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Addressing Cultural Responsive Teaching and African-Americans Assignment

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Addressing Cultural Responsive Teaching and African-Americans Assignment
CHAPTER II
INTRODUCTION
For decades, sociologists and family researchers have explored rituals and their impact on
family identity. How families organize themselves around events that carry special meaning for
the family, and how they communicate with one another about those events, are at the core of
family health and wellbeing. For the purpose of this research study, family rituals, and the
communication that happens during those ritual experiences, are examined for their impact on
how children develop spiritually.
Children’s spiritual development is a relatively new field, as researchers in the United
Kingdom, Australia, and the United States have recently begun to explore spirituality as a human
phenomenon apart from any religious worldview and/or personal faith. In an effort to identify a
non-stage theory on spiritual development, researchers Hay and Nye (1998) proposed relational
consciousness as the theory within which children’s spirituality can be examined with an
adherence to the developmental trajectories of all children, regardless of their age. This theory
assesses children’s sensitivity toward elements of the human experience and upholds children’s
innate capacity for spirituality as evidence of their developmental potential in this domain.
This literature review will provide a brief overview of five definitions and/or variables
for this research study: family communication, family ritual, children’s spirituality, relational
consciousness, and religious education. Family communication theory will aid in interpreting
this study’s findings related to the FRQ’s dimension scores. Literature on family rituals will aid
in interpreting this study’s findings related to the FRQ’s setting scores, and provides a theoretical
understanding for how family identity is experienced within family units. Articles related to
children’s spirituality and relational consciousness will further examine the intersections between
these two phenomena. Finally, a brief review of religious education will aid in interpreting this
study’s findings related to how children’s participation in an organized religion may impact
spiritual development.
LITERATURE REVIEW
Annotated Bib #1—Family Communication
Ho, H. C., Wan, A., Ng, Y., Yew, C., Mui, M., Stewart, S. M., Lam, T. H., & Chan, S. S. (2016).
Happy family kitchen: A community-based research for enhancing family
communication and well-being in Hong Kong. Journal of Family Psychology, 30(6), 752-
762.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a community intervention,
which utilized a positive psychology framework, aimed at modifying meal preparation and
eating practices among high-risk families in Hong Kong in order to improve family
communication. Ho, et al. (2016) sought to shift family time in the kitchen from routine to ritual,
and found statistically significant success in improving family communication, family wellbeing, and subjective happiness measures. The sample included 1,419 individuals representing
612 families. Following is the demographic information of the sample: (1) residents of Yuen
Long, Hong Kong, which has the highest prevalence rate of domestic violence, including child
abuse and spouse battering; (2) Chinese-literate participants; (3) 65% women; (4) 19% = 6 to 9
years, 19% = 10 to 13 years, 2.8% = 14 to 17 years, 1.1% = 18 to 24 years, 8.4% = 25 to 34
years, 24.4% = 35 to 44 years, 11.7% = 45 to 54 years, 2.2% = 55 to 59 years, 1.8% = 60 to 64
years, 9.6% = 65 years and older; and (5) 46.6% with primary level education, 42.3% with
secondary level education. The primary research question explored whether modifying cooking
and dining practices can increase meaningful interactions, positive emotions, and mutual support
(p. 753) among at-risk families living in Yuen Long, Hong Kong. The findings that closely
relate to this research topic (Family Rituals and Children’s Spirituality) include an enhancement
in family communication when mealtimes are marked as ritual and filled with meaning for each
family member, and an increase in overall well-being across five themes of family life (p. 758).
These findings are helpful for this study’s research on the relationship between family rituals and
young children’s spiritual development, especially as it includes rich family communication
patterns that promote and clarify family identity. One of the most useful implications from this
study include the “positive results in the gratitude and happiness themes” (p. 759), which are
similar markers from the Children’s Spiritual Sensitivity Scale” (Stoyles, et al., 2012). Ho, et
al.’s study is one of the first that looked at one manifestation of family ritual (mealtime) and
applied intervention for improving family health and well-being. The implications for improved
personal gratitude and happiness, especially given that nearly one-fifth of participants are young
children, is promising for researchers exploring how family communication patterns that happen
during shared rituals impact the spiritual development of children, including their relational
consciousness and awareness of others and how their own lives intersect with other people in
their lives.
Annotated Bib #2—Family Communication
Amirshamsi, E., Fazel, A., & Hosseini, S. M. (2016). Forecast welfare psychological wellbeing
of children based on child rearing methods by parents and family communication
patterns. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, 7(1), 5-8.
