Hanna de Jong-Markus

Stimulating Inquisitiveness 5 97 teachers’ professional ideals revealed that one ideal stands out above and beyond anything, and/or works through everything; namely, the religious ideal of children being committed Christians. This was also recognized in how participants implicitly and explicitly connected their social-pedagogical and academic ideals to the religious ideal. Based on their professional ideals, we conclude that contributing to the religious socialization of children matters to teachers. Analysisof howteachersperceive their roleamidother agents showed that theyexperience working all together toward the same purpose. However, they distinguish a distinct role for themselves, shown in five categories of differences. First, although teachers feel themselves highly responsible, they think parents have the greatest responsibility for religious socialization. Second, teachers primarily focus on qualification of children and their academic development instead of upbringing (parents) or ecclesiastical activities (liturgy, pastoral care, and doctrines). In religious education, they want children to understand things rather than to only appropriate religious beliefs. Third, teachers see themselves as experts on how to connect with the level of children. They also say they have more time and opportunities to pay attention to religious upbringing. Fourth, teachers have other relationships with children, which means that they have another degree of familiarity with the kids than parents have. Fifth, teachers operate in different settings than parents do; for example, on a more individual base or in a group setting. However, what the differences in the last two categories mean is explained in different ways by the teachers. What is mentioned by one participant, as being a strong point of the teacher’s role, is mentioned by another as being in favor of the parents’ role. This might depend on specific situational characteristics, such as the pupils’ backgrounds. The uniqueness of the teachers’ role is recognized in what some of the teachers say about inquisitiveness. Teachers describe inquisitiveness (Dutch: doorvragen) as essential in order to develop one’s own opinions, to know why one has these opinions, and to be aware of other opinions. Thus, people can overcome narrow-mindedness, can be more deeply rooted in their faith, and can have more respect for people with other opinions. Inquisitiveness is mostly mentioned in relation to different opinions and practices among Christians, and several teachers stated that parents tend to have less nuanced stances. Teachers regularly positioned themselves in opposition to parents, but sometimes they took a more reserved position on issues. According to the teachers, stimulating inquisitiveness consists of three strategies: becoming aware that there are other perspectives, seeking more information by formulating questions, and engaging in stimulating conversations.