Hanna de Jong-Markus

162 diversity in society. However, since there is no universal definition of tolerance, it is difficult to define what this educational goal means. Moreover, in strong religious communities, the value of tolerance is sometimes debated and public opinion sometimes holds that strong religious schools threaten the personal development of pupils and social cohesion through a lack of attention to individual autonomy and tolerance. For a better theoretical understanding of the potential tensions that teachers in strong religious schools might experience and what this means for teachers’ professionalism, the following research question was formulated: What does religious tolerance as an educational goal mean, and how can the tensions which might emerge in orthodox Protestant primary schools around that goal be understood from a theoretical perspective? Religious tolerance was chosen as a central topic because the tensions between strong convictions (mono-religiosity) within a religiously diverse context arise in a particularly notable way, since the confrontation between these two poles is central to the concept of tolerance itself. It was expected that the insights gained with this concept as starting point will also be helpful more broadly in understanding other aspects related to citizenship education in strong religious schools. In many reports on education, democracy and/or citizenship education worldwide, tolerance is mentioned as an educational goal since it is believed that without tolerance, social cohesion in a diverse society cannot exist. In the Netherlands, schools have been obliged by law to promote ‘active citizenship and social cohesion’ since 2006. Because of the Dutch emphasis on educational freedom, regulations on teaching tolerance do not prescribe in detail what teaching pupils about tolerance exactly consists of. Approximately 5% of all primary schools in the Netherlands are OPPSs that could best be characterised as schools with mono-religious characteristics. This means that the sociocultural context is dominated by orthodox Protestantism, the normative basis is the confession of the absolute truth and value of the (orthodox Protestant) Christian tradition and the pedagogic aim is the internalisation of that tradition. With regard to religious tolerance as an educational goal, the potential for both ideological and didactical tensions is recognised because of the strong emphasis of OPPSs on their own convictions and community. With regard to potential didactical tensions, the concept of tolerance and how it is shaped as an educational goal in OPPSs was examined. The lack of consensus on the interpretation of tolerance primarily concerns what should be the minimal amount of objection and what should be the minimal degree of acceptance. However, three main characteristics of tolerance that are frequently mentioned in the literature and are relevant for how OPPS teachers could deal with this concept were found. First, tolerance is not a natural