Transition Processes in ‘Reluctant States’

James Nelson, Jones Irwin

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This paper draws on data from a research project which aimed to identify the range of responses being made by primary schools on the island of Ireland to the increasing diversity of beliefs amongst the student populations, especially in regards to religious education. It was discovered that in recent years a number of adjustments and mitigations have been made in both jurisdictions on the island but with significant variation across different school types. In addition, the research identified a persistent characteristic of governments has been to adopt a laissez-faire approach to the role of religion in education. Using strategic action field theory (SAF), the authors highlight three intersecting subfields – system, ethos and learning - where change is taking place. Drawing upon this theory, it is noted that managing change effectively will require a coordinated approach across all three fields and is dependent upon teachers with diverse beliefs being able to make sense of the role of religion in school and their role as religious educators in particular.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2021
EventInternational Seminar on Religious Education and Values 2021: Transition processes in the public sphere as context for religious and values education - University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 26 Jul 202130 Jul 2021


ConferenceInternational Seminar on Religious Education and Values 2021
Abbreviated titleISREV 2021


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