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ERIC Number: EJ819881
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Apr
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 43
ISSN: ISSN-1364-436X
Developing Spirituality through the Use of Literature in History Education
Cottingham, Mark
International Journal of Children's Spirituality, v10 n1 p45-60 Apr 2005
This paper demonstrates the significant potential for history teachers to contribute to the development of children's spirituality through the use of literature within the history curriculum. Using four case studies of history teaching in English comprehensive schools, the paper outlines a holistic approach to the subject--drawing upon art and music as well as literature--to foster children's capacity for meaning-making from historical interpretations. The paper argues that history education prepares children for the spiritual by virtue of three elements unique to the subject: First, the subject matter and conceptual content of history provide the context for students to engage with the complexity of questions at the essence of the human condition, establishing a cognitive conflict through which spiritual development is fostered. Second, the subjectivity of historical knowledge allows for the development of a community of ethical enquiry within the classroom through which individuals can explore their own ideas and beliefs as well as those of others. Such enquiry fosters the development of reflexive empathy--the capacity to reflect on one's own life in the light of understanding the lives of others. Third, the subject provides children with a language through which they can articulate their thoughts, beliefs and feelings. The paper argues that these unique elements are significantly strengthened through the complementary use of literature within history lessons, providing a powerful methodology which fosters children's spirituality. (Contains 3 figures and 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 8; Grade 9
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)