Hanna de Jong-Markus

176 learning to deal with religious diversity though this aspect did not emerge so strongly from the literature. According to the alumni, the development needed in teacher education focuses on relating one’s own convictions to those of others and how to act on them as a professional. Teacher educators interpreted this as focusing less on right-and-wrong thinking, and they highlighted the need for conversational skills. The alumni would like to obtain more tools for dealing with diversity they meet in their teaching practice, which seems to be echoed by what teacher educators would reinforce. Furthermore, both the alumni and teacher educators noted that real-life assignments are important in teacher education and that encounters with religious others should be encouraged, perhaps by doing an internship at a school with a (slightly) different denominational identity or by exchanges with other teacher education institutions. Chapter 8 General Conclusion and Discussion In Chapter 8 the central research question is answered. This question was: How do teachers in orthodox Protestant primary schools (OPPSs) 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? (see Chapter 1). Various perspectives on teachers’ professional reconciliation showed up throughout the five sub-studies conducted. These perspectives include the specific role teachers are believed to have in the religious socialisation of children, their perceptions of religious others, and tensions or contradictions in their beliefs regarding mono-religious characteristics and religious diversity. The meaning of these perspectives provides insight for the second part of the research question, namely the implications of these aspects for preservice teacher education. First of all, according to the teachers, the Christian faith plays a central role in their lives and thus also in their work as teachers. The religious ideal of children being fully committed Christians stands out above and beyond anything and/or is at work in all their professional practices. Teachers experience that this ideal is shared with the other pedagogical agents in religious socialisation, and that together they provide children with a good foundation to be socialised in the Christian faith. However, teachers have a unique role in this, focusing on understanding the Christian faith and dealing well with religious differences. In this regard it is exemplary that teachers want to encourage inquisitiveness (Dutch: doorvragen) among their pupils. When teachers talk about religious differences and how they want to prepare their pupils for dealing with these, they are particularly concerned with denominational differences within orthodox Protestantism or the Christian tradition.