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.
Diana Coholic is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Laurentian University. Her research is currently investigating the effectiveness of arts-based and mindfulness-based group methods for the development of resilience in young people with high needs. Diana and her research team are invested in creatively disseminating the results of the research. Information can be found on her website: www.dianacoholic.com.