From being on the margins of scholarly debate for much of the past century and a half, religion is being recognized once again as an area of concern for scholars, politicians, and public policy makers, and thus, the role of religious and spiritual education has taken on a new importance. Apart from its socio-political ramifications, the place of religiousness and spirituality in the make-up of individuals has been given renewed prominence through updated brain science, and neuroscientists regularly refer to elements of this brain science in terms such as spiritual intelligence and even mystical consciousness.
This book explores many of the new directions being taken in the field of religious and spiritual education, as new developments challenge the priorities of formal education, and open up new avenues for incorporating religion and spirituality into the modern curriculum. It asks whether the educational aims of teachers should be focused on specifically personal development, or whether religious education should be used to develop understanding of more global and social issues such as citizenship, conflict, and ethics. The book also addresses neuroscientific insights, which suggest a need to engage with cognition and emotion in order to create a rich learning environment, something to which a particularly contested subject area like religion and spirituality is well-placed to contribute. This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Beliefs & Values.
Table of Contents
Introduction Arniika Kuusisto and Terence Lovat
1. The development and dissemination of Council of Europe policy on education about religions and non-religious convictions Robert Jackson
2. The potential impact of the neurosciences on religious and spiritual education: ramifying from the impact on values education Peter Mudge, Daniel Fleming and Terence Lovat
3. Pupils’ views of religious education in a pluralistic educational context Arniika Kuusisto and Arto Kallioniemi
4. What should religious education in Germany be about and how does religiosity fit into this picture? An empirical study of pre-service religious education teachers’ beliefs on the aims of RE Ulrich Riegel and Hans Mendl
5. Creating metacognitive environments in primary school RE classrooms Shirley Larkin, Rob Freathy, Karen Walshe and Jonathan Doney
6. The core of religious education: Finnish student teachers’ pedagogical aims Elina Kuusisto and Kirsi Tirri
7. Altruistic values in children’s spirituality: a study of children’s responses to the terror attacks in Oslo and on Utøya and issues of education Sturla Sagberg
8. The Little Prince – an introduction to spirituality: a moving experience in religious education for primary school children in a secularised world Ina ter Avest and Roseanne McDougall
9. Prayer as a cause of recovery from illness Dimitris Pnevmatikos
10. Religious and spiritual education in disability situations in Italy Valeria Friso and Roberta Caldin
11. Towards international comparative research on the professionalisation of Religious Education Rob Freathy, Stephen G. Parker, Friedrich Schweitzer and Henrik Simojoki
12. Measuring religious social capital: scale properties of the modified Williams Religious Social Capital Index among Friends of cathedrals Judith A. Muskett
Terence Lovat is Professor Emeritus at Newcastle University, Australia, and Honorary Research Fellow at Oxford University, UK. He is a former Dean of Education and Pro Vice-Chancellor at Newcastle University, and is now a full-time research scholar. His main areas of interest are in religious education, values education, and Islam in schools.
Arniika Kuusisto is Adjunct Professor and University Lecturer at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and Visiting Associate Professor at University of Warwick, UK. Her research interests include socialization and agency in worldview development, sensitivities in teachers’ pedagogical toolkits, and the negotiations on values and memberships that children and young people go through in multicultural and multi-faith settings.
"Contemporary Challenges for Religious and Spiritual Education is a text that academics and researchers would find highly valuable as they seek to understand current trends in religious and spiritual education." - Adam Paape, International Journal of Christianity & Education