Whose model of spirituality should be used in the spiritual development of school children?

Jacqueline Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores ten personal descriptions of spirituality collected through in-depth, semi-structured interviews with people from across a range of religious and non-religious backgrounds. It examines some of the commonalties and differences of understanding within those descriptions. It argues that the interviewees' descriptions of spirituality were essentially diverse because each was grounded in the beliefs of the individual. The paper further argues that education for spiritual development tends to ignore diversity in understandings of spirituality. Instead education for spiritual development currently favours a naturalistic, or secular humanist model of spirituality based in shared human experience. The paper concludes that a recognition of diversity in understandings of spirituality should call into question the validity of education for spiritual development in state schools, where the acceptance of plurality of beliefs must be paramount.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-101
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Children's Spirituality
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2000

Cite this