Research Conversations with Classroom Teachers
Chapter 8: Theological Issues for the Churches
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Theological Issues for the Churches
A Fundamental Challenge
In Chapter 2, we noted the aspiration of both the Church of England and the Catholic Church that their schools should provide a distinctive education for their students. The Church of England’s Chadwick Report referred to this as a ‘brand’ (Archbishops’ Council, 2012, 3). In the Catholic system it is often described as the ‘Catholicity’ of the school (Casson, 2013), which Professor of Catholic Education Gerald Grace (drawing on Pierre Bourdieu) defines as ‘the distinctive spiritual, religious and cultural habitus in which the presence of God is encountered’ (2002, 207).
In this research, our intention was to explore whether the What If Learning approach ‘worked’ in the sense of offering our fourteen teachers a constructive and intelligible way for them to implement this aspiration for distinctiveness. The insights that we gained suggest that the approach does appear to work when teachers understand how being distinctively Christian is directly relevant to their core professional responsibility of promoting learning in their subject discipline. Classroom examples of this were offered in Chapter 4. However the approach does not appear to work when the teachers are unable to integrate the aspiration to be distinctive with their conception of their professional role as pedagogical leaders in their different subjects. This was discussed in detail in Chapter 5. Our conclusion is that this presents a theological challenge for the two Churches, because teachers who...
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