Worldview Matters

According to Godawa (2009) – “Everybody operates on a philosophy of life, a worldview that defines for them the way the world works and how they know things and how they ought to behave… In this sense, everyone is a philosopher; some are just more aware of it than others”. Anderson, Clark & Naugle (2017) agree, suggesting that everyone has a worldview, even if it has not been formulated into “intelligible propositions or coherent narratives”. Having a worldview would seem to be universal in humankind – including all the teachers and all the students in our schools.

This means that teachers, especially if they are highly-regarded by their students, may consciously or unconsciously help to shape the worldviews their students are still in the process of developing. Of course, in the context of Religion and Values Education (RaVE), this may be deliberate, and should be made quite clear. In the context of Religious Education, it is quite appropriate that there should be a contest of ideas or, as Goheen & Bartholomew (2008) describe it, “a missionary encounter, a clash between the biblical story and the cultural story”. Teachers of other subjects, however, need to take care that no bias or prejudice from their personal worldview is communicated to students as truth, rather than opinion. This is particularly the case when, in the context of a classroom or a pastoral care situation, the conversation turns to questions of ethics or character and values.