Hanna de Jong-Markus

Chapter 7 132 safe, regardless of their church background. It also means for teacher educators that trainee teachers are motivated to participate to the weekly devotions at the college. Third, it is important that students learn through realistic and concrete assignments and practical experiences. The assignments provide space to practice and discover things. The (multiple-day) excursions are important because they enable teachers to actually exchange ideas and interact with people who think differently. Fourth, precisely because students differ so much in how they deal with diversity and what they are used to, it is also important to emphasize that individual guidance should be tailored to the needs of each individual. The importance of this may increase as there are more moments in the programme when trainee teachers come into contact with religious others. Ensure coherence in the programme We asked the teacher educators which factors primarily require more effort in the teacher education programme. In particular, they mentioned fostering an open and respectful attitude, developing strong conversation skills, and enhancing the ability to distinguish between major and minor issues (careful deliberation). The teacher educators also mentioned several concerns. They indicated that it is important to ensure coherence in the teacher education programme when it comes to religious diversity. The topic recurs at various places, but there is no cross-curricular approach and the theme is not always made explicit. Moreover, while excursions and fieldwork days are good and valuable moments, they take place in relative isolation. Some teacher educators are also concerned about how learning to deal with religious diversity will happen for trainee teachers who follow a program variant in which more emphasis is placed on workplace learning at a primary school in their own region. These trainee teachers spend less time in college and so are likely to come into even less contact with (internal) religious diversity. Furthermore, it was mentioned that it is important that personal development receives sufficient attention in the curriculum review that focuses primarily on skills. Several times the teacher educators mentioned the importance of a compulsory internship at a school with a (slightly) different denominational background or different population. Such an internship is seen as valuable because trainee teachers will discover in practice that many things are not self-evident; they must find a way to deal with them, which can help them reflect on what is entailed in their calling as a teacher. However, such an internship is not easy to realize. For example, it requires extra organization in the allocation of internships, it is not immediately clear at what point in the program such an internship would be most suitable, and individual guidance of students is necessary.