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Article
Publication date: 4 June 2018

Angeline Villanueva Yang, Marilee Bresciani Ludvik, Caren L. Sax, Sylvia Garcia-Navarrete, Wendy Bracken, J. Luke Wood and Charles Iyoho

The purpose of this paper is to explore whether attention, emotion, and cognitive regulation (CR) may be strategies to advance one’s ethnic identity.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore whether attention, emotion, and cognitive regulation (CR) may be strategies to advance one’s ethnic identity.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is presented in three parts. The first section discusses integrative inquiry (INIQ) (Bresciani Ludvik et al., 2016), a mindfulness methodology and mindful inquiry training program, as a potential pathway to help mitigate stress and enhance healthy development and well-being strategies that combat stressors related to ethnic and racial identity; and increase opportunities for positive ethnic identity development. INIQ was designed to influence areas of the brain associated with attention regulation, emotion regulation, and CR in order to decrease stress and anxiety, and heighten executive functions of undergraduate and graduate students. The second section discusses an exploratory study to see whether INIQ resulted in higher mean scores for participants on their ethnic identity, as assessed by the multigroup ethnic identity measure (Phinney, 1992).

Findings

The results indicated that there was a significant increase in pre-test and post-test scores for mindfulness (p=0.001) as well as the dependent measure for learning exploration (p=0.028) among 30 undergraduate, master’s- and doctoral-seeking students. There was also a non-significant increase for clear understanding (p=0.15) and overall ethnic identity achievement (p=0.387); and non-significant decrease for ethnic belonging (p=0.424).

Originality/value

These findings suggest that INIQ may increase students’ ethnic learning exploration, which is an important process in ethnic identity development (Phinney and Ong, 2007). This study also suggests that INIQ increases mindfulness in participants. The authors conclude with a discussion and recommendations to future INIQ and other diversity centered student support practitioners interested in influencing positive ethnic identity formation.

Details

Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2397-7604

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 4 June 2018

Marilee Bresciani Ludvik

Abstract

Details

Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2397-7604

Content available
Article
Publication date: 4 June 2018

Shannon Irene Nolan-Arañez and Marilee Bresciani Ludvik

Similar to religion, spirituality is considered a private affair along with issues of faith, hope, and love (Palmer, 1998). American public education has been reluctant to…

Abstract

Purpose

Similar to religion, spirituality is considered a private affair along with issues of faith, hope, and love (Palmer, 1998). American public education has been reluctant to address such issues due to our cultural norm of “separation of church and state” (Love and Talbot, 2000, p. 1) yet the American Council for Education calls upon higher education to provide students ways to explore their personal values, world beliefs, and spirituality (Chickering et al., 2006; Dalton and Crosby, 2006). As such, the purpose of this paper is to explore student leaders’ perspectives on how leadership development activities influenced their sense of spirituality.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative case study design was used to explore responses from ten student leaders who completed a leadership development program in the Spring 2015 at a public four-year institution. As part of the leadership development program, students were paired a peer mentor while they completed leadership workshops, a reflection paper, self-assessment, and an ongoing community service project painting murals with individuals who have intellectual disabilities. Participants were from various majors and religious backgrounds and had completed the leadership development program two months prior to their participation in this study.

Findings

Findings revealed that leadership workshops, self-assessment, reflections, peer-to-peer mentorship, and an ongoing shared community service project, influenced students’ perspectives of spirituality and their leadership identity. Student leaders both did and did not differentiate the developmental process of leadership from the spiritual development process, defining both as cognitive and emotional development deeply grounded in self-awareness. Study participants shared that through self-reflection, developing their inter and intra personal skills through conducting service, shaped their understanding of their spiritual identity and developed their sense of self.

Research limitations/implications

Study results are not generalizable but provide insight into the experiences and perceptions of student leaders on two hard-to-define topics: spirituality and leadership. The order of the interview questions may have influenced the thought process leading up to student’s responses connecting spirituality and leadership concepts. Another limitation is that the leadership activities were designed and coordinated by the lead investigator. Hence, there may be findings that were influenced by the investigators’ personal beliefs about leadership. Study participants may have also felt more comfortable discussing their beliefs about spirituality because of their familiarity with the lead investigator.

Practical implications

Results support the notion that non-faith based public institutions may intentionally support the spiritual development of students through the context of leadership development program activities. Approaching spiritual and leadership development through Baxter Magolda’s (2009) theory of self-authorship allows students to experience new activities coupled with personal self-reflection, to deepen their self-understanding, compassion for others, and self-awareness. This learning is an ongoing process that expands as students engage in contemplative practices such as mindfulness training provided through leadership workshops, self-reflection, and peer-to-peer interactions and self-assessment.

Social implications

This case study illustrates that intentionally designed and implemented leadership development programs may cultivate both the spiritual and leadership identities and behaviors of students. Also, this study reveals that spirituality and leadership are not mutually exclusive processes because both are deeply rooted in connecting to our community, connecting to our greater purpose and our higher consciousness about who we are and how we treat others. Hence, this work may support educators develop more compassionate and empathetic students who are agents of positive social change.

Originality/value

This qualitative case study suggests a new framework for public institutions to support students’ leadership and spiritual development through the theoretical framework of self-authorship. As such, educators can stop being fearful about discussing religion, spirituality, and matters of the heart if they use this framework to design leadership developmental activities.

Details

Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2397-7604

Keywords

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