Religious education and cultural development

Clive Erricker

RE and cultural development

RE and cultural development

a_a_Books-113.jpg Cultural development is focused on understanding one’s own culture and those of others represented locally, nationally, in Europe and globally. It has close links to community cohesion and the tradition of multiculturalism or pluralism which has informed religious education from the 1970s until the present. It is important to distinguish between just learning about cultures and enquiring into the nature of culture with its various forms and expressions.

Pupils need to be aware of the values and assumptions of their own culture and how cultures are diverse and different in these respects. Also, culture needs to be understood as dynamic rather than static and as a shaping force on identities and communities, recognising the issues this raises as well as the sense of belonging this provides.

a_a_Books-113.jpgIn religious education Robert Jackson has written of the need to understand the ‘grammar’ of cultures, through an interpretive approach (Jackson 1997) and to promote dialogue between cultures (Jackson 2004). In relation to culture’s effect on religion he states that this means we need to think ‘in terms of more loosely knit religious traditions’ which reflect ‘the vigour and diversity of the traditions rather than abstracted, static accounts’ (Jackson 1997: 108).

Eleanor Nesbitt has built on this idea in speaking of ‘multiple identities’ within which she shows how British-born members of ethnic minorities deal with identities that include, for example, being British, Hindu and Asian. She argues that this allows them to overcome the idea of a ‘clash of cultures’ as their identity is re-formed (Nesbitt 2004: 113-124).

Schools are advised on the need to ‘look for evidence of how the school promotes the cultural traditions of its own area and the ethnic and cultural diversity of British society’ (OFSTED 1999: 73) and to ‘encourage an historical perspective by relating contemporary values to the processes and events that have shaped them’ (National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education 1999: 48)

However, addressing cultural development in religious education needs to take account of the difficulty in separating religion from culture and the way in which this, sometimes, has to acknowledge a greater complexity and divisiveness.

The Prevent Strategy initiative

a_a_Books-112.jpg The Prevent Strategy initiative, which seeks to ensure closer contact with Muslim communities and identify any indication of subversive and terrorist activity, is a reaction to early 21st Century examples of the same amongst UK members of ethnic minorities. This, in itself, suggests that identities may be inspired by more religious and ideological motives than previously anticipated and influenced by global activity rather than by just local or national influence.

The relationship between culture and religion may be more complex than we have so far discerned. As a result, religious education might be the best subject in which to enquire into the contemporary issues as to why hijab and the general display of religious symbolism should be such a controversial issue in modern society. Additionally, there is the difficult task of considering when religious statements are to be understood as informed by cultural practice from which they ought to be stripped, or accommodated, in a new social environment. Pupils need to be aware of and engage with these issues and the complexity they involve, including ways in which different religious groups interpret scriptures differently to justify their positions.

Resources

Resources

References

References

  • Erricker, C. And Erricker J. (2000) Reconstructing Religious, Spiritual and Moral Education, London: RoutledgeFalmer.
  • Erricker, J. (2000) 'Moral education as relationship in community’, Erricker, C. And Erricker J. Reconstructing Religious, Spiritual and Moral Education, London: RoutledgeFalmer.
  • Erricker, C. Erricker, J. Ota, C. Sullivan, D. And Fletcher, M. (1997) The Education of the Whole Child, London: Cassell.
  • Hay, D. (1985) ‘Suspicion of the Spiritual: Teaching Religion in a World of Secular Experience’, British Journal of Religious Education, 7.1, pp. 140-7.
  • Hay, D. with Nye, R. (1998) The Spirit of the Child, London: Fount.
  • Jackson, R. (1997) Religious Education: an interpretive approach, London: Hodder and Stoughton.
  • Jackson, R. (2004) Rethinking Religious Education and Plurality: issues in diversity and pedagogy, London and |New York: RoutledgeFalmer.
  • MacIntyre, A. (1985)_ After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory_, London: Duckworth.
  • National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (1999) All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education, London: DfEE and DCMS.
  • Nesbitt, E. (2004) Intercultural Education: ethnographic and religious approaches, Brighton and Portland: Sussex Academic Press.
  • Office for Standards in Education (1999) _Handbook for Inspecting Primary and Nursery School_s, London: Ofsted.
  • Office for Standards in Education (2003), Promoting and Evaluating Pupils’ Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development: guidance for schools, London: Ofsted.
  • Priestley, J. (1997) ‘Spirituality, Curriculum and Education’, International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 2.1, pp.23-34.
  • Sharp, P. (2001) Nurturing Emotional Literacy, London: David Fulton.
  • Webster, R.S. (2009) ‘The educative value of Dewey’s religious attitude for spirituality’, International Journal of Children’s Spirituality 14.2. pp.93-104.
Books

