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Religion Education Emerging Teaching Methodologies and Practices

Panel Chair: Johan Strijdom | Tuesday, August 25, 3:30-5:30 p.m. | Venue

Scholars of religion working on religion education play two very distinct roles. Many are focussed on religion as taught in schools, universities and other public platforms. They are critical observers of the transmission and promulgation of religion as a subject. They comment on the teaching of religion as a political project, as part of general citizenship, or as a crucial aspect of individual identity development. Alternatively, scholars of religion are often engaged directly with teachers and public institutions on how to improve the quality of religion education, directly promoting religion education as a critical and empathetic study of religions. This panel is devoted to a critical self-reflexive exercise of how scholars of religions negotiate the challenges of working with teachers teaching religion education in a variety of contexts across the globe. How do they mediate their roles as textbooks writers, teacher training educators, and general promoters of religion education.

Abdulkader Tayob

Why Post-Colonial Study of Religion?

In 2003, a new religion education policy was adopted by the South African Ministry of Education. The new policy raised interesting questions about the conceptualization of religion education, and how to develop a critical yet empathetic approach to religious diversity. These reflections have turned our attention to the condition and role of religion in the post-colony. In this paper, we begin by looking at the condition of religion in colonial and post-colonial in contexts, not as an aberration, or special case, or the inversion of the Euro-American experience, but rather as challenging traditional ideas about where to start when approaching religion in the post-colonial condition. Should we draw on the religious traditions of the periphery? Do we need then to reinvent terms or should we jettison existing terms and categories? This is a self-reflexive paper about the future of religion education in the modern, post-colonial society.

Nina Hoel

Teaching Methodologies and Practices for Embodied Learning in the field of ‘Religion and Ecology

Similar to other courses taught within the discipline of religious studies, the area of “religion and ecology” is interdisciplinary and multifaceted and thus requires diverse approaches and methods of inquiry. This paper is dedicated to discussing some of the teaching methodologies employed in the undergraduate course “Religion, Spirituality and Ecology”, taught at the Department of Religious Studies, University of Cape Town. By employing a self-reflexive lens. I wish to show how one can stretch the normative standards of undergraduate modules as well as to provide students with a range of registers through which to reflect on and critically engage the field of religion and ecology. The paper highlights the concept of embodied learning as an important methodological and pedagogical principle, which includes learning by doing, seeing and experiencing, while also take account of the nexus between theory and praxis in a distinct South African context.

Elaine Nogueira-Godsey

Afro-Brazilian Religious Heritage and Cultural Intolerance: South-South Educational Perspective

In 2003, law 10.639/03 was implemented to the Brazilian educational curricula. The revised curriculum introduced African History in schools, with the intention to promote racial inclusivity and educate students about Brazil’s rich African heritage. Despite these efforts many Christians feel that the teaching of African culture threatens their values and society. This tension is exacerbated by the inclusion of Afro-Brazilian religion in the teaching of African history. This paper looks at the backlash to the law and argues that more training is needed for teachers in order to combat racial and religious intolerance. The ongoing dialogue between scholars of religion education in South Africa and Brazil is an ideal resource for this training. In return, the use of these resources give valuable information to scholars in Religion and Education about the efficacy of the methods used to employ them.

Stefanie Sinclair

Being digital: The impact of digital technologies within the discipline of religious studies in higher education

With a particular focus on the discipline of religious studies, this paper considers how digital technologies are impacting on what is taught in higher education and how it is taught. It contemplates how digital technologies can be integrated most effectively in learning design and reflects on the skills students need to be equipped with to recognise the challenges and opportunities of digital technologies and understand their impact on the changing ways in which religions are presented, studied, practiced and experienced. Drawing on the author’s experience of working for the Open University, it highlights the urgent need for the development of learning design and pedagogical approaches that make effective, resourceful and creative use of digital technologies and critically consider the complex impact of digital technologies on what is taught, how it is taught and what is assessed within religious studies in higher education.


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