Psychological Aspects Of Spiritual And Moral Self-Consciousness Of Teachers

Abstract

The article discusses the results of empirical research, characterizes the specifics of spiritual and moral self-consciousness of the teachers' personality when introducing changes and innovations in the education system. The study of spiritual and moral self-consciousness used a valid and reliable method to consider all the components of the phenomenon under study. The research is based on I.V. Ezhov's theoretical and empirical approach to the problem of spirituality, spiritual and moral self-consciousness. The purpose of the study is to identify the specifics of teachers' spiritual and moral self-consciousness. The empirical research results revealed that the set of characteristics of the attitude-behaviour component of spiritual and moral self-consciousness, motivational-value, self-esteem and cognitive-ontological components forms the religious, secular and egopragmatic type of spiritual and moral self-consciousness of teachers. Each type of spiritual and moral self-consciousness has its specific features and characteristics. Teachers with religious spiritual and moral self-awareness are characterized by cognitive and altruistic motives in their work, and they have clearly expressed humanist value orientations. Teachers with secular spiritual and moral self-consciousness strive to coexist with others in a kind manner and assume responsibility for personal life events. Teachers with a strong self-centered self-consciousness attribute the events, successes and failures of their life to the degree of their own activity and not to fortune or providence.

Keywords: Egopragmatic self-consciousnesspersonal self-consciousnessreligious spiritual and moral self-consciousnessspiritual and moral self-consciousnesssecularspiritual and moral self-consciousness

Introduction

At the current stage of society's development, education is becoming a major and central area of human activity, closely connected with all other aspects of social life. The role of all actors in the educational process is also changing due to changes in the methodological basis of education. The system of modern education, based on the concept of spiritual and moral development and education of the Russian citizen's personality, implies a certain moral sample of the teacher himself. The teacher's morality, the moral norms that guide him in his professional activity and life are of paramount importance for the spiritual and moral development and education of students. Modern pedagogical systems prioritize the spiritual and moral development of the individual, but educational and training programs will not be effective if the teacher is not the main sample of moral and civic personal behaviour for students.

Problem Statement

Thus, the change in the role of a teacher as a subject of professional activity determines the relevance and importance of research on the spiritual and moral self-consciousness of teachers' personality.

Research Questions

The problem of spiritual and moral development of the personality is currently one of the topical issues in the system of scientific psychological and pedagogical knowledge, as well as in practical psychological activities. The article investigates various spiritual and moral aspects of a personality, its aspirations, needs and directions of development aimed at the satisfaction of social requirements that regulate human behaviour and activity and include cognitive, emotional-voluntary and behavioural areas. The main researchers dealing with this problem are Asmolov (2008), Zinchenko (2006), Koval (2011), Aldoshina (2019), Kornienko (2014), Kudinov and Belousova (2016).

Today, there are various approaches to defining such concepts as "spirituality" and "morality". The theological approach to interpreting the meaning of the term "spiritual" suggests that the term is consistent with the term "religious". The concept of "spiritual" in the sense of the world of transcendental Divine existence is interpreted as "relating to another world". According to Bratus (2019): "...vectors and lines, which are closely connected in psychology and religion, are correlated". Bratus (2019) said that faith is the subject of consideration of intersecting vectors and lines. Thus, "...faith is undoubtedly a psychological fact, a prerequisite for implementation, the necessary support, a condition of complexly organized human activity" (p. 234). In the scientist's opinion, there is a close connection with meaning-making. The human being's present is determined by the meanings of life, which arise from the living images of the future.

Discussing the problem of spirituality, I.A. Ilyin, the religious philosopher, writer and publicist, correlates the concepts of spirituality and faith in God. He says that "by believing in God, a human being creates his real life center and builds his soul from it, thus, he becomes a living spiritual unity, with a single center and an unstoppable structure: he becomes mature and complete spiritual character". But spiritual growth is possible only when a person is free in his faith. So, I.A. Ilyin introduces the concept of "freedom" and speaks of freedom outside and inside.

In his study, V.M. Kondratyev notes that the concept of "spirituality" includes a personal property and a characteristic of personal orientation. This is a basic characteristic of behavioural activity, i.e., a psychological concept linked by content to the categories of humanity, empathy, and morality.

According to S. Krymsky, spirituality is a human self-construction. This means that there is an ascent to the highest value orientations of building the personality and its mentality.

According to Nikitina (2008), "Spirituality is a qualitative characteristic of the consciousness and self-consciousness of a person, which reflects the integrity and harmony of its inner world. And also, it includes the ability to go beyond themselves and harmonize their relations with the world around them". Opinion of Russian philosophers, such as I.A. Ilyin, V. S. Solovyov, G. V. Fedotov gives the author grounds to believe that the higher spirituality cannot exist without soulfulness, i.e. responsiveness, emotional sensitivity, and also without emotional response, which includes pity, love to neighbor, compassion.

