Education in the neo-Calvinist Reformed Christian tradition, the meaning of a religious worldview and philosophy for the practice of education

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Taylor, David Mark
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In Canada, the schools of Christian Schools International (CSI) constitute the largest affiliated group of Christian schools other than Roman Catholic ones. These schools are founded upon the Neo-Calvinist Reformed religious philosophical tradition. The purpose of this qualitative research project was to explore the relationship between philosophy and practice in the CSI schools. The question guiding the study was: What impact does it have to consciously educate under the direction of a religious educational philosophy? How is educational practice shaped by the adherence of the participants to their religious worldview? Eight educators from Western Canada in the CSI school movement were interviewed regarding their perceptions of the relationship between their religious philosophy and the practice of education. The themes that were identified were considered individually and against grounded theory on the philosophy and practice of religious institutions found in Don S. Browning's 'A Fundamental Practical Theology.' It was found that education under the direction of a religious educational philosophy gives rise to practices infused with distinctive meaning that sustain the vision of the educational community. There was discovered a fairly strong propensity to frame all practice in religious terms. The philosophy was found to undergo some changes in the manner of expression as the schools faced societal change and changes in constituency. The philosophy was also found to be important to the educators in providing benchmarks or reference points to locate and direct their practice.