Monday, 2 July 2007

Spiritual dimensions of informal learning

via Big Dog,Little Dog

I found the title very strange, uneasy in fact.

To make sure I understand the meaning of "spiritual", I googled:

Definitions of spiritual on the Web:

* religious: concerned with sacred matters or religion or the church; "religious texts"; "a member of a religious order"; "lords temporal and spiritual"; "spiritual leaders"; "spiritual songs"
* concerned with or affecting the spirit or soul; "a spiritual approach to life"; "spiritual fulfillment"; "spiritual values"; "unearthly love"
* lacking material body or form or substance; "spiritual beings"; "the vital transcendental soul belonging to the spiritual realm"-Lewis Mumford
* a kind of religious song originated by Blacks in the southern United States
* apparitional: resembling or characteristic of a phantom; "a ghostly face at the window"; "a phantasmal presence in the room"; "spectral emanations"; "spiritual tappings at a seance"

Without seeing the original paper (a link was provided, but that gets to nowhere), I reread the post again.

Please someone enlighten me. I just cannot see the connection between "spiritual" and "informal learning".
The main argument of the author is that informal learning can foster a (a) strong sense of self, (b) concern and outreach to others, and (c) continuous construction of meaning and knowledge.

"can foster"??? How? Why?

It was like attending a church service sometime ago when I was in Hongkong with my little sister (she is no longer little, she is the youngest thro'). I found the priest inter-posing some of his life experience with some text from the Bible. I just cannot see the connection. His life experience in no way support the truth (or lack of) in the reference Biblical text. The Biblical text support (or lack of) his life experience too.

Disclaimer: My primary school is a Christian school, my secondary a Catholic and I have taught in a Buddhist school for over 15 years.


Katalyst said...

The way I understand spiritual is connected to a later passage in Mauro Cherubini's blog on the 'spiritual' dimension of informal learning where he writes:“The search [for] meaning is bound up in the understanding of everyday life. It involves a realization that life is greater than our sphere of influence.”
It has to do with moving beyond the self in ways that require both perception and faith (cognitive and intuitive skills) at the same time. In ages past, this region on a map would be marked 'here be dragons' to designate the unknown (believed dangerous) or unexplored region into which no one has yet ventured.
I'm currently reading Dorothy Mackeracher's book, Making Sense of Adult Learning in which she discusses five aspects of learning, the spiritual being one of them as a dimension beyond mind and body. I would venture to say that the spiritual can foster the items you question because it requires moving beyond self and informal learning can foster those dispositions because it is not prescriptive in the same way some Christian (and other) traditions interpret the use of 'will' (choice, volition) as the key element for honoring God. Oswald Chambers' 1874-1917) My Utmost For His Highest sheds light on this connection. I hope this helps.

Albert Ip said...

Perhaps being an atheist, I resent referring to reflection to the boarder meaning of life as "spiritual". The danger of faith (in a personal god) is the giving up of evidence-based investigation. Drawing upon the rich life experience of adult and focusing on meta-learning do not necessarily have to invoke "faith".