Hanna de Jong-Markus

158 3. What do teachers in orthodox Protestant primary schools perceive as their role in religious socialisation, especially in relation to other pedagogical agents? (Chapter 5) 4. What do orthodox Protestant primary school teachers believe about religious others, and how might this be related to their beliefs about the Christian faith? (Chapter 6) 5. What do alumni and teacher educators identify as being significant for primary school teachers’ learning about religious diversity in orthodox Protestant teacher education? (Chapter 7) This study aims to fill the gap of scholarly, empirical understanding of strong religious schools in plural societies, and the findings can hopefully inform the debate about the position of strong religious schools in a diverse society. Furthermore, the results may provide potential starting points to further promote social cohesion in OPPSs. Because in other national contexts similar social issues surrounding religious schools are at play, it is expected that the findings will be transferable to other situations as well. Chapter 2 Methods The qualitative research design of the study suits its exploratory purpose. Because it is important to gain insights into how teachers themselves understand their social reality, an interpretative approach is chosen in conducting the research. Individual interviews and focus groups The main portion of the empirical study (sub-studies 2, 3 and 4) consists of individual interviews among 16 teachers in orthodox Protestant primary schools (OPPSs). This is combined with a focus group study (sub-study 5) among alumni and teacher educators of Driestar ChristianUniversity for Teacher Education (DCU), which is theorthodoxProtestant institute from which over half of the individually interviewed teachers graduated. Indepth interviews are used since these are especially appropriate to exploring personal and sensitive issues. Focus group interviews allow for covering the breadth of opinions around a possibly tense topic within an institution. Furthermore, focus groups fit the context of the study because encouraging participants to further think and reflect on their daily practices was desirable. Participants of the individual interviews study Because there is substantial variation among OPPSs, the sampling strategy used aimed for maximum variation. The participants are individual teachers, but the sampling is based on