Contested narratives and controversial issues in religious education - didactic challenges for teacher education and schools

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Contested narratives and controversial issues in religious education

Contested narratives and controversial issues in religious education – didactic challenges for teacher education and school subject.
In multicultural societies as well as societies marked by conflict or polarization, a basic challenge is that classroom topics may be invaded by the wider sociocultural and political contexts. Teachers who bear their own internal struggles, concerns and ambivalences need effective didactic tools, as they seek to overcome such challenges and support an open dialogue (Bekerman & Zembylas 2011).
Recent years have shown that the teacher may be in a vulnerable position when controversial issues such as Muhammad cartoons are included in the teaching.
The cartoon crisis in 2005 is an ongoing issue of debate in Denmark. Recently political parties from both right and left wing have launched an initiative that will oblige the government to create teaching resources on the crisis including some of the Muhammad cartoons. Taking the current public debate as our starting point we would like to discuss different didactic approaches to the teaching of controversial issues and contested narratives in religious education and how we can enhance didactic reflection and development in teacher education.
The presentation will draw on research from the first phase of a 3-year Erasmus+ project with participation of teacher educators and researchers from multicultural and post-conflict societies (Cyprus, Lebanon, Northern Ireland, Denmark, and Norway). The project, ConCitizen aims at
developing new pedagogical methodologies that will strengthen teachers' ability to teach controversial issues in societies and classrooms where different narratives are at stake e.g., connected to post-conflict societies or in societies characterized by polarization (Tabbara 2012; 2014, Fahed 2016). The paper will discuss how national/cultural context and perceptions of controversial issues are related and how to encourage self-reflection and awareness of power relations when teaching contested narratives (Bekerman & Zembylas 2011).
Translated title of the contributionKonkurrerende narrativer og kontroversielle emner i religionsundervisning
Original languageEnglish
Publication date16 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2022
EventNCRE Nordic Conference on Religious Education: "RE IN THE CROSSROADS?!" - Latvia University, Riga, Latvia
Duration: 14 Jun 202218 Jun 2022
Conference number: 2022


ConferenceNCRE Nordic Conference on Religious Education
LocationLatvia University
Internet address


  • learning, educational science and teaching

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