Hanna de Jong-Markus

Chapter 4 78 Cohesion is an issue in all three interests The interests can be distinguished from one another, but they are still strongly related. This was revealed when teachers mentioned several interests simultaneously. Daniël, for instance, said, Well, I think that it is important that … what is taught in church, at home, and at school, is more or less one. This way, [a teacher] does not need to think: “Let us see, now that I am at school, I should tell it in this way.” [cf. Interest 2]. And also, for the children, it is clear if the same is told at home, at school, and in church. It would be double-hearted if [the parents] have to say to their children, “When you are at school, you should believe this, but not the other.” [cf. Interest 3] The close connection between the interests can also be explained because all three connect to the concept of cohesion. In our study, we found that people experienced cohesion when their orthodox Protestant beliefs and practices could be shared and expressed within different environments and/or domains. Interest 3 shows that teachers address this as an essential part of their views on good education for the children’s sake. Interests 1 and 2 indicate that teachers prefer cohesion for the sake of their own wellbeing, too. Interest 1 is about cohesion between one’s religious and professional ideals, while Interest 2 is about cohesion of one’s private and professional environment as well as cohesion within the school. Religious, pedagogical, and formational influences The different interests showed different angles related to cohesion. In the interviews, we also found convictions that underlie these interests, which we call “influences.” These explain something about why the interests have value for the teachers. We distinguished religious, pedagogical, and formational influences, which could mostly be applied to all three interests. However, the pedagogical influences do not seem to match with Interest 2. First, there were religious influences. The Christian faith was very important to the teachers, and they strived to give it a central position within all aspects of their life, including their profession. They could not imagine keeping certain beliefs private. Luuk, for example, declared, “… I cannot deny myself. And I cannot deny God. It is so interwoven … so in everything the children will experience that I live in the Lord Jesus. And that is an ideal which surpasses everything.” Furthermore, some teachers declared that, because the teaching profession is about the formation of young children and about norms and values, religion’s influence on the profession is more obvious and important.