07 SES 11 A, Identities in the Margin
The purpose of this study is to investigate Finnish minority religion and secular ethics teachers’ views on plurality among their pupils. The Finnish education system recognizes religious plurality in its organization by offering education in pupils’ own religion or in secular ethics. Finnish basic education offers 12 religion- specific minority religion curricula and a secular ethics curriculum parallel to the majority Lutheran curriculum. This differentiating system attempts to develop the cultural and religious backgrounds of the pupils and promote equality with respect to religion and different worldviews (Kallioniemi& Ubani, 2012). The system supports religious freedom, particularly regarding the positive right of the child to education in religion or belief in accordance with the wishes of his parents (Sakaranaho 2006). However, the modern, plural identities (Skeie, 2006) of minority pupils' raise questions regarding how instruction in pre-defined groups succeeds in supporting pupils’ diverse identities. This study investigates through an intercultural theoretical framework minority teachers’ different approaches to classroom plurality. The study pursues the research question how minority religions and secular ethics teachers in the Finnish comprehensive school (age levels 7-13) view the task of supporting and including plurality within their classrooms.
Council of Europe. 2008. White paper on intercultural dialogue: Living together as equals in dignity. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing. Cush, D. 2007. Should religious education be part of the state school curriculum? British Journal of Religious Education, 29, no 3:217-27. Gay, G. 2010. Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research and practice. 2nd Ed. New York: Teachers College Press. Hatch, A. 2002. Doing qualitative research in educational settings. Albany: State University of New York Press. Jackson, R. 2004. Rethinking religious education and plurality: Issues in diversity and pedagogy. London: Routledge Falmer. Kallioniemi, A. and Ubani, M. 2012. Religious education in the Finnish school system. In The miracle of education: The principles and practice of teaching and learning in Finnish schools, ed. Niemi. H., Toom, A. & Kallioniemi, A.,177-87. Rotterdam: Sense. Sakaranaho, T. 2006. Religious freedom, multiculturalism, Islam: Cross-reading Finland and Ireland. Leiden: Brill. Skeie, G. 2006. Plurality and pluralism in education. In International handbook of the religious, moral and spiritual dimensions in education, ed. Souza, M. & al.,307-19. Dordrecht: Springer.
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