Existing evidence suggests a compelling link between the spirituality and wellbeing of young people (Benson & Roehlkepartain, 2008; Holder, Coleman, & Wallace, 2010; Marques, Lopez, & Mitchell, 2013; Rew & Wong, 2006). In light of this it is notable that in a recent ARC research exploring student wellbeing in Australian Catholic schools (Graham et al., 2014), the students made very few references to spirituality or religion as contributing to their wellbeing. Instead, aspects of recognition, including the importance of relationships and opportunities to enact their agency, genuinely participate, and ‘have a say’ emerged overwhelmingly as the key factors influencing student wellbeing at school (Anderson & Graham, 2016; Graham, Powell, Thomas, & Anderson, 2016; Graham, Powell, & Truscott, 2016). The absence of data surrounding spirituality suggests that students do not readily connect the ethos, values and religious practices of the Catholic school system as contributing to their subjective sense of wellbeing. This contrasts somewhat with the beliefs of many of the school staff in the study, particularly principals, who described the way the Catholic school ethos uniquely shapes culture and pastoral care in a way that offers enhanced opportunities to support student wellbeing. It would appear, therefore, that there is some disparity between student and staff views on spirituality and wellbeing within Australian Catholic schools. This suggests the need to explore different ways of approaching spirituality and spiritual development at school, both to help enliven students’ spiritual engagement and enhance current efforts at improving student wellbeing.
|Place of Publication||Lismore, NSW|
|Publisher||Centre for Children and Young People, Southern Cross University|
|Commissioning body||Catholic Schools Office, Lismore|
|Number of pages||88|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|