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ERIC Number: EJ1121129
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Dec
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2255-7547
A Retrospective Introduction to Religious Education: An Interpretive Approach
Jackson, Robert
Discourse and Communication for Sustainable Education, v7 n1 p149-160 Dec 2016
The author takes a retrospective look at his book "Religious Education: An Interpretive Approach," first published in 1997, and now available to readers, open access, via the European Wergeland Centre website ( He tells a personal story of teaching, broadcasting and research, moving from the design of a methodology for studying the religions of minority groups in Britain to identifying the main concepts used for teaching about religions to children and young people in an engaging way, which relates to their own personal and social experience. The article explains the key concept of "representation"--looking, for example, at how religions are often represented in ways that play down their internal diversity. Next the concept of "interpretation" is considered, emphasising the activity through which learners can compare and contrast the use of language by religious believers with their own nearest equivalent language uses, in trying, with sensitivity, to get as close as possible to their meanings. Finally, the process of "reflexivity" is explained; this gives learners an opportunity for three activities--to re-assess their understanding of their own world view (called "edification" in the interpretive approach), to make a distanced critique of beliefs and ideas they have studied, and to evaluate the methods that they have been using to learn about the religious meanings of others. Finally the author illustrates how the key concepts from the interpretive approach have been adapted for use in field research studies on teaching and learning about religions.
De Gruyter Open. Available from: Walter de Gruyter, Inc. 121 High Street, Third Floor, Boston, MA 02110. Tel: 857-284-7073; Fax: 857-284-7358; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A