Publication: Relationships between religious-spiritual and professional-ethical beliefs of schoolteachers

Marcus Penthin, Alexander Christ, Stephan Kröner, Manfred Pirner and Annete Scheunpflug have published an article on “Relationships between religious-spiritual and professional-ethical beliefs of schoolteachers” in Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft.


The question of whether personal religious or worldview beliefs of teachers (should) influence their professional thinking and acting has repeatedly been the subject of public controversies. In view of an unsatisfactory state of research on this question, especially in the European context, a project funded by the German Research Association (DFG) investigated correlations between the religiosity or spirituality and professional ethical beliefs of N = 1441 teachers at German schools. Contrary to our preregistered hypotheses, neither religious beliefs nor religious tolerance showed significant variance explanations for aspects of professional ethics in the structural equation models. The spiritual beliefs controlling for religious tolerance explained more variance in all four professional ethics criteria than did the religious beliefs, with the spiritual dimension of “connectedness with others” being particularly salient here. Apparently, it is not so much the religious or transcendent-spiritual beliefs of the teachers that have an effect on their professional ethical beliefs, but rather a general altruistic attitude.