Presentation on theme: "Religious education, multicultural education and Finnish school policy"— Presentation transcript:
1 Religious education, multicultural education and Finnish school policy Anna-Leena RiitaojaPh. D . StudentDepartment of Applied Sciences of EducationUniversity of Helsinki, FinlandConference on Diversity and Global Education25. –
2 My background Family backgound Several different religious contexts (inside Christianity and sceularism)School – otherness: stranger in familiarAs a student teacherreligion was seen often as a problem……or seen only in very superficial wayconfusing (not a problem from my point of view)
3 My background…Ph.D .research on multicultural education in primary schools in HelsinkiOne of the interesting aspects:Religious education as a part of multicultural educationPreliminary ideas -> aim to develope them to an articlePerhaps some empirical material neededAll comments are welcome
4 Theoretical startpoint Banks’(2001) model of multicultural educationExtensive modelCritical viewpoint is importantTo me multicultural education means all educational activity which aims to rise to the challenges of global world and multicultural society1.Content integration2. The knowledgeconstruction processMulticulturaleducation3. Prejudice Reduction:4. An equity Pedagogy5. An empoweringschool cultureand social structure
5 Space of religions in multicultural education? What is the space of religion in multicultural education?How a researcher / a teacher understands her own religious / non- religious background as a part of her identity as a multicultural educator?Banks’ dimension of knowledge construction is interestingHow the position of religion is constructed in society and in education?Are religions and religious knowledge valuable?
6 Religions as diversity Religion seen as a form of diversity…… BUT NOT as a frame of referenceIn the ME theory:not discussed or discussed in a superficial level onlyReligions seen in a negative way (Hoosain & Salili 2006).
7 Different forms of diversity and cultural layers The layers of culture (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner 1997)Religion belongs to several layersDeepest level: basic assumptions – meaning of lifeIf we concentrate only on the external side of religion, the meaning of religion as the frame of reference is not recognisedexplicit artifacts and productsnorms and valuesbasicassumptions,(implicit)
8 The ideology behind multicultural education? The theory of ME based on Western viewpointreligion is not important (Impact of Enlightment)”Multicultural literacy is dominated by a Western paradigm and perspectives” (Bokhorst-Heng 2007).Western viewpoint is based mainly on liberalism (Parekh 2000)not accomodative for ethnic or religious diversity.Separation of public (”neutral”) and personal sphere (Kiwan 2007)
9 Secular liberalism R4 Secularism R1 R2 R3 R5 Pluralism Atheism A R1 R2 An ideological viewpointAs committed as religions (picture)If one’s own secular frame of reference is not recognisedpossible to understand only the external signs of religionsenables false conceptions about common viewpointunrecognised looking glasses: misunderstandings (eg. Muhammed cartoons)R4SecularismR1R2R3R5PluralismAtheismAR1R2R3R4R5SP
10 Understanding (other) religions Understanding of new / other religious frame of reference requires a transformative experienceTransformative experience is based on learning in a deep level a (Mezirow 1991, Taylor 1994, Räsänen 2005)Religions include aspect of experience - spiritualityOperate with fundamental and transformative questions of existence and life”If religions is to be taken seriously, due attention must be given to the transcendent aspect of religious experience, practice, belief and doctrine”. (Wright 2004, 211)Religious education has to be critical (Wright 2004, 214).
11 ExamplesA person with a Western secular worldview trying to understand the comprehensiveness and holistic nature of IslamAfrican Christian trying to understand Finnish secular Christianity as true Christianity
12 Religions as a part of multicultural aducation and school policy in Finland In the Finnish research of multi- / intercultural education religions has not had much spaceThe Finnish school policy, National Core curriculum (2004:”Perusopetuksessa eri oppiaineiden opetus on poliittisesti sitoutumatonta ja uskonnollisesti tunnustuksetonta. ””In basic education, instruction in the different subjects is nondenominational and plotically neutral.”The definition ignores the social and ideological context of knowledge construction (Banks 2001; Puolimatka 2004). The starting point is secular.Finnish Christian traditions are seen important but the deeper level of cultural religious traditions – the frame of reference religions offer – leaves without consideration.
13 SchoolsA lot of public and policy discussion about festivals having a Christian backgroundDuring the past years: eliminating of Christian traditionsNow: Christian traditions are a part of Finnish cultural traditionNone of these viewpoints catch the deeper level of religions as a frame of reference
14 In practice For a teacher important to recognise her own religious or non-religious backgroundunderstanding her own and dealing with other frames of reference (eg. Räsänen 2005)A certain pluralism is needed when studying religions (all views are appreciated and not judged).Despite the common aspects in all religions, there are also differencesAll people, also teachers, come from some frame of reference and these can be discussed together in school.
15 In practice… The three current aspects to religious education Education for CommitmentEducation about ReligionOpen-ended exploration of world views of philosophies of life (Hobson & Edwards 1999, 19)Non-confessional religious education should not be only relativistic comparison from the viewpoint of secular worldviewThe emotional experiences are important for transformative learning: also spirituality is needed RESpirituality is connected with cultural identity and its reflection is an essential part of critical multicultural education (Tisdell 2006)Critical but also emotional religious education as a part of multicultural education gives possibilities to understand people with different frame of reference