The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between psychological wellbeing of children based on family communication patterns. The authors assumed that
quantitative and qualitative processes in family communication will impact the “formation of
personality and mental health of children,” especially due to the family having a “significant role
in shaping the character” of children (p. 5). The sample included 100 children who were the
offspring of 196 employees of Azad University of Educational Sciences in Marvdasht, Iran. The
children were between the ages of 12 and 17 years, part of a convenience sampling, and
completed three questionnaires related to family communication and psychological well-being.
The primary research question explored whether parenting style and family communication
patterns impacted children’s well-being. The findings that closely relate to this research topic
(Family Rituals and Children’s Spirituality) include the significant correlation between
conformity family communication patterns and children’s well-being. These findings are helpful
for this study’s research on the relationship between family rituals and young children’s spiritual
development because they suggest that when children receive clearly communicated messages of
family identity and cohesion, they experience an increase in overall well-being, which
necessarily includes spiritual development and health. One of the most useful implications from
this study is the impact on family life educators and therapists. How are professionals educating
families toward clear communication patterns so that each member feels a sense of belonging
and cohesion?
Annotated Bib #3—Family Communication
Schrodt, P., Ledbetter, A. M., Ohrt, J. K. (2007). Parental confirmation and affection as
mediators of family communication patterns and children’s mental well-being. The
Journal of Family Communication, 7(1), 23-46.
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between family
communication patterns and children’s mental well-being. The researchers used three
instruments for this quantitative study: Revised Family Communication Patterns (RCFP; Koerner
& Fitzpatrick, 2002b), Parent Confirmation Behavior Indicator (PCBI; Ellis, 2002), and
Affectionate Communication Index (ACI; Floyd & Morman, 1998). The sample consisted of
567 young adult children, including 246 men and 321 women, from 18 to 36 years in age, and
86% White (P. 29-30). The primary research question was whether “family conversation
orientations would be positively associated with young adult children’s mental health and wellbeing” (p. 34), which the researchers previously identified as a gap in literature because little “is
known concerning specific parental communication behaviors that might mediate the associates
among family communication patterns and child outcomes, such as well-being” (p. 24). The
findings indicate that family communication patterns mediate the effects on children’s mental
health, and support previous research that family communication patterns may be the most
significant factor in ensuring mental health in children (p. 39). This is helpful information for
this research study (Family Rituals and Children’s Spirituality) because it supports this
researcher’s assumptions about the value and significance of home-based communication as it
occurs during family rituals, and how that communication impacts children’s development. In
conclusion, Schrodt, Ledbetter, and Ohrt contend that conversation and conformity orientations
in family communication patterns play a crucial role in family functioning, including the
“development of healthy, well-functioning children” (p. 43). Similar to the other two articles
included in this chapter for the family communication variable, this study is useful because it
supports the significance of family communication patterns for the ultimate health and wellbeing
of children. Given that this research study will look at relational consciousness as the primary
manifestation of children’s spiritual development, the relationships in young children’s lives are
paramount for how they develop spiritually, including the communication patterns within those
relationships.
Annotated Bib #4—Family Ritual
Crespo, C., Kielpikowski, M., Pryor, J., & Jose, P. E. (2011). Family rituals in New Zeland
families: Links to family cohesion and adolescents’ well-being. Journal of Family
Psychology, 25(2), 184-193.
The purpose of this study was to examine the links between family rituals/cohesion and
adolescents’ well-being because of identified “gaps in this research about family interactions at
ritual events” (p. 184) and the impact on children’s health and development. Because previous
research has consistently found that rituals promote a sense of belonging among family
members, Crespo, et al. sought to more deeply explore the direct impact on the well-being of
children in families where rituals occurred. The sample included 713 dyads of children aged 10
through 16 years and their parents. Of the child subjects, 51% were male, and 69% identified as
New Zealand European. Among parent subjects, 86% were mothers, and over 80% working in
either full or part-time paid employment. The primary research question examined whether
family ritual meaning predicted children’s well-being over time, with the researchers’ proposal
that family cohesion does operate as a mediator between family rituals and child well-being. The
findings that closely relate to this research topic (Family Rituals and Children’s Spirituality)
include the discovery that “parents’ perceptions of family rituals were indirectly linked to
[children’s] well-being” (p. 190). This finding is helpful for this study’s research because it
supports the significance of parental investment in family ritual life as meaning-filled and valueladen, which communicates to children in ways that promote child development and well-being.
