Hanna de Jong-Markus

Chapter 1 28 1.6 Research Question and Research Aims The problem statement shows that little is currently known about how teachers of OPPSs professionally reconcile the context of religious diversity in relation to the mono-religious characteristics of their schools and about what this means for how teacher education programmes can equip future teachers. At the same time, the problem statement shows that the reinforcement of citizenship education is desired for purposes of social cohesion, among other things. How OPPS teachers deal with religious diversity can be a relevant factor here, because the teacher plays a decisive role in education. To learn more about the position of the teachers, I conduct an empirical study based on the following research question: How do teachers in orthodox Protestant primary schools 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?13 Several subquestions have been formulated, each contributing to map out an aspect contained in the research question. Subquestion 1 is: What does religious tolerance as an educational goal mean, and how can the tensions that might emerge in orthodox Protestant primary schools around that goal be understood from a theoretical perspective? Answering this question provides a theoretical basis for this research because the tensions that might emerge around religious tolerance can be illustrative of other potential tensions related to religious diversity and mono-religiosity. Next, with subquestions 2 and 3 I explore what the mono-religious characteristics mean for teachers. Subquestion 2 asks: Is the mono-religious school characteristic important for teachers working at Dutch OPPSs, and what are the reasons for this? Because the answer to this question shows that the professional ideal of children becoming committed Christians is decisive, I next examine how teachers define their professional role in this process. Subquestion 3 therefore reads: What do teachers in OPPSs perceive as their role in religious socialisation, especially in relation to other pedagogical agents? Next, the focus lies on how teachers relate to the religious diversity of society. Subquestion 4 asks: What do OPPS teachers believe about religious others, and how might this be related to their beliefs about the Christian faith? Finally, this is further applied to teacher 13 Dutch: Hoe verhouden leraren in orthodox-christelijke basisscholen zich als professional tot de levensbeschouwelijke diversiteit van de samenleving en de mono-religieuze kenmerken van hun school; en wat zijn de implicaties daarvan voor de initiële lerarenopleiding?