Hanna de Jong-Markus

Summary 169 parents have the greatest responsibility for religious socialisation. Second, all pedagogical agents’ tasks are different: teachers primarily focus on children’s academic outcomes and qualification instead of upbringing (parents) or ecclesiastical activities (liturgy, pastoral care and doctrines). Third, teachers have other pedagogical opportunities: they see themselves as experts on how to connect with the level of children, whereas it is supposed that parents sometimes find this difficult and that the message in the church is regularly over the heads of children. Also, teachers say they have a lot of time and opportunities during lessons to pay attention to religious upbringing. Fourth, teachers have other relationships with children, which means that they have another degree of familiarity with the kids compared to their parents. Fifth, teachers operate in different settings than parents do; for example, on a more individual basis or in a group setting. However, themeaning of the differences in the last two categories is explained in different ways by the teachers. What is mentioned by one participant as being a strong point of the teacher’s role is mentioned by another as being in favour of the parents’ role. This might depend on specific situational characteristics, such as the pupils’ backgrounds. The third perspective is about inquisitiveness (Dutch: doorvragen), which can be seen as exemplary for teachers’ perceptions of their role with regard to religious socialisation. On the basis of our findings, inquisitiveness could be described as not taking a statement, answer or situation for granted, but asking critical questions in order to deepen one’s understanding of a phenomenon, as well as others’ perspectives of it. According to the teachers, inquisitiveness is essential for people in order to develop their own opinions, to know why they have these opinions and to be aware of other opinions. They believe that, in this way, people can overcome narrow-mindedness, are more deeply rooted in their faith and can have more respect for people with other opinions. Most of the time, participants referred to inquisitiveness with regard to different opinions and practices among Christians, such as about Bible translations and how to properly spend Sundays. In these issues, participants regularly positioned themselves in opposition to the parents. According to the teachers, stimulating inquisitiveness consists of three strategies: becoming aware that there are other perspectives, seeking more information by formulating questions and engaging in stimulating conversations. The personal opinions of teachers seem to influence their efforts in the classroom, because, for example, if a teacher does not believe that wearing trousers is sin for women, it is easier for them to allow pupils to arrive at their own conclusion about such an issue and withdraw themself. Although teachers sometimes oppose the ideas of parents, they will also sometimes take a reserved position in favour of parents and churches.