Many researchers say that the spiritual aspect is nothing more than a structural component of self-consciousness. There is also an opinion of scientists that the spiritual aspect is system-forming in the structure of self-consciousness. So, according to W. James, there are three components of personality consciousness:

  • physical, revealing material and biological needs;

  • social, including social needs and personal qualities;

  • spiritual, including intellectual, moral, religious aspirations, sense of moral, mental superiority, conscientiousness, guilt, etc.).

W. James believes that a spiritual person is "a union of individual states of consciousness, specifically taken spiritual abilities and properties.

According to domestic researchers, the subject represents an opportunity for a person to realize a conscious free choice (Ezhov, 2008a, 2008b, 2008c; Kundozerova et al., 2010). This choice shifts from the individual-biological to the social and spiritual-moral level of self-regulation of the personality in general. In his study, B. D. Shadrikov tried to understand the depths and the purpose of human beings, the ways of their development, the structure of consciousness, and believed that spirituality, the spiritual states of human beings, spiritual abilities are the central feature of human personality. The ontogenesis of spirituality has its own stages of development and becomes more acute when there are moments of self-awareness of Self in the higher stages of love.

А.А. Huseynov distinguishes two levels of self-consciousness: "sociocultural and spiritual and moral. The socio-cultural level of self-consciousness is the awareness of a human being of his real place in nature and social world. The spiritual and moral level of self-consciousness manifests as self-determination of a human being in time and history. The human being individualizes, realizes himself as he expands his spiritual horizons, the area of responsible judgments to family responsibilities, a new plan of existence. Spiritual and moral self-consciousness is a person's choice. It extends the boundaries of its socio-cultural existence, claiming universality and absoluteness. The subject is the search for the meaning of the ultimate life".

It is important to note that the concept of "spirituality" is much broader than that of "morality", but also much higher. Moral improvement and development is a horizontal movement of the individual allowing realizing the principles of humanity and love for the neighbor. And spirituality is vertical. Life is constantly meeting horizontal and vertical movements, so it is legitimate to talk about spiritual and moral development, which we believe is most effectively implemented in the system of spiritual and moral relations.

One of the leading researchers of the spirituality problem in the modern Russian psychology is N.A. Koval. In his article "Approaches to the psychological interpretation of "spirituality" Koval (2011), says that science has not developed a single definition of this concept, classifies approaches to this issue among researchers. She believes that this is due, on the one hand, to the breadth of the issue itself and, on the other hand, to the diversity of research approaches (p. 23). Koval highlights the following approaches:

  • a needs-information approach, where spirituality means that a person realizes two needs simultaneously: the need to know and the need to do something "for others". P.M. Ershov, T.D. Shaposhnikova (Shaposhnikova et al., 2019, pp. 789), P.V. Simonov, A.V. Petrovsky, G. M. Yaroshevsky stick to this approach;

  • axiological approach, where spirituality is considered the "value content of consciousness" (V.G. Fedotova, M. S. Kagan, Savchenko (2019, pp. 702), T.V. Kholostova, V. D. Didenko);

  • activity approach considers spirituality as a special kind of activity. This approach is represented by I.A. Gaiduchenok, Nikitina (2008, pp. 23), L. I. Kazakova, E. I. Martynova, V. I. Tolstykh;

  • acmeology understands spirituality as a special psychological phenomenon of constant self-improvement, the desire for constant self-development and growth. This view is followed by B.G. Ananyev, A. A. Bodalev;

  • from the standpoint of I.F. Vedin, V.A. Bachinin, T.E. Starchenko, spirituality is a special subjective activity of a personality, which expresses its value attitude to various spheres of life activity.

One of the leading researchers of the problem of spirituality, spiritual and moral self-consciousness in modern Russian psychology is I.V. Ezhov, his methodology is used in research. The author considers spiritual and moral self-consciousness as a psychological structure consisting of four components: cognitive-ontological, motivational-value, attitude-behaviour and self-esteem.

The cognitive-ontological component contains the personality's ideas about the nature of human beings, their spiritual essence, their world viewpoints, belief in the existence of God, soul, good and evil, freedom and justice. The motivational and value component reveals the life-purpose orientations of the personality, its goals and aspirations, determining the direction of human spiritual development. The attitude-behaviour component includes spiritual and moral qualities of the personality, such as kindness, empathy, compassion and volitional qualities: independence, purposefulness, which are the main mechanisms of self-regulation of the personality in the internal and interpersonal space. The self-esteem component allows a person to assess the actual level of his spiritual and moral development and its individual components, to adjust its direction.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to identify the features of spiritual and moral self-consciousness of teachers' personalities.

