RECONCILING RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY AND MONO-RELIGIOSITY THE CASE OF TEACHERS AT ORTHODOX PROTESTANT PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN THE NETHERLANDS Hanna de Jong-Markus
RECONCILING RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY AND MONO-RELIGIOSITY THE CASE OF TEACHERS AT ORTHODOX PROTESTANT PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN THE NETHERLANDS Hanna de Jong-Markus
This publication is made possible by the support of Verus – Association for Catholic and Christian Education, Stichting Zonneweelde and the J.E. Jurriaanse Stichting. ISBN: 978-94-6458-213-0 Cover design: Image on front cover used with kind permission of the artist, Lianne van Slooten. Lay-out: Publiss | www.publiss.nl Print: Ridderprint | www.ridderprint.nl © Copyright 2022: Hanna de Jong-Markus, The Netherlands All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, by photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.
RECONCILING RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY AND MONO-RELIGIOSITY THE CASE OF TEACHERS AT ORTHODOX PROTESTANT PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN THE NETHERLANDS HET AFSTEMMEN VAN RELIGIEUZE DIVERSITEIT EN MONORELIGIOSITEIT EEN VERKENNING ONDER LERAREN OP ORTHODOX-CHRISTELIJKE SCHOLEN IN NEDERLAND (met een samenvatting in het Nederlands) Proefschrift ter verkrijging van de graad van doctor aan de Protestantse Theologische Universiteit te Amsterdam – Groningen, op gezag van de rector, prof. dr. P.M. Wisse, ingevolge het besluit van het college voor promoties in het openbaar te verdedigen te Amsterdam op maandag 27 juni 2022 om 15.45 uur door JOHANNA JANNA DE JONG-MARKUS geboren op 12 augustus 1987 te Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel
Promotor: Prof. dr. M. Barnard Tweede promotor: Prof. dr. A. de Kock Derde promotor: Prof. dr. G.D. Bertram-Troost Vierde promotor: Prof. dr. A. de Muynck
Preface Dona Nobis Pacem This dissertation does not appear in a vacuum but responds to all sorts of developments in Dutch society. For example, the dissertation can be read as a response to the almost simultaneously published report by the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP), which concludes that religious groups in the Netherlands have become minorities (De Hart et al., 2022). Following that conclusion, the authors state: “The SCP [Netherlands Institute for Social Research] advises policymakers to focus on mutual understanding and acceptance and to promote a society in which everyone can participate fully. (...) In addition, schools can be an excellent place to meet others and a place where pupils learn to deal with opinions and values that are different from their own.” (SCP, 2022, par 5; translation JJdJ-M) I hope and believe that the results of my research can contribute to this. At the same time, it has become even clearer to me over the past few years that dealing well with diversity is an immense task that cannot be done without the prayer of Dona Nobis Pacem. The dissertation was not written in a vacuum but is the result of cooperation between various parties. It is great and important that Driestar Christian University for Teacher Education (DCU) and the OJKC (Research Centre for Youth, Church and Culture), as part of the Protestant Theological University (PThU), have made this research possible and as a result ensure a connection between science and practice. In the background, the cooperation with NorthWest University Potchefstroom and the National Institute for Christian Education Research (Canterbury Christ Church University) has also played a stimulating role. This dissertation is the story of teachers who put their heart and soul into good education. Their openness and enthusiasm was inspiring and showed me once again how wonderful and challenging the teaching profession is. Many thanks to the participants for meeting with me! Finally, I did not have to work on this dissertation in a vacuum. The insights and support of my supervisors were of great importance. Each of them contributed their expertise in a collaboration that was always constructive. Professor Marcel Barnard, Professor Jos de Kock, Professor Gerdien Bertram-Troost and Professor Bram de Muynck, each of you encouraged me in your own way to express myself. For that I am very grateful to you. I have learned a lot from you and that continues to be significant. In addition, I have been blessed with the presence and interest of many other people around me. I am thinking of colleagues at DCU and PThU, fellow researchers I have met elsewhere, ‘good neighbours’ from the Hodshonhof residential group, and certainly my family and friends. It is with you that I live. Dear Matthijs and Ruben, I cannot imagine better travelling companions than you in my life and that makes me intensely happy and thankful. I dedicate this dissertation to my parents, Huib and Josien Markus-Schuurman. Utrecht, March 2022 Hanna de Jong-Markus
Contents Citation Information 9 1.General Introduction 11 1.1 Problem Statement 12 1.2 Increased Diversity and Social Cohesion 13 1.3 Citizenship Education in Dutch Schools 17 1.4 Religious Diversity and Strong Religious Schools 19 1.5 Teaching Profession and Teacher Education 25 1.6 Research Question and Research Aims 28 1.7 Outline and Responsibilities 29 2.Methods 33 2.1 Research Design 34 2.2 Participants 35 2.3 Data Collection and Research Instruments 40 2.4 Data Analysis 43 2.5 Validity, Reliability and Integrity 46 3.Religious Tolerance as Educational Goal in Orthodox Protestant Schools: Exploring the Concept and Tensions Teachers Potentially Experience 49 Abstract 50 3.1 Introduction 51 3.2 Legislation and Potential Tensions in OPPSs 52 3.3 Religious Tolerance as an Educational Goal in OPPSs 54 3.4 OPPSs: Teachers’ Beliefs, Professional Ideals and Religious Tolerance 57 3.5 Conclusion 61 4.How Cohesion Matters: Teachers and Their Choice to Work at an Orthodox Protestant School 65 Abstract 66 4.1 Introduction 67 4.2 Orthodox Protestant Schools in the Netherlands and Freedom of School Choice 68 4.3 Parents’ Motives for Choosing an Orthodox Protestant School 69