One of the most useful implications from this study is Crespo, et al.’s contention that parents’
investments in family rituals contributes to positive perceptions of family among all members,
and their children’s well-being “in the near future” (p. 192). The immediate benefits of family
rituals on children’s development and overall health is a promising research-based foundation for
designing a study that examines the link between frequency and quality of family ritual with
children’s spirituality, especially as it is manifested in relational consciousness.
Annotated Bib #5—Family Ritual
Eaker, D. G., & Walters, L. H. (2002). Adolescent satisfaction in family rituals and psychosocial
development: A developmental systems theory perspective. Journal of Family
Psychology, 16(4), 406-414.
The purpose of this study was to explore “adolescent satisfaction in family rituals and
psychosocial development…in the context of…family environment” (p. 406). Specifically,
researchers with the University of Georgia sought to discover how development that occurs as
part of lifespan transitions (e.g., from later childhood to adolescence) modifies the relevance of
children’s experiences in family rituals. The sample included 179 female undergraduates who
ranged from 18 to 24 years, and predominantly identified as White (89%). This method thus
relied on recollection among subjects. The primary research question examined whether
children’s experiences in family rituals are associated with psychosocial development (p. 411).
The researchers’ contended that this research question was profound because previous research
focuses on the family unit, rather than individual family members, when exploring the impact of
family rituals. The researchers also note that meanings assigned to rituals have been explored
from a family perspective, and individual family members’ meanings have not been examined
within research conducted on family ritual meaning-making. The findings that closely relate to
this research topic (Family Rituals and Children’s Spirituality) include the discovery that
adolescent discontentedness (defined as self-consciousness and anxiety) is negatively related to
satisfaction in family rituals, “suggesting that negative affect characteristic of discontentedness
was associated with less satisfying ritual experiences” (p. 410). This finding is helpful for this
study’s research because it supports satisfying family ritual experiences as essential for
promoting the overall health and wellbeing of children who participate in them. One of the most
useful implications from this study is the closing statement that recognizing family rituals are
part of interactions in families does not merely mean that families must have rituals, rather
“attention must be given to the whole context in which rituals occur and to the ways that family
members personally experience this time together” (p. 413). Children who participate in
meaning-filled family rituals, wherein families demonstrate healthy boundaries (e.g., high
cohesiveness and low intrusiveness) and communication have increased opportunities to find
wellbeing through personal contentedness and relationship quality.
Annotated Bib #6—Family Ritual
Malaquias, S., Crespo, C., & Francisco, R. (2015). How do adolescents benefit from family
rituals? Links to social connectedness, depression and anxiety. Journal of Child and
Family Studies, 24, 3009-3017.
The purpose of this study was to examine “the relationships among family ritual
meaning, social connectedness, anxiety, and depression” among students in Portugal (p. 3009).
Because depression and anxiety are highly prevalent in Portuguese adolescents, the researchers
sought to discover whether childhood participation in meaningful family rituals would impact the
occurrence of depression and anxiety, and whether there was a link with social connectedness;
how the student engaged with others outside the family. Because of previous research linking
family rituals with “adolescents’ health and well-being outcomes” (p. 3010), the researchers
designed a study that sought to explore these links. The sample included 248 adolescents, 52%
being female and 47% being in the tenth grade. More than 63% of participants were in an intact
nuclear family, 21% in single-parent households, and 12% in stepfamilies. The students all
resided in Lisbon’s urban area, and selected by means of incidental sampling (p. 3011). The
primary research question was whether family ritual meaning would be positively related to
social consciousness and whether subjects with stronger family ritual meaning would report
fewer depression and anxiety symptoms. These questions sought to discover whether family
rituals, and their meanings, can promote children’s social connectedness and mental and
emotional health. The findings that closely relate to this research topic (Family Rituals and
Children’s Spirituality) include two main findings: (1) stronger family ritual meaning was
associated with higher social connectedness and lower levels of depressive symptoms; and (2)
higher social connectedness was related to lower levels of depressive and anxious symptoms (p.
