National Institute for Christian Education Research (NICER)

Christian student RE teachers, objectivity and professionalism


Christian student RE teachers, objectivity and professionalism

The aim of this research was to examine the way Christian student RE teachers understand the relationship between their faith and professional issues in relation to objectivity and the neutral teaching of RE in the classroom.

The data was collected from three universities with a Christian foundation in the South of England. The main findings of the project were that:

The majority of all student RE teachers believe that pupil knowledge of their faith or personal beliefs can be problematic in the classroom and that the majority of Christian RE teachers said they would either not share their faith with pupils or do so under qualified circumstances.

The majority of Christian student RE students thought that sharing their faith could be unprofessional and the majority of agnostic or atheist students believed that sharing their lack of belief or their questions about the validity of faith could be appositive contribution to the lesson.

Summary of recommendations from the research:

  • A secular, atheist or agnostic belief position in the classroom should be recognised by all students as an identifiable belief position rather than as a neutral stance.
  • Christian student RE teachers may need support in relation to their faith in terms of their experiences on school placements.
  • All student RE teachers may benefit from being encouraged to problematise and critically reflect on key assumptions about the nature of objectivity and neutrality as a way of considering a wider range of pedagogies in the classroom.

Download a PDF of the report Christian student RE teachers, objectivity and professionalism

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