4.4 Teachers’ Views on the Religious Dimension of the School 71 4.5 Methods 72 4.6 Data Analysis 74 4.7 Results 75 4.8 Discussion 80 5.Stimulating Inquisitiveness: Teachers at Orthodox Protestant Schools about their Roles in Religious Socialization 85 Abstract 86 5.1 Introduction 87 5.2 Orthodox Protestant Schools in the Netherlands: Cohesion and Cooperation 89 5.3 Method 90 5.4 Data Analysis 91 5.5 Results 92 5.6 Conclusion 96 5.7 Discussion 98 6.Distinction, Identification, and Recognition: Teachers in Orthodox Protestant Schools on their Faith and Religious Others 101 Abstract 102 6.1 Introduction 103 6.2 Methods 106 6.3 Data Analysis 107 6.4 Results 108 6.5 Conclusion and Discussion 116 7.Beyond Right-or-Wrong Thinking: Alumni and Teacher Educators about Religious Diversity in Orthodox Protestant Teacher Education 119 Abstract 120 7.1 Introduction 121 7.2 Methods 125 7.3 Participants 126 7.4 Instruments 127 7.5 Data Collection and Data Analysis 127
7.6 Results 128 7.7 Discussion and Conclusion 133 8.General Conclusion and Discussion 137 8.1 Conclusion 138 8.2 Theoretical Relevance 144 8.3 Practical Relevance 147 8.4 Methodological Reflections and Future Research 151 Summary 155 Samenvatting 181 References 211 Curriculum Vitae 233 Appendices 237 Appendix I. Law Text on Citizenship Education 238 Appendix II. Selection Criteria and School Categories 239 Appendix III. Questionnaire Background Characteristics 242 Appendix IV. Interview Guide (full version) 244 Appendix V. Conversation Guide Alumni (full version) 251 Appendix VI. Conversation Guide Teacher Educators (full version) 255 Appendix VII. Code book 258 Appendix VIII. Informed consent form 261 Appendix IX. Interview Guide (condensed version) 263 Appendix X. Overview of Relevant Codes 265 Appendix XI. Conversation Guides (condensed versions) 267
Citation Information The following chapters were originally published in peer reviewed journals. When citing these, please use the original sources. Apart from adapting the references to APA style (7th edition) and the addition of section numbers, the originally published articles have been incorporated in this dissertation without changes. Chapter 3 Markus, J. J., De Kock, A., De Muynck, A., Bertram-Troost, G. D., & Barnard, M. (2021). Religious tolerance as educational goal in orthodox Protestant schools: Exploring the concept and tensions teachers potentially experience [Manuscript submitted for publication]. Practices, Protestantse Theologische Universiteit. Chapter 4 Markus, J. J., De Kock, A., De Muynck, A., Bertram-Troost, G. D., & Barnard, M. (2018). How cohesion matters: Teachers and their choice to work at an orthodox Protestant school. Journal of School Choice, 12(4), 567-587. https://doi.org/10.1080/15582159.2018.1437313 Chapter 5 Markus, J. J., Bertram-Troost, G. D., De Kock, A., De Muynck, A., & Barnard, M. (2019). Stimulating inquisitiveness: Teachers at orthodox Protestant schools about their roles in religious socialization. Religious Education, 114(4), 513-527. https://doi.org/10.1080/0034 4087.2019.1581874 Chapter 6 Markus, J. J., Bertram-Troost, G. D., De Muynck, A., De Kock, A., & Barnard, M. (2021). Distinction, identification, and recognition: Teachers in orthodox Protestant schools on their faith and religious others. International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, 11(1), 137-154. https://doi.org/10.18848/2154-8633/CGP/v11i01/137-154 Chapter 7 Markus, J. J., De Muynck, A., De Kock, A., Bertram-Troost, G. D., & Barnard, M. (in press). Beyond right-or-wrong thinking: Alumni and teacher educators about religious diversity in orthodox Protestant teacher education. International Journal of Christianity & Education.
Ge n e r a l I n t r odu c t i on CHAP T E R 1
Chapter 1 12 1.1 Problem Statement The motivation behind this research is the increased religious diversity in society and the ensuing, commonly heard call for more social cohesion. Citizenship education is seen as a way that could contribute to strengthening this social cohesion. For strong religious schools, and more specifically orthodox Protestant primary schools (OPPSs), however, dealing with a religiously diverse society raises specific questions. For example, tolerance—conceivedasacentral value fordealingwellwithdiversity ina liberal democratic society—might not always be self-evident for these schools. To strengthen citizenship education within OPPSs it is important that the teachers be best equipped for the task, because they play a key role in how questions of religious particularity and diversity are dealt with in educational practice. However, there is little empirical understanding of how teachers in OPPSs handle the context of religious diversity in relation to the monoreligious characteristics of their schools, and what this means for how teacher education can best prepare future teachers to provide citizenship education. If we are committed to society and the future generation, it is necessary to gain more insights in this respect. By doing so, we are connecting to the drive that many teachers feel and that was put by one of the teachers I interviewed as follows: I want to be some sort of an idealistic improver. I want all children to be happy in their education and to make the most of all the talents they have been given. I want to show that everyone has their own strengths (...), because Jesus also shows differences1 to children and to the people around Him. And I think we can do that for each other as well. We have an obligation to help each other. (...) And so you try to create a bit of a peaceful society and prepare the children as well as possible for the future. (Jasmijn; translation by the author)2 This problem statement will be further elaborated in the following sections, where I will focus on the increased diversity and the call for social cohesion in society, the place of citizenship education in Dutch schools, the meaning of religious diversity in strong religious schools, and the teaching profession and teacher education. Next, I will introduce the research question and research aims of this doctoral dissertation, and provide an outline of the chapters, identifying my role and responsibilities as well as those of other contributors. 1 Note, in this quotation it is about different qualities of people and not about religious differences per se. 2 To increase the readability of the quotations, the verbatim transcribed text is slightly adjusted throughout the dissertation.
