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Teachers’ experiences of spirituality in Swiss secular high schools – an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Thomas Wartenweiler
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2/10/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Beliefs and Values
Issue number4
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)414-429
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date4/10/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Spirituality in education is a contested topic. This is certainly true for Switzerland where there has been avid media-led debate about teacher religiosity/spirituality and their influence on educational practices. This puts highly spiritual Swiss teachers in a dilemma: How can they integrate their spirituality in the classroom without causing controversy? The present study used the qualitative method of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). A repeat-interview process allowed for in-depth analysis and interpretation of the subjective lived experience of six Swiss secondary school teachers’ religious spirituality and its influence on their teaching practices. The key findings of this study were that spirituality is an important protective factor as well as a potent coping strategy for highly spiritual teachers. Spirituality is a key aspect of their teacher identity, but they implement spirituality often only through covert or indirect ways in the classroom. While they would wish to be able to implement it more directly, they feel that this is often not permissible. They perceive spirituality as a taboo topic in Swiss education and actively suppress aspects of it.