Hanna de Jong-Markus

Chapter 5 96 Some people [parents] are very opposed to refugees. Then, I highlight Bible verses, especially for these people. ( … ) I will tell them that, in the Bible, it is often written to not discriminate against your neighbor, so also not against the neighbor who is a refugee. Teachers suggested that parents lack nuancedpositions, andparentswerebroadly depicted as being against refugees. Teachers themselves, however, argue that it is important to have a more nuanced opinion, or they will stress that refugees are welcome. The personal opinions of teachers seem to influence their efforts in the classroom, as Nora explained: I say, “Well, some people think that the Bible clearly forbids women to wear trousers, while others, based on the same Bible, think that this is not a sin.” Then, I hope that children will start thinking on their own about what is in the Bible on this topic. Personally, I believe it is no sin at all when a woman wears trousers. Of course, this makes it easier for me [to allow pupils room for arriving at their own conclusion]. However, at some points in the interviews, teachers took a reserved position in favor of parents and churches. Nora stated this concisely: “I don’t want to be in the way of parents with what I’m saying or promoting at school.” In the data, we recognized three strategies for stimulating inquisitiveness: (1) Make (or be) aware that there are other perspectives. As Hugo said, “I want to wake them up, like ‘you can see it in another way.’ ( … ) I think it is very important if you can look at situations from at least two perspectives”; (2) Seek more information and thus formulate questions. Teachers, for example, stimulated pupils to ask why-questions and valued reactions that started with “But … ”; (3) Create space for the pupils’ questions or opinions and stimulate discussions about all kind of topics, while you wait before you give your own opinion. Teachers wanted to uphold different opinions in the classroom, and they did this sometimes by withdrawing themselves and letting children react to each other. Jasmijn recounted such a situation: Some pupils say, “Psalms are to be isometrically sung.” Then, I will ask them, “Why should that be done?” “That’s the way we do it,” they reply. I answer, “Yes, but, who is the ‘we’? Oh, the church? So everything the church says is true?” I don’t give my opinion, but I teach the children to think. 5.6 Conclusion Our research question was: What do teachers in OPPSs perceive as their role in religious socialization, especially in relation to other pedagogical agents? The examination of