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Issues in Educational Research, 2019, Vol 29(1), 141-157.
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Truth claims, commitment and openness in Finnish Islamic and Lutheran religious education classrooms

Anuleena Kimanen
University of Helsinki, Finland

This article examines how two Finnish religious education (RE) teachers, one in Islamic and one in Lutheran RE, seek to construct openness when dealing with religious truth claims and religious commitment, the key areas in which indoctrination might take place. It also observes how these constructions work in the classroom and explains them in the light of teacher intentions and pupil pre-understandings of the RE classroom setting. Focusing on Islamic RE contests secular and Protestant discourses concerning the practices of RE in Europe, especially in denominational settings. Comparing the two contexts, Islamic minority and Lutheran majority RE, also helps to avoid over-interpretations about the impact of Islam. The issue is approached by combining classroom observations with teacher and pupil perspectives expressed in interviews. The findings suggest that there was frequent mismatch between teacher goals and pupil interpretation. In order to 'do openness' in the classroom more effectively, RE teachers should regard openness and critical thinking as learning objectives instead of mere circumstances of learning.
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Author: Anuleena Kimanen PhD is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Helsinki. The study presented in this article was conducted in the Faculty of Educational Sciences of the University. Her research focuses on religious education, especially from pupils' perspectives, and interfaith competencies.
Email: anuleena.kimanen@helsinki.fi
Web: https://tuhat.helsinki.fi/portal/en/person/kimanen

Please cite as: Kimanen, A. (2019). Truth claims, commitment and openness in Finnish Islamic and Lutheran religious education classrooms. Issues in Educational Research, 29(1), 141-157. http://www.iier.org.au/iier29/kimanen.pdf

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Created 19 Jan 2019. Last correction: 19 Jan 2019.
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