Hanna de Jong-Markus

Chapter 6 104 considered. First, several empirical studies show that teachers critically evaluate aspects of their school’s formal identity or how this is interpreted by the school board (BertramTroost et al., 2017; De Muynck, 2008; Van Hardeveld, 2003). Second, the influence of traditional, institutionalized religions and fixed dogmas has generally decreased, and the emphasis on personal convictions has increased (Bernts & Berghuijs, 2016; Davie, 2000; Taylor, 2002, 2007), a trend that has also influenced Dutch orthodox Protestant communities (Dekker, 2016; Exalto, 2018; Visscher, 2014). Third, some studies show that teachers experience tensions in what they are assumed to believe as Christians (theology) and teachers (pedagogy) and have difficulty integrating their aspiration of a distinctively Christian education with their professional role as teachers (Cooling et al., 2016; Häusler et al., 2019). Thus, teachers’ beliefs do not automatically reflect the formal identity of their schools. Therefore, this study examines beliefs at the level of individual teachers. A belief can be defined as “a proposition which may be consciously or unconsciously held, is evaluative in that it is accepted as true by the individual and is therefore imbued with emotive commitment” (Borg, 2001, p. 186). When unconscious beliefs are accessed by interviewing, the nature of these beliefs might change into conscious beliefs (Fives and Buehl, 2012). We start by paying attention to the concrete interactions of teachers with religious others, since beliefs are activated by context demands (Fives & Buehl, 2012). Teachers’ religious or worldview beliefs are assumed to influence professional beliefs and teaching practices at the educational, didactical, and psychological levels (Häusler et al., 2019). Teachers at strong Christian schools consciously create links between their personal religious faith and their profession and communicate about that (DeMuynck, 2008; Häusler et al., 2019). Within the “theology in four voices” approach (Cameron et al., 2010), religious beliefs can be seen as expressions of espoused theology, i.e., the articulated theology of believers. These expressions are developed in relation to other strands of theological communication, namely, normative theology (e.g., scriptures and official church teaching), formal theology (e.g., theology of theologians), and operant theology (theology embedded in actual practices) (Cameron et al., 2010; Ward, 2017). Before presenting our methods and results, we will now clarify the position of OPPSs in a diverse Dutch society. Orthodox Protestant schools and religious diversity In the Dutch context, freedom of education means that—next to public education, which is initiated and provided by the government—private organizations or persons have the legal right to found and run denominational schools in which specific religious, ideological, or educational beliefs are expressed in what is taught and how (Dutch Eurydice Unit, 2007;