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Why Teach about Religions? Perspectives from Finnish Professionals

Department of Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
Department of Education, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2JD, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Religions 2019, 10(6), 347;
Received: 24 April 2019 / Revised: 8 May 2019 / Accepted: 9 May 2019 / Published: 28 May 2019
PDF [303 KB, uploaded 7 June 2019]


Acknowledging recent research literature on professionalism and religious education across Europe, the article examines the scholars’ and senior professionals’ views on the curricula aims and objectives in religious education in Finland. Through asking the professionals’ views on the aims of RE in relation to supporting of child’s growth and development on one hand and the societal aims of RE on the other, the findings were thematically classified into the following categories. Firstly, the aims regarding the supporting of child’s growth and development were focused on literacy on religions and worldviews, increasing the understanding on oneself and others, personal growth, and the skills for global citizenship. From the societal perspective, RE was seen important for supporting the understanding as literacy, understanding as empathy, and competences for global citizenship. Finally, as regards the educational model of teaching about religions, these professionals held somewhat varied views. Some favoured an RE model based on teaching groups reflecting children’s own worldview affiliations, others supported whole-class instruction, and still others a hybrid model combining elements of both. However, the way in which the instruction is implemented and the position from which religions are examined in education were perceived to be in a key role in this, whatever the formal structures for instruction. View Full-Text
Keywords: professionals; religion; education; aims; literacy; Finland professionals; religion; education; aims; literacy; Finland
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Kuusisto, A.; Gearon, L. Why Teach about Religions? Perspectives from Finnish Professionals. Religions 2019, 10, 347.

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