Hanna de Jong-Markus

Chapter 7 122 their profession (O’Neill, 2017). This issue is very important because, often times, existing literature on how to train trainee teachers does not assume that those teachers will work in schools with a relatively homogeneous population and that they have spent their school career in such an environment (cf. Reid & Major, 2018). Therefore, in addition to our previous research, we conducted another explorative empirical study. Our research question is: What do alumni and teacher educators identify as being significant for primary school teachers’ learning about religious diversity in orthodox Protestant teacher education? We aimed to indicate current practices, and from there provide an impetus for reflection on the contribution that orthodox Protestant teacher education programs can offer.66 In the following sections, we first describe the context and examine literature on teacher education in relation to religious diversity. We then describe our methods and empirical results.67 Finally, we relate the various insights we obtained in order to answer the research question, we reflect on the outcomes and make recommendations. Although our starting point is the Dutch situation and a specific university for teacher education68, we will draw parallels to other contexts. OPPSs and religious diversity The Dutch government has to ensure that public education is available throughout the country. Those who wish to provide education based on their own religious, ideological, or educational beliefs can establish schools for denominational education (Dutch Eurydice Unit, 2007; Glenn and De Groof, 2005). Both public and denominational education are funded by the government and must meet comparable quality requirements. There is no national curriculum, but there are attainment targets (Dutch Eurydice Unit, 2007; Glenn and De Groof, 2005). About two-thirds of the primary schools are denominational schools, and at least 5% of all primary schools are OPPSs (DUO, 2016; Markus et al., 2021a). OPPSs refer in their mission statements to the Reformed (Calvinistic) doctrines (De Muynck et al., 2014; DUO, 2016; Markus et al., 2021a). Teachers at these schools are expected to be practicing members of orthodox Protestant churches. Some schools also have an enrolment policy for pupils (De Muynck et al., 2014). 66 This study does not aim to evaluate concrete practices; rather, it focuses on alumni’ and teacher educators’ views. 67 We thank Daniël Bos MSc for his contributions to conducting the empirical part. 68 Namely, DCU, where two of the authors work. They do not work in the undergraduate program, which is the subject of this article.