General Introduction 13 1 1.2 Increased Diversity and Social Cohesion In recent decades there has been a recurring focus in the Netherlands and other Western countries on the increased diversity in society (cf. An, 2014; CBS, 2015, 2020; Dobbernack et al., 2013; Estellés & Fischman, 2020; Verkuyten & Yogeeswaran, 2020; Yemini et al., 2019). While the value of diversity is emphasised—it is important for diversity to be openly manifested as this would promote the well-being of individuals and of society (cf. An, 2014; Boli & Elliott, 2008; Hamer, 2018)—concerns are raised about the increased diversity and lack of social cohesion in society (cf. An, 2014; Boli & Elliott, 2008; Veerman, 2020). Globalisation and individualisation The increased diversity in the Netherlands can be related to globalisation and individualisation (Beck & Beck-Gernsheim, 2002; De Hart, 2021). Globalisation is about the global flows of goods, ideas and individuals, which became possible since the late 20th century through the development of ubiquitous communication and transportation technologies (Hassi & Sorti, 2012). For example, the number of residents with a migrant background grew from 9.2% in 1972 to 22.1% in 2016. Today migrants come from many more different countries than some fifty years ago (Jennissen et al., 2018). According to predictions of the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) and Statistics Netherlands (CBS) these developments will continue, with 31% to 40% of the Dutch population expected to have a migration background by 2050 (NIDI/CBS, 2020, 2021). Globalisation can lead to more homogeneity and integration between cultures thanks to the exchanges, yet also creates more diverse practices because cultures that were previously distant and unknown come closer (Hassi & Sorti, 2012). This means, among other things, that “… adolescents and emerging adults seldom grow up knowing of only one culture in a globalizing world. Rather, they increasingly have interactions with people from diverse cultures, either first-hand or indirectly through various media.” (Jensen et al., 2011, p. 286). In connection with globalisation, individualisation can also contribute to increased diversity (Beck & Beck-Gernsheim, 2002). Whereas traditions and institutions used to have authority and determined a person’s path in life, personal freedom of choice increasingly becomes the norm (Beck & Beck-Gernsheim, 2002; De Hart, 2021; Schnabel, 2004). For the individual, this means that reflexivity has become more important. Instead of following
Chapter 1 14 a standard biography, people form a biography of choice in which different roles can be integrated (Beck & Beck-Gernsheim, 2002; cf. Boeve, 2005). Duyvendak (2004; cf. Rasborg, 2017) shows that individualisation does not automatically lead to more diversity because—especially in the Netherlands—there is also uniformisation of choices. The ties that people enter into are, however, less strong and less encompassing than in earlier times. As a result, individuals can be connected to more networks simultaneously. To a large extent, the increased diversity has mainly to do with groups (e.g. through migration) and less with individuals and their choices (Duyvendak, 2004). Increased religious diversity Increased diversity is also seen in the field of religion and worldview (Weisse, 2009), and has developed following similar patterns to those described above. Boeve (2005) depicts the development of religion in Europe by pointing to ‘detraditionalisation’ and ‘pluralisation’. Detraditionalisation is about the decline of the authority of religious institutions and traditions, and at the same time the increase of individualisation or subjectification through which individuals construct their own religiosity (Boeve, 2005; cf. Miedema, 2017; Tromp et al., 2020). Comparably to biography of choice, religious identity is often a matter of bricolage: an eclectic mix of faith elements that can also come from outside one’s own religious tradition (Bernts, 2007; Elshof, 2008; De Hart, 2007; Miedema, 2003). This leads to a change in religiosity, but not necessarily to a decrease in it (Bernts & Berghuijs, 2016; Davie, 2000; De Hart & Van Houwelingen, 2018; Taylor, 2002, 2007; Tromp et al., 2020). In the Netherlands, traditional Christian convictions and practices are becoming less and less widespread; religion and religious institutions have less influence on everyday life; and religious organisations are adjusting their messages to connect with secular ways of life (De Hart & Van Houwelingen, 2018). Pluralisation, according to Boeve (2005, p. 106), means that “…geographic as well asmental mobility have brought the plural world of religions onto our doorstep”. It is emphasised that traditional believers also have to relate detraditionalization and pluralisation because culturally it is no longer necessary to be a Christian and the Christian faith is no longer taken for granted in society (Boeve, 2005). Based on Beckford (1999), MartínezAriño and Teinturier (2019) indicate what the context of religious diversity means for religious communities: 1) an increase in the variety of religious groups in a particular context; (2) a growing presence of non-Christian religious groups; (3) the spread and popularity of the
General Introduction 15 1 so-called ‘spiritual’ practices and beliefs outside the so-called ‘world religions;’ (4) the internal diversification of religious groups that were previously characterized by internal homogeneity; and (5) the religious demonopolization of countries in which one single religious tradition was dominant over the rest. (p. 148) Continuing polarisation As in other Western countries, concerns about diversity in society are regularly expressed in Dutch society and politics. In addition to worries about limited integration of migrants (CBS, 2015; European Commission, 2020), these concerns also include increasing polarisation (Bovens et al., 2014; Carothers &O’Donohue, 2019; Goodhart, 2017; De Hart, 2021; Harteveld, 2021; Schmeets & Te Riele, 2014). Factors that promote polarisation can indeed be found in the Netherlands, such as the rise of ‘high-choice media’, negative campaigning by politicians, and the salience of cultural issues (Harteveld, 2021). Still, polarisation is less pronounced in the Netherlands than in other European countries or the United States (Bovens et al., 2014; Dekker & Den Ridder, 2014; Harteveld, 2021; Reiljan, 2020 in Harteveld, 2021; cf. CBS, 2015). Moreover, compared to the United States, polarisation in Western Europe today is mostly about issues related to globalisation, such as European integration, immigration and an open economy, and less about moral-religious issues (Bovens et al., 2014). In the religious domain, a growing gap between the strong religious and others is also regularly mentioned. Research by the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) shows, for