Metaphysics “Polanyi’s work is still relevant today and a closer examination of this theory that all knowledge has personal and tacit elements . . . can be used to support and refute a variety of widely held approaches to knowledge management.”—Electronic Journal of Knowledge "The reissuing of this remarkable book give us a new opportunity to see how far-reaching—and foundational—Michael Polanyi's ideas are, on some of the age-old questions in philosophy."—Amartya Sen, from the new Foreword
Tlie Illuminaled Rnnii
  • C Banks
Banks, C. (Trans.) (1997) 'Tlie Illuminaled Rnnii, New York; Broadway Books.
Bcconiinga Critically Rcjkctivc Teacher
  • S D Brookfield
Brookfield, S. D. (1995) Bcconiinga Critically Rcjkctivc Teacher, San Francisco, C^A; Jossey-Bass.
  • R Forman
Forman, R. (2004) Grassroots Spirituality, Exeter; Imprint Academic.
Michael Oakeshott: An Introduction
  • P Franco
Franco, P. (2004) Michael Oakeshott: An Introduction, New Haven, CT, and London; Yak-University Press. Critical reflective practice and spirituality 47
  • C Flunt
Flunt, C. (2011) Editoriii, Journal for the Study of Spirituality, 1 (1), 5-9.
Human Resource Development: Learning and Training for Individuals and Organizations
  • C Hunt
Hunt, C. (2005) Reflective practice. In J. P. Wilson (ed.) (2005; 2nd edition). Human Resource Development: Learning and Training for Individuals and Organizations, London;
Review of Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher: Stephen Brookfield, Studies in the Education of Adults
  • C I Hunt
Hunt, CI (1996). Review of Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher: Stephen Brookfield, Studies in the Education of Adults, 28 (2), 300-302.
Tlie Different Drum, London; Arrow
  • M Oakeshott
Oakeshott, M. (1975) On Human Conduct, Oxford; Clarendon. Peck, M. S. (1990) Tlie Different Drum, London; Arrow. '' ;
Anchor Books. Reason, P. (1998) Political, epistemological, ecological and spiritual dimensions of participation
  • M Polanyi
Polanyi, M. (1967) The Tacit Dimension, New York; Anchor Books. Reason, P. (1998) Political, epistemological, ecological and spiritual dimensions of participation. Studies in Cultures, Organizations and Societies, 4, 147-167. Available at; http;// www.peterreason.eu/Papers/Diinensions_participation.pdf (accessed 18 October, 2014).
  • D Tacey
Tacey, D. (2004) Tlie Spirituahty Revolution. London; Bruuncr Routledge.
SQ: Spiritual Intelligence
  • D Zohar
  • I Marshall
Zohar, D. and Marshall, I. (2000) SQ: Spiritual Intelligence, London; Bloomsbui-y.