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Categorising and Conceptualising Religion Education

Panel Chair: Tim Jensen | Tuesday, August 25, 9-11 a.m.

The papers in this panel critically analyse different categorisations and conceptualisations of religion education (RE), using material related to both confessional religious education (for example, Islamic RE in Sweden) and non-confessional education about various religions and worldviews in different European countries. The panel, furthermore, tries to trace characteristics of a distinctive study-of-religions approach to education about religions and worldviews, be it with respect to general principles, competences or other recurrent issues in RE debates.

Jenny Berglund

Moving between Religious and Religion Education

In this paper I discuss the relation between the Swedish non-confessional integrative school subject Religionskunskap [Knowledge about religion], the academic dicipline Study of Religions and the academic discipline didactics of religion (or didactics of the study of religions). The school subject has, according to the national curriculum, as one of its aim to foster the school students into certain values. Values that are considered necessary to create good democratic citizens. This differs from the academic study of religions, which has, as its aim to understand and explain religion and religious people in past and present and to teach about this to university students. Although strongly related, the school subject can never be understood as a condensed form of study of religions. The difference between these the subject and the academic discipline also reveals the necessity and focus of didactics of religions and its role in for example teacher educations. Although Sweden’s non-confessional school subject differ from many other forms of Religious Education school subjects in Europe, I would argue that the role of Didactics of religions can still be the same.

Katharina Frank

A Study-of-Religions-based Model of Competence

During the last few years, many countries established Religion Education for all pupils. As far as the classes are compulsory, the teaching has to respect freedom of religion, which is especially crucial in regard to its negative aspects. Usually, the respective programmes (e.g. Guidelines of the OSCE 2007, Guidelines of the AAR 2010) are highly speculative and they do not sufficiently keep apart secular and religious (theological) principles of education. On the empirical basis of classroom research on a compulsory form of Religion Education (e.g. Frank 2014a; b), this paper develops a competence-based learning model (cf. Lersch 2010) in a study-of-religions-perspective. Examples from educational practice will illustrate how these competences are conveyed and how pupils adopt them.

Karna Kjeldsen

'Didactics of the Study of Religions' for RE in Public Schools: A New Approach

This paper is based on an analysis of normative reflections or principles on 'didactics of the Study of Religion' for RE in public schools. It is argued that a common set of principles, although always in critical development, can be found in writings of some of the members of the EASR working group (e.g. Alberts 2007; Andreassen 2012; Frank 2013 and Jensen 2011) and that the principles, as regards some key issues, differ from some of the most influential international and national positions. Thus, they formulate a new position. The principles will be presented and systematized as 1) general frames for RE in public schools, 2) objectives and contents, and 3) approaches to representations of religion and religions. The paper is based on a theoretical framework developed for my PhD dissertation about the status, function and representation of Christianity in RE.

Wanda Alberts

Conceptualisations and Contextualisations of Education about Religions and Worldviews

This paper attempts to analyse some central and recurrent issues in the scholarly and public debate about religion education (RE) from a study-of-religious perspective, based on discussions of the EASR working group on Religions in Secular Education. The paper starts with a critical analysis of the use of key terms used in the discourse about RE (for example, different categorisations of RE, different names for the subject in different countries, the debates about "religious literacy", concepts such as "intercultural", “interreligious", "multireligious" and "pluralistic" in relation to RE) and proceeds to wider issues such as the question of how the learning area "different religions and worldviews" is contextualised in curricula in different countries and in transnational recommendations. The concluding part deals with the question of how distinctive study-of-religions approaches to this topic differ from other approaches.



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