example, that secularisation continues, but that especially youth who still count themselves as members of Protestant churches are becoming more churchy and more religious (De Hart & Van Houwelingen, 2018). Moreover, in the early 21st century more tensions between strong religious groups and liberal secularism have emerged in Western societies due to Muslim immigration and increased Muslim extremism (Exalto & Bertram-Troost, 2019; Hebling & Traummüller, 2018). At the same time, these tensions— particularly the 9/11 attacks—are also leading to an increased focus on religion, in the European context too. Whereas the Council of Europe previously wanted to be neutral, it now pays attention to religion, because: … despite different views on religion at the personal and societal levels, all could agree that religion is a ‘cultural fact’ and that knowledge and understanding of religion at this level is highly relevant to good community and personal relations and is therefore a legitimate concern of public policy. (Jackson, 2009, p. 87; cf. Jackson & O’Grady, 2018)
Chapter 1 16 Call for social cohesion Calls for greater social cohesion are frequently made in response to concerns around diversity (Schiefer & Van der Noll, 2017; Schmeets & Te Riele, 2014). Most definitions of social cohesion include the following three components: social relations between groups and individuals, sense of belonging to the social entity (identification), and orientation towards the common good (Schiefer & Van der Noll, 2017). This leads to a description of social cohesion like “individuals and groups with different cultures, values, beliefs, life styles, and socio-economic resources have equal access to all domains of societal life and live together without conflict” (Schiefer & Van der Noll, 2017, p. 584). Or, as Koonce (2011) indicates, social cohesion is about the degree of trust society members have in each other and in society itself (see Chapter 5). Schmeets and Te Riele (2014) note, based on data between 1989 and 2010, that there is limited empirical evidence for a general decline in social cohesion (cf. Dekker & Den Ridder, 2014), but that there are major differences between groups in Dutch society when it comes to degree of social cohesion. There is less social cohesion among the lower educated than among the higher educated (cf. Dekker et al., 2014), among ethnic minorities than among natives, and there are differences between the various religious groups. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) (2015) concludes that although there is no proven decrease in social cohesion, people do experience it and expect this decline to continue. The latter is also reflected in a publication by the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) (2019, p. 17; translation by the author; cf. Dekker, 2021): Many Dutch people say they are concerned about increasing polarisation, intolerance, differences of opinion and the pressure to take sides. Social media play an amplifying role in this respect. What the Dutch do agree on, falls by the wayside in the discussion and remains mostly unaddressed, in contrast to what we disagree on. The 2008 financial crisis does not seem to have caused changes in social cohesion (CBS, 2015). The extent to which the European refugee crisis, the Covid19 pandemic with its accompanying measures, and climate issues will have an impact remains to be seen (cf. CBS, 2015; De Hart, 2021; Dekker, 2021). De Hart (2021) concludes that the results of the 2021 Dutch general elections, which were characterised by fragmentation and radicalisation (cf. Trommels, 2021), show indeed a growing polarisation.
General Introduction 17 1 1.3 Citizenship Education in Dutch Schools Schools are often considered among the most important environments that can contribute to promoting social cohesion and learning to deal with diversity in society (An, 2014; Kantzara, 2011; Koonce, 2011; Mason & Wareham 2018; Merry, 2020; Nieuwelink et al., 2016; Rissanen & Sai, 2018; Short, 2002; Van Waveren, 2020; Veerman, 2020). Veerman (2020, p. 11) identifies strengthening social cohesion as a ‘core social task of education’. This core task is often referred to as ‘citizenship education’3 (Jackson, 2003; Martínez-Ariño & Teinturier, 2019; Onderwijsraad, 2012; Ten Dam et al., 2011). According to Ten Dam and colleagues (2010, 2011), it is worth taking ‘civil society’ as a starting point, because this underlines that it is not only about social cohesion and living together but also about the development of individuals and their norms and values. Not only the political, but also the social and individual domain are involved (Ten Dam et al., 2010, 2011; cf. Van Waveren, 2020). Citizenship education should contribute to pupils’ ability to perform four social tasks in a democratic, plural society: acting democratically (“acceptance of and contribution to a democratic society”), acting in a socially responsible manner (“taking shared responsibility for the communities to which one belongs”), dealing with conflicts (“handling of minor conflict situations or conflicts of interest to which the child is a party”), and dealing with differences (“handling of social, cultural, religious and outward differences”) (Ten Dam et al., 2010, 2011, p. 357; cf. Dijkstra et al., 2018). Since 2006, citizenship education in the Netherlands has been explicitly described as a statutory duty for primary, secondary and post-secondary vocational education (Bron, 2006; Bron & Thijs, 2011; Staatsblad, 2005; Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal, 2019).4 In evaluations ten years after the introduction of this duty, it is noted that the development of citizenship education in the Netherlands is stagnating: in schools citizenship education is not very goal-oriented, activities around citizenship lack coherence, and there is limited monitoring of the outcomes of citizenship education (Inspectie van het Onderwijs, 2016, 2018). Moreover, international comparative research shows that Dutch youth, for example, have less knowledge about democracy than peers in similar countries, and that the differences between pupils are greater than elsewhere (Munniksma et al., 2017). In response, the statutory citizenship task has been tightened as of 1 August 2021 3 Related to and/or overlapping with citizenship education are character education, civic education, democratic education, human rights education, global citizenship education, moral education, and multicultural education. 4 Note that the discussions about this Act started in 2002, the year that Pim Fortuyn was murdered (BBC News, 2002). According to Dekker & Den Ridder (2014, p. 103), that is also the moment when “long-standing differences in trust in and commitment to politics are revealed and sharpened by the electoral opportunity to speak out forcefully against the establishment”.