Books

  • Alexander, H. (ed.) (2004) Spirituality and Ethics in Education: philosophical, theological and radical perspectives, Brighton and Portland: Sussex Academic Press.
  • Copley, T. (2000) Spiritual Development in the State School, Exeter: University of Exeter Press.
  • Copley, T. (2005) Indoctrination, Education and God: the struggle for the mind, London: SPCK.
  • De Souza, M., Durka, G., Engebretson, K., Jackson, R. And McGrady, A. (eds.) (2006) International Handbook of the Religious, Moral and Spiritual Dimensions of Education, (2 vols), Dordrecht: Springer
  • Erricker, C., Erricker, J., Ota, C., Sullivan, D. and Fletcher, M. (1997) The Education of the Whole Child, London: Cassell.
  • Erricker, C. and Erricker J. (2000) Reconstructing Religious, Spiritual and Moral Education, London: RoutledgeFalmer.
  • Erricker, C. And Erricker, J. (eds.) (2001) Meditation in Schools: calmer classrooms, London and New York: Continuum.
  • Erricker, C. (2001) When Learning Becomes Your Enemy: Spirituality, Education and Economics, Nottingham: Educational Heretics Press.
  • Erricker, C. (2009) ‘A Buddhist Approach to Alternative Schooling’ in Woods, Philip, A. and Woods, Glenys J. (eds) Alternative Education for the 21st Century, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Erricker, C. (2010) Religious Education: a conceptual and interdisciplinary approach for secondary level, London: FultonRoutledge.
  • Erricker, C., Lowndes, J., Bellchambers, E. (2010) Primary Religious Education-a new approach: conceptual enquiry in primary RE, London: FultonRoutledge.
  • Gardner, R., Cairns, J., Lawton, D. (eds.) (2000) Education for Values: morals, ethics and citizenship in contemporary teaching, London: Kogan Page.
  • Grimmitt, M. (2000) Pedagogies of Religious Education, Great Wakering, Essex: McCrimmons.
  • Hay, D. with Nye, R. (1998) The Spirit of the Child, London: Fount.
  • Jackson, R. (1997) Religious Education: an interpretive approach, London: Hodder and Stoughton.
  • Jackson, R. (2004) Rethinking Religious Education and Plurality: issues in diversity and pedagogy, London and New York: RoutledgeFalmer.
  • Nesbitt, E. (2004) Intercultural Education: ethnographic and religious approaches, Brighton and Portland: Sussex Academic Press.
  • Ota, C., Erricker, J., Erricker, C. (eds) (2001) Spiritual Education: cultural, religious and social differences – new perspectives for the 21st Century, Brighton and Portland: Sussex Academic Press.
  • Ota, C. and Erricker, C. (eds) (2005) Spiritual Education: literary, empirical and pedagogical approaches, Brighton and Portland: Sussex Academic Press.
  • Wright, A. (2004) Religion, Education and Post-modernity, London and New York: RoutledgeFalmer.
  • Wright, A. (2007) Critical Religious Education, Multiculturalism and the Pursuit of Truth, Cardiff: University of Wales Press.
Journals

Journals

  • British Journal of Religious Education
  • International Journal of Children’s Spirituality
  • Journal of Beliefs and Values
  • Journal of Moral Education

All these journals are available electronically at http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/online.asp

Useful websites

Useful websites