Research suggests that students are more interested than faculty in addressing spirituality in the classroom. This study tested the extent to which professors could meet student demand for greater attention to spirituality in their classes without sacrificing rigor and student learning. Previous research done at Brigham Young University (BYU) identified three areas of focus that are important to implementing spirituality into the classroom: 1) Professor Self-Disclosure, 2) Intellectual Connections, and 3) Interpersonal Connections. Research on the integration of faith and learning also supports these focus areas. Two BYU professors from different colleges were recruited for participation in this study. After teaching as they normally would for 30-minutes (the control condition), the professors were prepared to incorporate these focus areas into four experimental conditions (one for each focus area and one that combined all focus areas). A sample of 203 student participants were recruited to attend the different teaching sessions, fill out a questionnaire about their perception of the teaching quality, and take a retention examination on the material taught by the professor. An Exploratory Factor Analysis of the Teacher Rating Questionnaire showed that a three-factor pattern would be best to use in data analysis as it explained 89% of the variance in student responses. Based on the items that grouped together, those factors were labeled as General Teaching Skills, Openness and Respect, and Spirituality. A 5 (condition) X 2 (professor) factorial MANOVA—using the three extracted factors as dependent variables—indicated that there were significant main effects and an interaction. ANOVA and post hoc follow-ups revealed that professor ratings on General Teaching Skills and Spirituality greatly improved after the preparation; however, ratings also depended on the professor. A factorial ANOVA also revealed that student retention scores did not significantly differ from the control condition to the experimental conditions, but insufficient power suggests this finding should be interpreted with caution. It is concluded that applying a pedagogical preparation such as used in this study can be a useful tool in educating willing faculty to successfully implement spirituality and improve their general teaching skills.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Hiatt, Matthew Alan, "An Assessment of the Effects of Spiritual and Relational Teaching on Student Learning" (2016). Theses and Dissertations. 5698.
spirituality, relationality, higher education, integration of faith and learning, student learning, pedagogy