Hanna de Jong-Markus

Chapter 8 138 My study exposes the beliefs of teachers working in orthodox Protestant primary schools (OPPSs). OPPSs are characterized by an emphasis on their own convictions and communities. And yet these schools are part of a religiously diverse society. Teaching to deal with diversity should therefore be an important focus for teachers, as expressed for example in the statutory duty of citizenship education. Based on various societal developments, related issues for orthodox Protestant education and previous research, this central research question was formulated in the General Introduction (Chapter 1): How do teachers in orthodox Protestant primary schools professionally reconcile the context of a religiously diverse society and the mono-religious characteristics of their schools, and what are the implications for preservice teacher education? Based on the outcomes of the different sub-studies72, I will in current chapter answer this question and reflect on the relevance of the findings for both theory and practice. In the last section, I share some methodological reflections and considerations for the benefit of future research. 8.1 Conclusion The joint sub-studies show various perspectives on how teachers in OPPSs professionally reconcile the context of a religiously diverse society and themono-religious characteristics of their schools. These perspectives contain the specific role teachers believe to have within the religious socialisation of children, their perceptions of religious others, and tensions or contradictions in their beliefs regarding religious diversity and mono-religious characteristics. With regard to the first perspective, I found that religious socialisation is for OPPS teachers an important aspect of their profession. Within religious socialisation, they distinguish a specific role for themselves which focuses on the understanding of the Christian faith and dealing well with particularly denominational differences within orthodox Protestantism or the Christian tradition. The second perspective shows that teachers express remarkably unequivocal notions about the distinctiveness of Christian faith, but when it is about religious others they are more reluctant in their statements. Their definitions of the nonreligious or of religious others vary greatly, and they speak about their relation towards religious others in terms of distinction from, identification with, or recognition of the religious other. The third perspective is about tensions or contradictions that emerge at various moments in the beliefs OPPS teachers express, especially in relation to religious 72 The sub-studies are described in Chapters 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. See following footnotes for the relations between the perspectives that are described in the General Conclusion, and the different substudies.