Chapter 1 18 (Staatsblad, 2021; see Appendix I for both the new and the old law text). The aim is to clarify the general citizenship objective and its applicable guiding principles for schools, and thus also to provide better opportunities for supervision by the Inspectorate of Education and make citizenship education less optional (Staatsblad, 2021; Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal, 2019). The changed law is referred to by the overarching terms ‘active citizenship and social cohesion’ (Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal, 2019). Active citizenship is about the willingness and ability to be part of Dutch society and to make an active contribution to it. In its explanation of social cohesion, the legislature emphasises that learning to live together with each other is central (Tweede Kamer der Staten‑Generaal, 2019). Greater emphasis on basic values For schools, in practice the new lawmeans that they have to develop a vision on citizenship education with a coherent programme describing what pupils have to learn and how this will be evaluated. In addition, the ‘basic values’ that recurred in the Supervisory Framework accompanying the law (Inspectie van het Onderwijs, 2006) are given greater emphasis. Schools must now show how basic democratic values are expressed in the school culture and how they can be actively practiced by pupils (Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal, 2019; cf. Verus, 2020; VGS, 2019). The new citizenship law likewise emphasizes that pupils and staff should feel safe and accepted within the school, despite differences (Eerste Kamer der Staten-Generaal, 2020). The basic values that serve as the foundation of the Citizenship Act are human dignity and, ensuingly, freedom, equality and solidarity. These basic values make it possible for people to live and to learn to live together in peace despite having divergent standards and values (Inspectie van het Onderwijs, 2021a; Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal, 2019). In the Supervisory Framework this is concretized in eight basic values: freedom of expression, equality, understanding of other people, tolerance, rejection of intolerance, rejection of discrimination, autonomy and sense of responsibility (Inspectie van het Onderwijs, 2006, 2021a; Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal, 2019)5. The recent advice of the Dutch Education Council on the Freedom of Education (Article 23 of the Dutch Constitution) shows a comparable emphasis on the framework that is set by the democratic society. It is, for example, stated that the mandatory common core of education that should be followed by all publicly funded schools, must be defined more clearly in terms of democratic society (Onderwijsraad, 2021). 5 Sense of responsibility was not mentioned in the Supervisory Framework of 2006, but has been added in the Supervisory Framework of 2021.
General Introduction 19 1 Tolerance Within the set of basic values, tolerance takes an important place: both the promotion of tolerance and the rejection of intolerance are explicitly mentioned (cf. Bron, n.d.; Inspectie van het Onderwijs, 2006, 2021a; Willems, 2013). According to the Supervisory Framework, in this context tolerance means: (...) that you accept the opinion or behaviour of others, even if you don’t agree with it at all. And it also means that you want to give everyone the space to have this opinion or that behaviour. Of course, in doing so everyone must follow the law. (Inspectie van het Onderwijs, 2021a, p. 151; translation by the author) The focus on tolerance is also apparent elsewhere, as mutual tolerance between different groups is seen as a prerequisite for social cohesion in a society where diversity is an important feature (Forst, 2003; Schiefer & Van der Noll, 2017; Vogt, 1997; Vollhardt et al., 2008; Weisse, 2009; Willems et al., 2010). Habermas (2005) provides a specification when it comes to religious tolerance: that the acceptance of religious minorities in society exemplifies the inclusion of other minorities and is therefore of great importance. For tolerance, however, it is also the case that it is a “profoundly contested concept” (Sremac & Ganzevoort, 2017, p. 6): there is no common definition and it is interpreted very differently. This is why it can be difficult to define what promoting tolerance in education means (Afdal, 2006; Bertram-Troost & Miedema, 2017; Forst, 2004; Van den Brink, 2002; Vogt, 1997). In Chapter 3 it is further explained what promoting tolerance in education entails, especially what that might mean for orthodox Protestant schools.6 After all, it is not taken for granted that strong religious schools promote a value such as tolerance, just as there is a broader public and political debate about citizenship education in religious schools (Inspectie van het Onderwijs, 2020, 2021b; Martínez-Ariño & Teinturier, 2019; Onderwijsraad, 2021). 1.4 Religious Diversity and Strong Religious Schools When it comes to religious schools and citizenship education, the public and political debate often revolves around whether such schools can prepare their pupils for life in a diverse society because of the school’s emphasis on particularity, both in terms its ideological principles and the community (Bertram-Troost, 2011; Breemer & Lammers, 6 Religious tolerance is then defined as tolerance in which the religious other is the object of tolerance (see Section 3.1).
