Tolerance and mutual respect: How do teachers of Religious Education construct the values?

Ackroyd, Rebekah (2020) Tolerance and mutual respect: How do teachers of Religious Education construct the values? In: LED Showcase Conference 2020, 4th December 2020, Online. (Unpublished)

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Since 2011 the Teachers’ Standards have required teachers not to undermine fundamental British values, which include tolerance and mutual respect. Events including the Trojan Horse affair contributed to an increased interest in articulating a set of national values, which culminated in the production of guidance regarding how teachers could promote fundamental British values as part of SMSC in 2014. Concurrently, philosophers and theorists have debated the meanings of the terms tolerance and respect, with some including Anker and Afdal (2018) emphasising the contribution empirical research brings to such discussions.
This paper presents the findings from a pilot study undertaken in January 2020 as part of a doctoral thesis. The paper focuses on exploring how teachers in this study construct the concepts of tolerance and mutual respect and looks at how their constructions compare to constructions of the values from within the philosophical literature. The data collected and discussed in this paper comprises: twelve lesson observations of RE and Citizenship lessons; semi-structured interviews with three RE teachers; and, three focus groups with pupils. Consultation of documents including schemes of work and evidence of activities related to promoting tolerance and respect has also contributed to developing an understanding of the context of the department and school. The research aims to construct a ‘thick description’ (Geetz, 1973) of understandings and practices in the case study school.
This research offers an original insight into how two values, which form a key component of a national policy agenda, have been enacted at the local level. Existing research has focused on overall understandings and enactments of fundamental British values in schools. This research addresses a gap by exploring how teachers and pupils interpret and enact two of the values in the context of their school. Whilst the research does not seek to be generalizable, it aims to be of interest to RE and Citizenship teachers and policy makers. It is hoped that the findings may facilitate reflection on educators’ own understandings and practices of promoting tolerance and respect. By highlighting the complexity and potential contradictions inherent within promoting tolerance and respect, the research emphasises the contribution which empirical research, alongside philosophical debate and critical engagement with existing research, brings to improving the understanding of values education and social justice (Anker and Afdal, 2018).

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Departments: Learning Education and Development (LED)
Depositing User: Christian Stretton
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2020 10:28
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 11:30


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