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Title: People's ways of believing : learning processes and faith outcomes
Author: Le Cornu, Alison
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2004
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This study is unique in providing an in-depth analysis of the process of learning when linked to an epistemological authority. Applying this to the Christian tradition, and in particular its faith authorities as identified in its textual sources and ecclesiastical representatives, the thesis demonstrates how these affect a) the processes of learning as identified by Jarvis in his developing model (1987, 1995, 2001); b) the process of internalisation as understood through the construction of personal biographies and selves, and through the act of reflection; and c) the form/content relationship as approached through the concept of learning styles and with reference to Belenky et al's Women's Ways of Knowing (1986). The potential for the ideological and authoritative dimensions of Christian faith to affect learning adversely is something already identified by Hull (1991 [1985]). The study therefore builds on this to demonstrate not only how Christians don't learn, but how they do. In response to a research question which hypothesised that the faith of adult Christians influenced the way they learnt, the inductive analysis of twenty-one semi-structured interviews resulted in the compilation of four distinct 'ways of believing', each of which reveals learning characteristics which the thesis argues are specific to their faith context, confirming hence the hypothesis. An original contribution to knowledge is therefore made in two areas: the field of adult learning in furthering understandings of experiential learning and associated processes, and that of Adult Christian Education in providing a unique analysis of Christian learning. In the context of the latter, its results challenge other studies into the 'form' of faith, notably Fowler's Stages of Faith (1981), as well as theories of theological reflection. In that of the former, student-centred theories of learning able to do justice to the process of internalisation are called for. Subsequent areas of research are therefore identified.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available