Chapter 1 20 2014; Evans 2016; Godwin et al., 2004; Graham et al. in Martínez-Ariño & Teinturier, 2019; Halsema, 2019; Inspectie van het Onderwijs, 2020; Mason & Wareham, 2018; Terry et al., 2019; Tuastad, 2016). Evans (2016), for example, has argued that “It’s hard to see how schools can effectively teach ‘mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs’ if they don’t even want kids with different faiths and beliefs in their schools”. In the Dutch context, these questions are mainly expressed in relation to orthodox Protestant (Reformed) and Islamic schools that advocate more or less mono-religious education7 (Exalto & Bertram-Troost, 2019; Inspectie van het Onderwijs, 2020; Merry & Driessen, 2014). The raised questions tend to be about the viability of a perhaps-outdated dual education system in the Netherlands, the right of parents to send their children to publicly funded religious schools, and the right of schools to pursue student admission or teacher recruitment policies (De Jong-Markus, 2020). Similar questions are observed in other Western European countries and the USA (De Wolff et al., 2002; Martínez-Ariño & Teinturier, 2019). In this study, I will focus on OPPSs, which cover about 5% of all primary school in the Netherlands (De Muynck et al., 2014; Markus et al., 2018). These schools adhere to Reformed doctrines and often have connections to local religious communities (De Muynck, 2008; De Wolff et al., 2002; Dijkstra &Miedema, 2003). As described in Section 3.1 more extensively,8 these schools strongly emphasise their personal religious convictions and/or religious community (cf. De Wolff et al., 2003; Sterkens, 2001). Strong-religious schools are therefore explicitly challenged to articulate how they stand in relation to basic societal values (Dujardin, 2020; Inspectie van Onderwijs, 2020)9: In all schools, active promotion of basic values is important. This is especially true in schools where pupils (…) may misunderstand the views conveyed by the school. Although these schools comply with the legal task, this still requires attention because the core of the citizenship task is that schools promote the values that make our free and democratic society possible. Educational freedom gives room 7 See Chapter 3 for a more extensive description of mono-religious education. 8 Chapters 4 through 7 all contain short descriptions of these schools, highlighting different aspects – depending on the theme of the chapter. Section 2.2 describes how OPPSs were selected for the empirical part of this study and makes it clear that in practice this involves Reformed (Dutch: reformatorisch), Reformed Liberated (Dutch: gereformeerd vrijgemaakt) and Protestant (Dutch: protestants-christelijk) schools. See Exalto & Bertram-Troost (2019) for a more detailed description of orthodox Protestant schools in the Netherlands and Dutch Bible Belt Culture. 9 Although it is highlighted that the basic values must be promoted more actively, the Inspectorate of Education (2020) also found that in schools with moral views that strongly deviate from the mainstream, no education is provided that is contrary to the basic values of the democratic constitutional state.
General Introduction 21 1 to transmit one’s own views, but this is only possible if there is also room for people—including pupils—who live, think or believe differently. (Inspectie van het Onderwijs, 2020, p. 3; translation by the author) This challenge is recognised in the schools themselves: they feel the need to be socially accountable for, among other things, their civic education goals (Bertram-Troost et al., 2015b). Also from a religious and pedagogical perspective, the question of how best to equip pupils for participation in today’s society is alive in orthodox Protestant schools (Bijl, 2021; Exalto, 2018; Exalto & Bertram-Troost, 2019; Molenaar, 2019; Slagboom, 2021). Schools sometimes hesitate about how to interpret the legislature’s description of citizenship education, as among other reasons it would clash with the school’s own moral values and would require too much openness to other religions or worldviews (Bosma, 2020; Kunz & Van Doleweerd, 2021; Schreuders, 2021; Van den Brink, 2020). Internal and external religious diversity in OPPSs There is little explicit understanding of how OPPSs balance religious diversity in society in relation to their mono-religious characteristics (De Muynck & De Kock, 2009; MartínezAriño & Teinturier, 2019). When dealing with religious diversity in society and the contribution of education, the academic debate is mainly about secular versus multireligious or interreligious education in religious schools instead of mono-religious education (De Muynck & De Kock, 2009; Martínez‑Ariño & Teinturier, 2019).10 A number of Dutch empirical studies from the last twenty years indirectly describe how OPPS teachers relate to the particularity of their schools and/or to the diversity of society (e.g., Bakker & Rigg, 2004; Beemsterboer, 2018; Bertram-Troost, 2011; Bertram-Troost et al., 2015b; Boele-de Bruin & De Muynck, 2018; Budak, 2021; De Muynck, 2008; De Wolff et al., 2003; De Wolff, 2000; Pike, 2005, 2010; Rijke, 2019; Toes, 2015; Van Hardeveld, 2003; Van der Want et al., 2009; Wardekker & Miedema, 2001). I discuss some of these studies below, namely those dealing with the characterisation of orthodox Protestant schools and those dealing with the goals or motives of teachers in these schools. In addition, I point to recent literature from the context of Islamic education in the Netherlands. 10 In this thesis I use the terms ‘religious schools’ and ‘public schools’ as they most closely reflect the Dutch situation, where the literature also speaks of ‘faith-based schools’ and ‘secular schools’, respectively. Later on I will also use the term ‘denominational schools’ to refer to the non-public schools in the Netherlands. These are not only schools with a specific religious orientation, but also those with an educational or other ideological orientation (cf. Glenn & De Groof, 2005).
