På spaning efter livets mening. Om livsfrågor och livsåskådning hos äldre grundskoleelever i en undervisningsmiljö som befrämjar kunskapande

Detta är en avhandling från Department of Educational Research, Box 23501, S-200 45 Malmö, Sweden Tel: 040-325000; 325134 fax: 040-325210

Sammanfattning: This dissertation makes up the first report based on data collected during the project "Teenagers: aspects of their life style and attitudes" (Tonåringens livssituation och livstolkning) in the subject Religious Studies taken by pupils attending Year 9 during the 1993/94 school year. The general aim of the study is to discover the central values of life which pupils hold, as expressed in an essay on what is worth striving for in life. The focus for the study is to (1) show the direction and character of the pupils’ central values of life, (2) investigate how consistent or diverse these ideas are amongst the pupils, and (3) develop a form of teaching designed to stimulate pupils to reflect on questions of an existential nature, and subsequently to use their reflections in the teaching of the subject Religious Studies. The investigation shows: (i) That older pupils express a strong love of the family, a trust in education, a leaning towards a value-rational work ethic, developed and reflective thought processes on existential questions, a clearly articulated foundation of values, and a belief in the future which generates an ambition to act accordingly. The pupils do, however, find it easier to approach such problems from an anthropological rather than ontological perspective. (ii) That girls often write longer and more emotionally in their essays than boys. The investigation shows a consensus on common ideas, but also a diversity which creates a demand for teaching adapted to the individual. The pupils’ alternative viewpoints also hint at a possible future change of values on existential questions. The study shows that the pupils means of expressing their ideas is dependent on their age, but it also reveals much in common with earlier studies on younger children. One can, however, note a difference in quality in older pupils in this study, owing to the fact that they possess a greater ability to express their reflective thinking. (iii) That a consistently followed programme of teaching based on the pupils’ own ideas gives rise to good possibilities of knowledge acquisition in the compulsory-school subject Religious Studies, and that a democratic and pupil-active method of teaching increases pupils’ involvement in and motivation for the subject.

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