Spirituality in Social Work and Education
Theory, Practice, and Pedagogies
Paper 282 pp.
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Over the past ten years, the fields of social work and education have grappled separately with definitions of spirituality, with ways to integrate spirituality into the classroom, and with the rendering of spirituality as a meaningful concept for practitioners, students, and researchers. But social work and education have many commonalities in areas of engagement with children, families, and communities. For the first time, this book brings together these two professional disciplines for interdisciplinary discussions that advance our knowledge in the broad area of “spirituality.”
The book’s three sections reflect broad topic areas created to facilitate dialogue between the contributors, all of whom have established expertise in exploring spirituality in both fields. The first section of the book explores the historical and theoretical underpinnings of spirituality in education and social work. Examination of our respective heritages uncovers the religious roots within our professions and reveals a present understanding of spirituality that calls for active engagement in challenging oppression and working toward social justice. The second section shifts the focus to the pedagogical implications of incorporating spirituality into higher-education classrooms. The differing levels of acceptance and the tensions that come from including spirituality, implicitly or explicitly, in the programs and coursework in our respective faculties are illuminated by authors in both professions. The final section explores issues related to practising and teaching in the field from a spiritually sensitive perspective.
Janet Groen is an associate professor in adult learning in the Faculty of Education at the University of Calgary. Her research focus on spirituality began with her doctoral dissertation, The Experiences and Practices of Adult Educators of Their Workplaces. She has published articles in the Journal of Transformative Education, The Canadian Journal for Studies in Adult Education, and Teaching in Higher Education.
Diana Coholic is an associate professor at Laurentian University. Her current research program investigates the effectiveness of holistic arts-based group methods for the improvement of resilience. She is the author of Arts Activities for Children and Young People in Need: Helping Children to Develop Mindfulness, Spiritual Awareness and Self-Esteem (2010).
John R. Graham is Murray Fraser Professor of Community Economic Development, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. He is the author, with A. Al-Krenawi, of Helping Professional Practice with Indigenous Peoples: The Bedouin-Arab Case (2009) and editor, with J. Coates and B. Schwartzentruber, of Canadian Social Work and Spirituality: Current Readings and Approaches (2007).