Romanian Orthodox Christian teachers' personal and professional development: the role of significant others. An auto/biographical study

PhD Thesis

Amaximoaie, C. 2021. Romanian Orthodox Christian teachers' personal and professional development: the role of significant others. An auto/biographical study. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of teacher Education
AuthorsAmaximoaie, C.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy

This study explores the role of significant others in shaping and developing Romanian Orthodox Christian teachers’ personal and professional identities. I examine how relationships established between children and their significant others (parents or primary carers) may affect their personal adult lives and professional identity development. This study also explores the role of the spiritual father as a significant other in Romanian teachers’ personal and professional development.

The exploration of the lived lives of Romanian Orthodox Christian teachers requires the collection of rich and thick experience. Therefore, I took an auto/biographical approach to the interviews. By recognising the individual uniqueness of teachers’ lived lives, alongside the influence of personal and professional past and present experiences, my role as a researcher has been to give meanings to other teaching colleagues’ experiences through my own experiences.

The findings show that the impact of parents and the spiritual father is more complex than previously thought. The spiritual father’s influence is found to be determined by the degree in which both the spiritual father and children are involved in the relationship. The findings also show that the relationship between a spiritual father and an Orthodox Christian is built around shared spiritual experiences. A spiritual father “shares” his spiritual experience through the way in which he approaches his spiritual children, and spiritual children share their spiritual experiences through naming them to their spiritual father. Therefore, the relationship changes the lives of both, having as primary aim the influence on teachers’ perspective on their lives and their profession.

The findings have implications for Romanian Orthodox Christian teachers’ professional development, concluding that professional development is not a simple cause and effect model suitable for all teachers. Importantly, for the particular case of the Romanian Orthodox Christian teachers, it arises in relationship with their spiritual experiences as a result of a personal and deep relationship with their spiritual father.

KeywordsRomanian Orthodox Christian teachers'; Personal development; Professional development; Role of significant other
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Deposited16 May 2022
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