Research Methods

The study involved 154 teachers between the ages of 25 and 68, all respondents had higher education with 3 to 50 years of experience in the post.

The research of spiritual and moral self-consciousness of a personality employed the method of I.V. Ezhov. This method has a conceptual basis and relies on the author's structural-functional model of spiritual and moral self-consciousness of a person.

The author conducted quantitative analysis using methods of mathematical statistics: descriptive statistics, cluster analysis. (SPSS 22.0 program). The qualitative analysis of the obtained results is based on the comparison, the hierarchy of variables expression and their dominance in the structural organization.

Findings

We cluster respondents according to the proprietary model of spiritual and moral self-consciousness (Figure 1 ).

Teachers with the dominant religious type of spiritual and moral consciousness have low indicators on the scales of public morality (average value is 5.63), purposefulness (average value is 5.71), sincerity (average value is 4.73). The scale of "freedom-dependence" is also low (average value is 5.52). The revealed values testify to the fact that these respondents have ideas about freedom connected with the laws of living nature, i.e. everything that happens in this world should depend on nature, different circumstances, destinies, other people, etc. Besides, these teachers are sure that it is not obligatory to observe social laws, especially if they conflict with religious canons (religious morality where average value is 9.55). Teachers with a predominant religious spiritual and moral consciousness do not express a desire to achieve their goals, they tend to yield, humble themselves, to give in to difficulties and failures.

Figure 1: Indicators of spiritual and moral components of the personality of teachers with different types of spiritual and moral self-consciousness
Indicators of spiritual and moral components of the personality of teachers with different types of spiritual and moral self-consciousness
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The main characteristics of teachers with a strong religious spiritual and moral self-consciousness are high values marked on the scales of "transcendental spiritual Self" (average value is 8.52), "spiritual orientation" (average value is 8.47), "religious morality" (average value is 9.55), "faith in God" (average value is 9.16), "self-confidence" (average value is 8.57), "self-esteem" (average value is 9.55). Teachers express this in their worldviews of the soul, they represent the "Self" as a spiritual essence. They have main cognitive and altruistic and clearly expressed humanist value orientations. These teachers take religious moral commandments as a basis for their behaviour, which gives them a sense of self-confidence, their rightness, the right to honor their spiritual and moral qualities. In general, we can say that teachers with a religious type of spiritual and moral self-consciousness have high indicators on the scales of attitude-behaviour and self-esteem components. They recognize that the main regulator of their behaviour is stable traditional tenets, this generates the striving for tolerance and acceptance of people around them, the willingness to take responsibility for situations and their own actions. These reasons and the behaviour they cause lead the teachers of this group to accept and evaluate themselves mainly on the positive side, since they compare themselves with a certain constant standard of demonstrated universal virtues that they try to follow. At the same time, they show a disregard for such qualities as empathy and sincerity, whose sources lie in the human spirit and can be modeled in external behaviour. All other indicators of spiritual and moral self-awareness are average among teachers with a strong religious spiritual and moral self-consciousness.

The group of teachers with the most expressed secular spiritual and moral self-consciousness included 50 people. The values of most scales correspond to a high level of expression: belief in a person (average value is 10.14), spiritual orientation (average value is 8.52), public morality (average value is 8.98), empathy (average value is 8.86), kindness (average value is 10.52), responsibility (average value is 10.68), conscientiousness (average value is 9.08), spiritual independence (average value is 9.77), self-criticism (average value is 8.64), and self-esteem (average value is 9.34). The presented values demonstrate the dominance of cognitive and attitude-behaviour components of spiritual and moral self-consciousness in this group of respondents. The low indicators of the spiritual and moral components of the personality include the following data: individual biological "Self" (average value is 4.46), freedom of co-dependence "Self" (average value is 5.38), faith in God (average value is 4.98), sincerity (average value is 4.42), self-pragmatism (average value is 5.14), religious morality (average value is 5.87). All other scales have an average level of severity.

Within the cognitive-ontological component, they have a belief in the infinity of human capabilities, hope for the future, increased spirituality of mankind as a whole, as well as lack of faith in the guidance of human beings by "spiritual" forces. The attitude-behaviour components include the desire to coexist with others in a kind manner and to take responsibility for personal events. They deny anybody else's involvement in the events of human history. Moreover, the incentive mechanisms for such behaviour of these teachers are material and pragmatic orientations, most likely associated with the currently promoted values of hedonistic and egocentric nature. This is also reflected in the low "Sincerity" scale, which shows the inability to be honest with others and with oneself. It follows that a kind attitude may origines from narrowly egoistic motives.

