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Title: On becoming educators of the cross : a faithful Christian response to pupil disaffection
Author: Barclay, Aileen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2672 5026
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis has examined the phenomenon of pupil disaffection in State Schools in Scotland from a Christian perspective.  From an overview of literature concerned with pupil disaffection, I noted the absence of theological studies concerned with the phenomenon in the UK.  Therefore, I located the study within the discipline of practical theology, developing a critical correlative practical theology model as the framework to guide the research.

I undertook research into the retrospectively reported lived experience of six young people who experienced disaffection at school, and who, after a ten year gap from leaving school, re-engaged with education.  Having selected hermeneutic phenomenology as both methodology and method, but within my theological framework, I interviewed the young people and utilised Hans Georg Gadamer’s principles of prejudice, horizons of understanding and the hermeneutic circle to gain a deeper understanding of the stories told to me.  Having given voice to those so disaffected as a first step I compared and contrasted the themes that emerged from their firsthand accounts with educational literature. To deepen my understanding of the meaning of pupil disaffection, I similarly compared and contrasted the research themes through a theological lens.

Using Martin Luther’s theology of the cross, I reconstructed the lived experiences of my research participants within a framework where power and authority turn out to have quite a different meaning to understandings within State Education. I noted that a great deal of educational thought can be viewed as a theology of glory in a world where little significance is given to the vulnerable God of the cross.

Having urged Christian teachers to become educators of the cross, I introduced the concept of “bearing witness” to explore how they might begin to address the education system to find new ways of responding to disaffection. Central to my understanding of what it means to “bear witness” as a Christian teacher, is the practice of Christian hospitality.

Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education ; Theology, Practical ; Teacher-Student relationships ; Education (Christian theology)