Modern language pedagogy, spiritual development and Christian faith : a study of their interrelationships
This thesis sets out to investigate the relationship between the design of modern language pedagogy, spiritual development in the school context, and Christian faith. It does so in the context of recent discussions of spiritual development across the curriculum, and draws upon literature on faith-learning integration emerging from the evangelical and Reformed Christian traditions. Part one of the thesis develops a framework within which the interconnections between these areas can be examined. Negatively, a range of objections to establishing a relationship between Christian faith on the one hand and spiritual development and modern language teaching methodology on the other are countered. Positively, the structure of teaching 'methodology' and the roles of control beliefs, spiritual virtues and metaphor in shaping an approach to teaching are elucidated. Five 'significant themes' in Christian reflection on the nature of the human person are discussed in terms of their theological centrality, pedagogical relevance and distinctive contribution to a view of the learner as a spiritual being. Hospitality to the alien is proposed as a metaphor which could fruitfully inform modern language learning. Part two of the thesis examines three modern language pedagogies using the framework developed in part one. The version of communicative language teaching implicit in the National Curriculum for Modern Foreign Languages, the humanistic pedagogy of Charles A. Curran (Community Language Learning), and the critical pedagogy of Claire Kramsch are explored in turn for points of connection or tension with spiritual development and Christian faith. The thesis concludes that a Christian conception of the learner's spiritual development does lead to identifiable modifications in the design of modern language pedagogy. The thesis has implications for how modern language pedagogy is understood, for how spiritual development is approached across the curriculum, and for discussions of the relationship between religion and education in school settings.