Hanna de Jong-Markus

Religious Tolerance as Educational Goal in Orthodox Protestant Schools 3 63 urge teachers, and in particular teacher education programmes, to pay more attention to professional ideals in general, because this will benefit the practices of the teaching profession. In this regard, the strength of denominational schools might be that these schools have a shared moral framework (Nieuwelink et al., 2016). Our focus on professional ideals and beliefs does have some limitations. The larger belief system of teachers is very complex; much about how it actually functions remains unknown and unexamined (Fives & Buehl, 2012). For example, there are important questions on the influence of context and the relationship between beliefs and practices (cf. Fives & Buehl, 2012). However, as shown in this article, the use of theories about teachers’ beliefs and professional ideals does provide some principles that can help develop a better understanding of the tensions. Furthermore, the findings described here are applicable to a wider spectrum of schools than only strong religious schools, since most schools present a certain world view that contrasts with other world views or religions (e.g., a political preference). Tensions arising from the promotion of tolerance, while claiming a certain truth or having a homogenous school population, are therefore not restricted to strong religious schools—although these tensions receive significant weight in strong religious schools by the exclusive view on truth and eternal salvation. Conversely, it is important to highlight that not all OPPSs are characterised as having a religiously homogenous school population. Classrooms in OPPSs with open pupil enrolment can be populated by pupils from various religious backgrounds. Still, in other cases and in addition to the other kind of differences that are likely to be present in religious homogeneous populations; children in OPPSs usually are related to different churches, which might give them some experiences of religious diversity (cf. De Wolff, 2006). As noted in the Introduction, further empirical research is greatly needed. In our upcoming empirical study about how teachers professionally reconcile a religiously diverse society and mono-religious school characteristics, we will—in line with current theoretical exploration—particularly focus on teachers’ professional beliefs and their reflection around possible tensions.