Chapter 1 22 Several studies deal with the characterisation of different types of religious or Christian schools, including orthodox Protestant schools, in relation to each other. Based on conceptual analysis and empirical research, Wardekker and Miedema (2001) distinguish four types of Christian schools based primarily on how schools interpret religious truth claims.11 In the context of current research, their distinction between ‘segregated schools’ and ‘programme schools’ is interesting: both types have exclusivist programmes, yet in contrast to programme schools segregated schools do not admit pupils from other religious backgrounds. Some programme schools display an inclusivistic praxis, despite more exclusivistic principles. The research of De Wolff and colleagues (2003) about what constitutes the identity of a Christian school involves one orthodox Protestant school. For the teachers of that school, the religious dimension is all-important for identity— in contrast to teachers from other Christian schools who also define identity based on pedagogical and/or educational and organisational dimensions. The mentioned school holds an exclusivistic view of the Christian faith, compared to an inclusivistic or pluralist view in other schools. According to the teachers of this orthodox Protestant school, the Christian faith also plays a decisive role in their pedagogy and education, therefore they perceive their teaching to be distinctive. However, the researchers note ambiguity in this regard when it comes to concrete goals and daily practices, because the same teachers indicate that these do not differ from those of non-Christian teachers. Bertram-Troost and colleagues (2013) examine specifically how Dutch Protestant primary schools position themselves in relation to society’s cultural and religious diversity, and examine the extent to which the previously mentioned characterisation of Wardekker and Miedema (2001) is still appropriate after more than ten years. The researchers found that the reality is more diffuse than Wardekker and Miedema’s (2001) typology suggests, and conclude that schools’ interpretations of religious truth claims seem to be less important than the typology suggests. It also appears that especially the government’s policy (including budgets) and an increasing focus on output are recent developments that have an impact on the schools, and less so, for example, the Christian backgrounds of the schools or the increasing diversity amongst pupils and/or teachers. So called segregated schools can barely be found because many schools have a heterogenous population. It should however be noted that the strongest Christian schools were not represented in the 11 Broadly speaking, the following positions are distinguished: exclusivism (the conviction that salvation applies only to those who confess Christ as Saviour, therefore there is little room to positively value other religions), inclusivism (the conviction that also those outside Christianity can be saved, but through what Christ has done and is still doing; other religions are therefore both accepted and rejected), and pluralism (the conviction that all religions are equal paths to salvation, thus rejecting any claim to (Christian) normativity and superiority) (Moyaert, 2011).
General Introduction 23 1 study of Bertram-Troost and colleagues (2013). However, the researchers mention that diversity in the population of these schools is increasing too. Other research relates to the motives and/or ideals of teachers in orthodox Protestant schools. De Muynck (2008) relates that the twenty OPPS teachers interviewed in his study are good representatives of the formal identity of the school, but that in doing so each teacher “[finds] a unique balance between demonstrating loyalty to the body of traditional thought and serving critique on it” (p. 436). This is also reflected in the aspirational main motives of teachers: ensuring security, providing care, knowing and learning to know God, bringing about an awareness of God, prompting inquisitiveness, and wanting to help in development. With regard to the last motive, teachers sometimes express anxiety about the future of their pupils in a secularised society. De Muynck (2008) also points out that teachers in schools with a diverse student population (multiple church denominations) have an alert attitude when dealing with differences. For example, teachers are keenly aware of nuanced differences in parents’ theological or lifestyle views. When it comes to issues that teachers believe have to do with the core of faith or confession, they name how they think about it—even if it contrasts with what pupils bring in. Teachers who work with younger children feel they do not need to address that yet. It also proves to be inspiring for teachers when they have pupils in the classroom with a different church background because the teachers become more aware of their own values, and what is at the core of the faith for them (De Muynck, 2008). Boele and De Muynck (2018) examined how faith is present in the professional ideals of teachers from conservative Protestant primary and secondary schools. It turned out that “teachers’ ultimate end of excellent education seems to be passing their own ideal of a good Christian life on to children” (p. 20), which is living a life as a sincere believer. When it is about how they teach, teachers link their faith to the attitudes and moral behaviour they want to practice, not to their teaching materials or didactics. In a study of what teachers at secondary schools want to achieve with the formation of pupils in relation to their own worldview and the policy of the school, Bertram-Troost and colleagues (2015b) explain that teachers at the two involved orthodox Protestant schools, more than at other schools, explicitly relate the worldview formation objectives to Christianity. It is characteristic of these schools that they want to teach pupils to think from a Christian commitment and that pupils learn to relate to aspects of society from this attitude. This may mean that the educational objective of ‘learning to think critically’ is primarily the adoption of critical perspectives from others (including teachers), and to a lesser extent, for example, ‘thinking for yourself’ or ‘forming your own opinion’. In orthodox Protestant schools, getting to know other religions or religious movements
Chapter 1 24 is considered important because as pupils recognise differences and similarities with the Christian tradition they are better equipped to defend their own Christian faith. The teachers experience a dilemma that is related to the absolute truth claim: they strongly wish for pupils to believe or start believing in the God of the Bible like they do, yet they also feel that the school is primarily a formative community (rather than a faith community), in which the development of autonomy is important. Within orthodox Protestant schools, there is also diversity of opinion regarding views that are important to the school and its constituency, even when people formally share the same religious identity. As with other Christian schools, teachers sometimes feel inhibited to talk about these differences within the school. The diversity within orthodox Protestant schools is also evident in the sociology of law research of Rijke (2019). He finds that internal diversity has increased in recent years, and as a result clashes are more likely to happen within the school around teachers’ identity-based recruitment policies. These clashes arise particularly when people already work at a school, then, for example, become members of a different church denomination or start unmarried cohabitation. Rijke (2019) characterises these clashes within orthodox Protestant communities as similar to the clash that can also be seen at the societal level between secular liberals and orthodox Protestants. In the European context, the REDCo12 research project was conducted on the ideas of 14-16-year-olds on the multicultural and multireligious society (Knauth et al., 2008; Valk et al., 2009). In the sub-study that focused on religious education teachers in secondary education, the Dutch researchers concluded that the personal biography of teachers, more than their professional biography, influences how they view diversity and what they aim for in religious education (Van der Want et al., 2009). Bertram-Troost (2011) identifies some lessons that can be drawn from the above-mentioned research for investigating religious diversity in secondary schools. She notes that there is no single definition of ‘religious diversity’, and that it is therefore important to define the concept in the research context plus always check how this is interpreted by participants. This seems to be in line with what becomes clear in the previous discussed studies, namely that not only does external religious diversity—the different religious and non-religious worldviews manifested within society—play a role, but that religious differences also emerge within schools, for example due to different church denominational positions. Therefore, in current research I will pay attention to the individuals’ perceptions about religious diversity and religious others (cf. Section 6.1). 12 Religion in Education. A Contribution to Dialogue or a Factor of Conflict in Transforming Societies of European Countries.
