Hanna de Jong-Markus

Preface Dona Nobis Pacem This dissertation does not appear in a vacuum but responds to all sorts of developments in Dutch society. For example, the dissertation can be read as a response to the almost simultaneously published report by the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP), which concludes that religious groups in the Netherlands have become minorities (De Hart et al., 2022). Following that conclusion, the authors state: “The SCP [Netherlands Institute for Social Research] advises policymakers to focus on mutual understanding and acceptance and to promote a society in which everyone can participate fully. (...) In addition, schools can be an excellent place to meet others and a place where pupils learn to deal with opinions and values that are different from their own.” (SCP, 2022, par 5; translation JJdJ-M) I hope and believe that the results of my research can contribute to this. At the same time, it has become even clearer to me over the past few years that dealing well with diversity is an immense task that cannot be done without the prayer of Dona Nobis Pacem. The dissertation was not written in a vacuum but is the result of cooperation between various parties. It is great and important that Driestar Christian University for Teacher Education (DCU) and the OJKC (Research Centre for Youth, Church and Culture), as part of the Protestant Theological University (PThU), have made this research possible and as a result ensure a connection between science and practice. In the background, the cooperation with NorthWest University Potchefstroom and the National Institute for Christian Education Research (Canterbury Christ Church University) has also played a stimulating role. This dissertation is the story of teachers who put their heart and soul into good education. Their openness and enthusiasm was inspiring and showed me once again how wonderful and challenging the teaching profession is. Many thanks to the participants for meeting with me! Finally, I did not have to work on this dissertation in a vacuum. The insights and support of my supervisors were of great importance. Each of them contributed their expertise in a collaboration that was always constructive. Professor Marcel Barnard, Professor Jos de Kock, Professor Gerdien Bertram-Troost and Professor Bram de Muynck, each of you encouraged me in your own way to express myself. For that I am very grateful to you. I have learned a lot from you and that continues to be significant. In addition, I have been blessed with the presence and interest of many other people around me. I am thinking of colleagues at DCU and PThU, fellow researchers I have met elsewhere, ‘good neighbours’ from the Hodshonhof residential group, and certainly my family and friends. It is with you that I live. Dear Matthijs and Ruben, I cannot imagine better travelling companions than you in my life and that makes me intensely happy and thankful. I dedicate this dissertation to my parents, Huib and Josien Markus-Schuurman. Utrecht, March 2022 Hanna de Jong-Markus