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Mental health, the sacred, and embodied wisdom: Contemplations on the wholeness and well-being of children

  • Author / Creator
    Krahn, Mandy Jane
  • Mental health concerns are on the rise in Canada and worldwide. The World Health Organization predicts that by the year 2030 depressive disorders will be the leading cause of the global burden of disease (World Federation for Mental Health, 2012). Eurocentric medical models rooted in modern and post-modern paradigms focus on discourses of health that prioritize physical and mental aspects of being, often disregarding emotional and spiritual aspects altogether. The discourse surrounding mental health in schools shifts by contemplating the pedagogical implications of children’s expressions and understandings of wholeness and well-being from a lens that honours spiritual ways of knowing and being. This study was conducted over an entire school year with a group of ten grade four and five students, honouring the ethic of relationality and ongoing connection essential in carrying out research with children that values their inner wisdom. As an important contribution to the educational literature, five distinct methods (of approaching, making, collecting, analyzing, and expressing data) were made use of (in overlapping ways) while working with the children. The methodology of life writing is drawn upon as a way to share student stories alongside my own and those prevalent in North American society today. The purpose of this research is to offer insight into how we as educators might more comprehensively consider the lives of the students in our midst, valuing them as four-part people—at once physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual beings. The spirit and intent of this study is to provide educators and administrators with theoretical and practical insights on how we might best serve our students as they experience life in its fullness while contributing to a new paradigm in educational research. This research responds to the question, “What are the pedagogical implications of children’s expressions and understandings of well-being and wholeness?” May we not seek to simplify the answers, but continue to expand the questions.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2021
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-btjj-jm38
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.