Hanna de Jong-Markus

Chapter 7 128 experiences of participants, the data were open coded and we only compared the results with the literature afterwards. The methodological details of this study are fully described in Markus et al. (2020). 7.6 Results Alumni’ views about teacher education on religious diversity Encountering fellow students and teacher educators The alumni mentioned several factors of the teacher education programme that were significant for how they learned to deal with religious diversity: encounters with students or teacher educators from other churches, the role model of teacher educators, multipleday excursions, real-life assignments and knowledge about social cultural formation and church history. The alumni also described these factors in relation to each other: excursions encourage conversations and other encounters between students, which they can then contextualise with further knowledge of church history. We will explain each of the mentioned factors. Regarding the first, by encountering fellow students and teacher educators from different Reformed church denominations, the alumni became more aware of religious differences. They learned to compare their own views with those of others, and they came to understand that they can have respect for each other without having to abandon their own views. Second, in terms of the teacher educators serving as role models, the alumni saw love for God in their lives. Moreover, they saw how most teacher educators treated mutual differences with respect, how they had conversations about differences, and how they expressed their own opinions. Third, in terms of multi-day excursions, in the first year of study, there was an excursion focused on interculturalism. Visits to an Islamic school and a mosque gave the alumni insights into what is important in Islam. In the final year, the alumni went abroad and the encounters with Christians from other cultures and contexts were enriching. Fourth, through real-life assignments, such as designing prayer schedules and comparing children’s Bibles, the alumni had to form an opinion. According to the alumni, actually having to work on this had a greater impact on them rather than discussing cases, because, as one participant (focus group 1) noted, in discussions you can simply “all talk nicely”. Finally, the alumni mentioned the knowledge they gained in the social-cultural formation course. This course enabled them to develop a broader view; they saw what a worldviewmeans and they discovered how to position themselves in the world.