Hanna de Jong-Markus

174 The literature showed that in teacher education, attention to religious diversity has two distinct but related perspectives, namely how trainee teachers are prepared to effectively dealwithpupilsof different backgrounds themselvesandhowtrainee teachersareprepared to train their pupils to interact well with others. It appears that for both perspectives similar factors are significant in teacher education. First, trainee teachers’ backgrounds (such as gender, age or being part of a minority group) and their prior experiences of diversity should be considered, because these have a major impact on what the trainee teachers learn about diversity and how they learn it. Furthermore, six different competencies for dealing with religious diversity were recognised, namely awareness of differences, an open attitude, proper knowledge about others, critical consciousness, balancing personal beliefs with professional responsibilities and pedagogies for diversity. Also, five regularly mentioned ways of acquiring such in teacher education could be distinguished, namely the classroom as a learning community, teacher educators as role models, experiential learning, critical reflection and transfer of knowledge. The alumni mentioned several factors of the teacher education programme that were significant for how they learned to deal with religious diversity: encounters with fellow studentsor teacher educators fromother churches, rolemodelsamong teacher educators, multiple-day excursions, real-life assignments and knowledge about sociocultural formation and church history. The alumni also described these factors in relation to each other: excursions encourage conversations and other encounters between students, which they can then contextualise with further knowledge of church history. Regardingwhether their teacher education sufficiently equipped them to deal with religious diversity, the alumni on the one hand said that they manage well in practice and thus did not miss anything. On the other hand, alumni found it especially difficult in their work practices to determine how to act when there are different views among pupils, among themselves and parents or among themselves and the school board or colleagues. The alumni indicated that they would have valued receiving more tools from teacher education about how to have conversations in situations such as these. Moreover, they suggested that it might be significant for teacher education to pay more attention to experiences from outside the trainee teachers’ own context. The alumni suggested organising exchanges with students from other teacher education colleges to increase encounters with religious others. In addition, they stressed the importance of the real-life assignments mentioned earlier. Finally, the trainee teachers indicated that teacher education is not the only environment in which they learned to deal with religious diversity and they highlighted that the students’ backgrounds and the parents’ influences play a major role.