07 SES 12 B, Religion and Religious Education: Past, Present and Future in Europe (Part 1)
Symposium: to be continued in 07 SES 13 B
Conceptualizations of religious literacy, with reference to the works of Andrew Wright and Diane L. Moore, are dominated by theoretical and normative thinking. This implies that focus has been on what students should learn and what teachers should teach and less on exploring and understanding what happens in actual religious literacy practices or literacy events. Therefore, in order to contribute more empirically based research, I decided to conduct a qualitative study on RE teachers’ religious literacy. More precisely I asked: what happens when RE teachers interpret the biblical narrative of “The Prodigal Son”? By applying the perspective of Louise M. Rosenblatt’s reader-response theory, the study highlights the role of the RE teacher as a particular reader and “The Prodigal Son” as a particular text. The analyses show that the text itself, the teachers’ formal competence, prior knowledge, religious affiliation, etc., are mutually contingent elements that affect the meaning-making processes. Thus, I argue that it is important to become aware of and understand the complexity involved in religious literacy practices or events. This will, I further argue, serve to deepen and enhance the discourse about religious literacy in RE.
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