Also, teachers with a strong secular spiritual and moral self-consciousness tend to perceive the "Self" as a set of higher mental processes that provide identity and self-governance of the individual. They believe in a person's spiritual potential, the possibility of personal growth and development, the ability of the person to develop and grow beyond his limits. They are responsible and have no fear to take responsibility for their actions; they tend to feel guilty in situations of violating moral and human norms of relations between people because they strictly treat themselves and capable of critically assessing their behaviour in terms of moral and ethical norms. In controversial and conflict situations, this group tends to rely mainly on its feelings, mind, prefer to make decisions independently, without following the spiritual authority.

The third group of teachers with a strong self-pragmatic self-consciousness included 46 people. Representatives of the cluster with a strong egoopragmatic self-consciousness also demonstrate the most expressed attitude-behaviour and self-esteem components. They quite often turn to religious or universal values in case of interpersonal contradictions, seek to take responsibility for verbal and behavioural acts, demonstrate a kind attitude to the social environment, but, simultaneously, their assessment of themselves as persons is built from the self-critical position based on self-analysis of intentions and actions in this particular life situation. The developed self-criticism of this group of respondents also leads to insufficient development of some aspects of cognitive-ontological component of spiritual and moral self-consciousness. These teachers do not have a categorical embodiment of themselves with a transcendent spirit or biological body, as well as a categorical belief in the existence of God or higher powers. They do not consider providence or heredity responsible for the events in their lives, but attribute both good luck and misses to the degree of their own activity, reflecting the driving forces behind their development.

Based on a comparative analysis of the clusters of respondents with a predominance of different types of spiritual and moral self-consciousness, we can say that all teachers consider kindness and responsibility to be important moral traits, as well as note the presence of these features in themselves. Many psychologists from different fields are interested in the category of responsibility. In the structure of personal self-realization, proposed by Kudinov (2016) correlates responsibility with motivational and conceptual characteristics (p. 81)

Based on the systemic concept of spiritual and moral consciousness of I. V. Ezhov, we singled out the average values on all scales, grouped into components for teachers with different leading types of spiritual and moral self-consciousness. Representatives of the personal or secular-dominated group of spiritual and moral self-consciousness had slightly higher scores on all scales. A statistical analysis of differences revealed the existence of such differences using the Student's t-test. We found reliable differences between groups with an emphasis on religious spiritual and moral self-consciousness and with personal spiritual and moral self-consciousness (t=6.47 at p<0.001), in particular, pointing to higher scores of the second group. There were also convincing differences (t=6.4 at p<0.001) between respondents with egopragmatic self-consciousness and secular self-consciousness, confirming higher scores of the latter. Teachers with religious and self-pragmatic spiritual and moral consciousness also have differences, but these differences do not reach the statistical significance limit.

Due to that the phenomenon of self-consciousness is rather dynamic and can undergo significant changes during the ontogenetic process, we can assume that its qualitative peculiarity with respect to the spiritual and moral component changes at each age stage. This assumption allowed the groups allocated by the clustering to be divided within a relatively conventional age point of 40 years, which represents one of the most difficult midlife crises in human life, associated with the rethinking of the achieved and the reorientation of further life prospects. This division resulted in an almost equal number of persons under 40 and after 40 years of age in each group associated with the dominant type of spiritual and moral self-consciousness. The quantitative analysis disproved this assumption, which was reflected in the same leading and falling features of spiritual and moral self-consciousness of teachers under the age of 40 and after in all selected subgroups. Thus, we can note that the predominance of religious, secular or egopragmatic spiritual and moral self-consciousness is not connected with age-related adult transformations.

Conclusion

Thus, describing the psychological features of spiritual and moral self-consciousness of teachers, we identified and qualitatively characterized their types: teachers with religious, secular spiritual and moral and self-pragmatic consciousness.

Teachers with religious spiritual and moral self-consciousness have cognitive and altruistic motifs, clearly expressed humanistic value orientations. They take religious moral precepts as a basis for their behaviour, which gives them a sense of self-confidence, their rightness, and appreciate their spiritual and moral qualities. Teachers with a secular spiritual and moral consciousness of personality can show a belief in the infinity of human capabilities, hope for the future increase in the spirituality of humanity as a whole. They strive to coexist with others in a kind manner and take responsibility for personal events. Teachers with a strong self-centered consciousness do not have a categorical embodiment of themselves with a transcendent spirit or biological body, as well as a categorical belief in the existence of God or higher powers. They do not consider providence or heredity responsible for the events in their lives, but attribute both good luck and misses to the degree of their own activity, reflecting the driving forces behind their development.

We see the research of peculiarities of self-actualization of teachers with different types of spiritual and moral self-consciousness as a development of this direction.

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

28.12.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.12.04.53

Online ISSN

2357-1330