Hanna de Jong-Markus

Chapter 7 130 colleges to increase encounters with religious others. In addition, they stressed the importance of the real-life assignments mentioned earlier. Additionally, they indicated that the social-cultural formation course means a lot to some students, while others cannot do anything with its content. It was recommended to search for ways in which this course can appeal to all students; as one participant (focus group 1) said: “Differentiation should then not only be done in primary or secondary education, but also in the teacher education.” Students’ backgrounds and parents’ influences The alumni indicated that teacher education is not the only environment in which they learned to deal with religious diversity. Moreover, they highlighted that the students’ backgrounds and the parents’ influences play a major role. Some students are used to more openness than others. One alumnus (focus group 1) mentioned the example that his parents were not happy that a minister from another church denomination was joining the excursion to Israel, while he was happy about it. Particularly in focus group 1, some of the alumni indicated that they realized that they are living in a social bubble and that they sometimes are less aware of what they stand for. They thought it valuable when teachers first have other jobs in non-Christian environments or experiences abroad. Teacher educators’ views about teacher education on religious diversity Less right-and-wrong thinking What teacher educators believe to be significant for trainee teachers to develop during their undergraduate studies in order to be competent in dealing with religious diversity, could be categorized as follows: engaging in encounters, open attitudes, conversational skills, growth of personal convictions, deepening knowledge, and carefully considering. These could be stimulated in teacher education in four ways, namely: increasing knowledge and reflection, the university as a training ground, real-life assignments and practical experiences, and tailored guidance. We explain each of those factors below. First, engaging in encounters means that students get to know religious others. They are sometimes not used to that, and they need to be courageous. It is about students getting out of their comfort zone and daring to confront it. When it comes to internal religious diversity, this also means that students allow themselves to be vulnerable by talking about their own religious experiences instead of “leaving themselves out of harm’s way” (participant focus group 4) and just talking about ‘the pastor’ or ‘the sermon’. If some