CHRISTOPHER BRADLEY (OKINAWA UNIVERSITY)

SPIRITUALITY AND LANGUAGE TEACHING: NARRATIVES OF TWO EDUCATORS : ELT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Spirituality refers to far more than the dangers of religious extremism or the debate on the existence of a divine being that has dominated the bestseller lists (e.g., Dawkins, 2006; Hitchens, 2007). The presenter will discuss life narrative analyses he conducted of two English language instructors on how their spiritual beliefs helped define them personally and professionally. As the psychologist Bruner (1996) has held, life narratives are an important means by which people make sense of the complex events shaping their existence. One of the two teachers the presenter interviewed was an avowed atheist based in Thailand, whereas the other educator, living in Japan, professed a liberal version of Christianity. In spite of the rather divergent spiritual life stories and convictions of these two participants, both acknowledged that their worldviews inspired them to try to teach in a holistic and compassionate matter.

Christopher Bradley is an associate professor of English based in Okinawa, Japan. Originally hailing from Ottawa, Canada, he has called Japan home for over 25 years. He holds a doctorate in education from Temple University and has extensively researched links between spirituality and teacher development.