General Introduction 25 1 Religious diversity and Islamic schools Recently, Budak (2021) described the development of Islamic primary education in the Netherlands between 1988 and 2013. His study shows that it was precisely the social debate on the place of Islamic education in society which focused on the integration of Muslims and security after the 9/11 attacks, which ensured that these schools developed differently than, for example, Christian schools. According to Budak (2021) the identity formation of Christian primary schools is influenced by secularisation, de-churching and individualisation, while Islamic primary schools had to relate to suspicion of poor integration from politicians, media and the Inspectorate of Education. This has caused those involved with Islamic schools to express themselves more explicitly and extrovertly about the task of preparing their Muslim pupils for participation in Dutch society. Beemsterboer (2018) also pointed out that the Dutch societal context is a central feature within Islamic education because schools want to prepare their pupils for a future in the Netherlands, and tensions between Islam and that societal context are assumed; the school is perceived by pupils and parents as a safe place, therefore sensitive issues can be discussed and thus schools contribute to Muslims’ integration into Dutch society (cf. Budak, 2021). Moreover, an important characteristic of Islamic primary schools is that they are very diverse, given the great diversity among Muslims themselves and the relatively limited number of Islamic schools. This creates major differences in the backgrounds of pupils within the schools. In addition, teachers in Islamic schools are not necessarily Muslim themselves. In the practice of Islamic education much attention is paid to this diversity, so that those involved in the school grow closer to each other (Beemsterboer, 2018; Budak, 2021). The most important differences between Islamic schools have to do with the balance that is chosen between the alignment with the Islamic home environment and that with the Dutch societal context (Beemsterboer, 2018). Interestingly, both aspects deemed characteristic of Islamic education seem to have appeared in orthodox Protestant schools as well: these schools experience suspicion— or at least the need to defend themselves—and the internal diversity among the people involved with the school has increased (as described above and in Section 1.2). 1.5 Teaching Profession and Teacher Education Research on teachers’ thoughts and actions is an important way to improve understanding of how the religiously diverse context is handled in schools with monoreligious characteristics. After all, the teacher is the one who ultimately realises education while playing a key role in educational quality (Hattie, 2012; Leu, 2005; Onderwijsraad,
Chapter 1 26 2013; Weisse, 2009). Moreover, the literature evidences the ideal of the teacher as an agent of change, including social change: someone who brings about positive changes in people’s lives, at both the individual and the societal level (Bourn, 2015; Fullan, 1993; Pantić & Florian, 2015; Van der Heijden, 2017). These two levels are—as described earlier—also explicitly recognisable in citizenship education. In the case of the teacher as agent of social change, the connotation is that the teacher plays a contributory role in social justice (Bourn, 2015; Pantić & Florian, 2015). The focus on the teacher as change agent has increased because of the rapid changes in our society and the high demands this places on teachers and other professionals (Leu, 2005; Van der Heijden et al., 2015; Vereniging Hogescholen, 2019). Important personal characteristics of teachers as change agents are mastery (giving guidance and being accessible, positive, committed, trustful and self-assured), collaboration (being collegial), entrepreneurship (being innovative and feeling responsible) and lifelong learning (being eager to learn and being reflective) (Van der Heijden et al., 2015; Van der Heijden, 2017). Pantić and Florian (2015) synthesise that knowledge and understanding, the capacity to engage with educational change, and the capacity to reflect on one’s own beliefs and values are central teaching competencies when change agency is at stake. Within teacher education programmes it is also spoken about educating teachers as reflective practitioners (Leu, 2005; cf. Schön, 1973). Characteristics that are important for change agency, namely innovation and reflection, can be recognised in that idea. For example, for preservice professional training (undergraduate) it is stated that training to be reflective practitioners means paying attention to reflective skills, curiosity about knowledge and the ability to systematically acquire and apply knowledge (Leijnse et al., 2006; cf. Enthoven & Oostdam, 2014; Leu, 2005; Vereniging Hogescholen, 2019). Teachers are expected to make intentional choices and decisions at work (Van der Heijden et al., 2018). The relative autonomy they have in doing so is peculiar to teaching as a professional endeavour (Kelchtermans, 2012; Kole, 2011; cf. Pantić & Florian, 2015). Moreover, teaching is a moral profession (Fullan, 1993; Hansen, 2011 in Bourn, 2015; Kelchtermans, 2012; Kole, 2011; Lukacs, 2015). Fullan (1993) states that the combination of moral purpose and change agency is necessary for good teachers. Right when it comes to citizenship education, nowadays the role of teachers themselves is emphasised and said to deserve more attention (Inspectie van het Onderwijs, 2016; Van Waveren, 2020). De Muynck (2009) shows that, as pedagogy is by definition normative, one can never fully rely on practice when it comes to action, but will also always use concepts that have a guiding load, often coming from philosophical sources (e.g., Aristotle or the Bible). In the citizenship task normative questions are clearly recognisable, for example, when itwww.ridderprint.nl