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To Change b y eDucation

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image of Journal of Empirical Theology

The object of the study is to investigate if a students' basic beliefs, at the beginning of their education, will change during their course of study. In order to do this, a random sample of 31 students was drawn among beginners in September 1985. They were interviewed about their basic beliefs, views on knowledge, views on professional competence, and about their personal situation and relation to groups and parishes. The interviews were conducted during autumn 1985, spring 1988 and autumn 1989. The idea was that it should be possible to discern changes during education which affects deep and existential questions. However, the results show that students' basic beliefs have changed only marginally. In the few cases where change can be observed, the subjects refer to crises and relations to peer groups outside the educational setting. At the same time, the subjects argue that they have changed. This change is really a development related to the fact that the students, during their study-time, change their life circumstances, gain a lot of knowledge and often anticipate a profession (role change). This means that the concept of change must be separated into two levels. Basic beliefs do not change very much, but nevertheless a development takes place. This is why it is appropriate to talk about a change within a basic belief. By introducing the notion of 'life-space', it is shown that higher education is only one activity among many others within an individuals life-space. To get a deeper understanding of the processes in higher education, these aspects should be researched further in the future.


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