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How students experience their Christian faith in the public high school: a narrative study


This study was a result of professional experience working with Christian students in a public high school and how they integrated their Christian faith into the academic, social/emotional, and career domains identified in the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) model. In addition the researcher's personal reflection about her Christian worldview influenced her professionally and personally as well as enabled her to gain knowledge and understanding of her beliefs and values. With narrative inquiry it is imperative that the researcher possesses the same background knowledge in order to fully understand the experiences of the interviewees and in return write their story with fidelity by keeping their voice central to the research. In the school counseling literature spirituality is considered important and worthy of exploration; however, researchers encourage school counselors to view it as "meaning making" rather than in a religious context. That said, counselors are encouraged to incorporate spirituality into a Comprehensive School Counseling Program as long as religion is kept separate. The researcher chose narrative inquiry to share the stories of four Christian students' experiences in a public high school. These students share their Christian upbringing and how a variety of micro-systems including family, church, youth camps and other religious activities, and peers influenced their faith. The students share how they integrated their faith into the classroom; relationships with faculty, peers, boyfriend or girlfriend; extracurricular activities; decision making; and coping. In addition three of the four students shared their experiences transitioning into higher education. Their individual stories are presented in letter format with a composite interpretation of the four stories. The researcher shares her findings with three audiences including the research community, professional colleagues, and the students' parents. The researcher's hope is these audiences will listen to these four students' experiences related to their Christian walk in a public high school and gain an understanding and appreciation for their Christian worldview. Equally important is that readers engage in personal reflection of their own worldview and how this impacts how they work and relate to the students they teach, counsel, and or raise.


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school counseling
high school


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