3013). These findings are helpful for this study because it demonstrates the connections between
children’s participation and meaning-making in family rituals with both mental and emotional
health and children’s relationships outside of the family, which is at the core of relational
consciousness. When children can participate in meaningful rituals within their family, they have
marked improvement in mental, emotional, and social health, which are all significant indicators
of spiritual health and development. One of the most useful implications from this study is that
Malaquias, et al.’s findings imply that the relevance of family rituals is not only circumscribed to
the family context, but also is “shown to play an important role in the adolescent’s connection to
his/her social world” (p. 3015). Indeed, family rituals increase the quality of life of family
members who participate, including children who benefit from an increased social connection
with others outside the family and decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety. These benefits
to children may optimize their spiritual development potential, especially relational
consciousness.
Annotated Bib #7—Children’s Spirituality
Mountain, V. (2011). Four links between child theology and children’s spirituality. International
Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 16(3), 261-269.
The purpose of this study was to examine the Child Theology Movement as a cultural
shift that will allow researchers to more deeply explore children’s spirituality in current social
and political realities. This research article examines four aspects of children’s spirituality and
their connection to the larger conversation of Child Theology: living based in relationship, living
in vulnerability, living in creativity and play, and living in oneness and hope (p. 261). The
sample in this article is the Child Theology Movement, the locus of Mountain’s research on how
current cultural norms have increased awareness and opportunity among researchers to explore
children’s spiritual development as its own developmental domain. The Movement is a “network
of theological enquiry…[placing] the child in the centre of serious thinking about how we should
live”…a new awareness” that Mountain contends is “a sign of our evolving consciousness” (p.
262-263). The primary research question was how the current cultural climate of openness
related to children’s spirituality research has paved the way for meaningful research related to
this topic. Mountain finds that the Child Theology Movement has placed the child as leading
“the way into the fullness of life expressed” in religious sacred texts and common speech. After
her analysis, she contends that children’s lives are based in relationships, which are a
foundational part of the childhood experience and need. This finding is particularly useful for
this research topic (Family Rituals and Children’s Spirituality), because it underscores the
significance of relational consciousness as the core of spiritual development. Only when children
can fully appreciate and actualize their relationships can they move toward optimum spiritual
growth and development.
Annotated Bib #8—Children’s Spirituality
Cervantes, J. M., & Arczynski, A. V. (2015). Children’s spirituality: Conceptual understanding
of developmental transformation. Spirituality in Clinical Practice, 2(4), 245-255.
The purpose of this study was to explore “children’s spirituality [as] a dimension of
human functioning not well addressed in the professional literature” (p. 245). By providing a
historical and theoretical overview of this phenomenon, Cervantes and Arcynski sought to
highlight primary conceptual issues related to this developmental domain for the purpose of
increasing competence among counselors who work with children. They compared four elements
of children’s spiritual development (relationship, states of consciousness, affective states, and
self-reflection) through the lens of four different theories related to children’s spirituality
(cognitive-spiritual, relational cultural theory, relational consciousness, and transpersonal
experience). The sample in this article are the “voices of children…included to add clarity and
concreteness to the conceptual ideas of spirituality” (p. 245). By using data from previous
research on children’s spirituality, Cervantes and Arczynski offer clear examples of the
theoretical components they seek to explore. For example, in what ways does relational cultural
theory manifest in a child’s spiritual development? Their inclusion of children’s interview
responses help to materialize what would otherwise be a purely philosophical article. The
primary research question was how an increased awareness of children’s spirituality as its own
developmental domain can increase the practice competency among counselors who work with
children. In their review of multiple qualitative research studies, Cervantes and Arczynski find
that “in ‘child’s play,’ children worked to understand the world around them, demonstrated
awareness of their socialized reality, engaged in quests for meaning, and rehearsed life scripts
through imaginary roles. Consequently, relationship and transcendence were found to be primary
aspects of play that can frequently prompt existential questions commonly asked by children” (p.
250). These findings offer counselors who work with children a new perspective on play as a
vehicle for spiritual development, as “children naturally live in an altered state of consciousness
by virtue of their propensity toward play, imagination, and belief in unseen forces” (p. 251).
When leveraged by skilled counselors who work with young children, this altered state of
consciousness can promote spiritual growth and development by “[developing] relationships, and
[prompting] social consciousness…to the importance of relational connection and responsibility
to others” (p. 251). The clinical implications from this article are particularly useful for this
research topic (Family Rituals and Children’s Spirituality). Cervantes and Arczynski argue that
practitioners working with children should “routinely assess the role of spirituality in all clients’
lives, general functioning, and presenting concerns” in order to validate children’s growing

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