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Conditions for Teaching and Learning in Religious Education (RE): Perspectives of Teachers and Pupils at the Beginning of the 6th Grade in Sweden
Göteborgs universitet.
2014 (English)In: Nordidactica: Journal of Humanities and Social Science Education, ISSN 2000-9879, no 2014:2, 76-96 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article empirical findings from interviews with teachers of three classes of 12-year-old pupils are presented, together with questionnaire-responses from these 54 pupils. The interviews focus on teaching aims for Religious Education (RE), a subject that in Sweden, besides dealing with religion, also explores other kinds of beliefs, ethics and life questions. In the questionnaire the pupils are asked to solve four RE tasks with content that is central from a Swedish curriculum perspective. The research involves pupils at the beginning of the sixth grade and the purpose of this article is to look at the teachers’ aims and the pupils’ responses, and consider what these may indicate about conditions for teaching and learning RE in these classes. The findings show that the perspectives of the pupils at the beginning of the sixth grade seem to be rather far from the expectations of the RE syllabus. The pupils’ statements are rather vague with regard to religion as a phenomenon and there are few examples of pupils interpreting religious symbols in a way that is useful in further analysis. While existential and ethical plots, messages and point of views are comparatively easy to describe, it is harder to express multiple perspectives, reasons, comparisons and questions. A problem for the teachers in developing the perspectives of their pupils is that they find it hard to say what kind of general difficulties pupils have in RE, a fact that makes it hard to direct the teaching. Another challenge is that the teachers’ RE-aims are rather overarching and primarily related to fostering fundamental values. What improves the conditions for teaching and learning is the teachers’ concern for the pupils and their relationships with the teacher and with each other, a factor which is of vital importance for learning and which can also be used as a specific teaching method in subject matter education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: CSD Karlstad , 2014. no 2014:2, 76-96 p.
Keyword [en]
National Category
Research subject
Religious Studies and Theology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-34619OAI: diva2:765237
Available from: 2014-11-21 Created: 2014-11-20 Last updated: 2016-05-19Bibliographically approved

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