Islamic Studies in Australian Islamic Schools: Learner Voice
1.1. Islamic Schools: Growth and Reasons for Establishment
1.2. IS in Islamic Schools
1.3. Why is Learner Voice Important?
[Prophet], We shall tell you their story as it really was. They were young men who believed in their Lord, and We gave them more and more guidance. We gave strength to their hearts when they stood up and said, ‘Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and earth. We shall never call upon any god other than Him, for that would be an outrageous thing to do.
Narrated Sahl bin Sad: God’s Messenger was offered something to drink. He drank of it while on his right was a young boy and on his left were some elders. He said to the boy, “May I give these elders first?” The boy said, “By God, O God’s Messenger! I will not give up my share from you to somebody else.” Accordingly, God’s Messenger gave the drink to the young boy before the elders.(Sahih al-Bukhari 2016, Book 74 Hadith 46)
2.1. This Study
- How do senior learners perceive and experience the strengths of Islamic Studies at their Islamic school?
- How do senior learners perceive and experience the challenges of Islamic Studies at their Islamic school?
2.2. The School Sites
2.4. Data Collection
2.5. Organising, Analysing, and Synthesising Data
3.1. Category 1: Strengths
3.1.1. Theme 1: Importance of Islamic Studies and its Role in Instilling Fundamental Teachings
I am just going to say that Islamic Studies helps establish the principles of Islam to like the five pillars of Islam–six pillars of faith–they help us establish that and make sure it doesn’t waiver us. We have a clear understanding of what Islam is and why we actually practice Islam.
Yeah, like [in primary school we learnt] the prayer and how to do specific things, and like what follows and stuff like that. And then when we get older, for example like this year, we’re doing in Year 12, doing a lot of stuff with like how to keep clean and then learning … the etiquettes with your wife and stuff like that.
3.1.2. Theme 2: Reverence and Admiration for IS Educators
3.1.3. Theme 3: Importance of Female Educators
3.1.4. Theme 4: Conspicuous Absence of IS Homework
3.2. Category 2: Challenges
3.2.1. Theme 1: Lack of Lesson Plans and Coherence across Unit Planning (Topics and Themes not Aligned, Connected or Building Upon One Another)
I think it would benefit more especially in Year 11 and 12 to have some schedule to our lessons because—but it’s—I guess it’s hard because we don’t have much [of] that time as well, and everyone’s really preoccupied so that’s probably … it would benefit more if we went into class with a discussion in mind or something like that. But we go in; sometimes the topics can be different because we don’t have Islamic Studies that often as well.
3.2.2. Theme 2: Textbook Focused and History-Centric
So, this is a really major problem that’s in this school—like the practical part of Islamic Studies. Like it is usually mainly textbook work, but we are not actually doing interactive stuff like worksheets or like even the practical way of learning—like getting the students [to] actually do stuff and not just textbook then read, textbook then read.
3.2.3. Theme 3: Absence of an Engaging Pedagogy
3.2.4. Theme 4: Does not Teach Social Skills
3.2.5. Theme 5: School does not Take IS Seriously
I think the reason why students are not able to express importance, or the teachers are not able to get through to the students [is] because the other subjects, other subject teachers express a lot of importance for mathematics and science. They always tell you, “This is important, this always goes first.” So you’re not able to have, you honestly, you don’t have time because you should always have time, but in your brain you don’t, you don’t want to do it because you have more important things to focus on [other than Islamic Studies].
I don’t think they’re taking it seriously, because if you go into other classes, you still see students without books, students sleeping. If they were taking it seriously, everyone would be awake, engaged in the learning, with their book out and everything. Nah, I don’t think they take it seriously.
3.2.6. Theme 6: Insufficient Hours for IS
3.2.7. Theme 7: Repetitive
…when you go outside into western society there’s so many people saying, are talking about feminism and how it’s completely opposite to what Islam teaches us. But if in Islamic school they could teach us the beauty in it then when we go out into society and stuff like that, we can explain to people why we do it and it’s beautiful to us, and our outlooks won’t change and stuff like that, so I think that’s important.
3.2.8. Theme 8: Does not Prepare Students for the ‘World Outside’
3.2.9. Theme 9: Lacks Critical Thinking
I think that our discussion, sometimes it is hard to get into discussions with the classroom. It may seem unapproachable to display a viewpoint and, in that sense, we cannot get into that mode of critically thinking and discussing from what we think. People will not speak up, or their views, or maybe they are just afraid that they think they are going to be told that they are wrong or something when it is more, it is more a discussion.
3.2.10. Theme 10: Class Size is Problematic
3.2.11. Theme 11: Lacks Adequate Resources
3.2.12. Theme 12: Biased and Contradictory
Conflicts of Interest
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|Demographic Context||School A||School B||School C (with Campuses in Western Australia and South Australia)|
|School type||Combined (boys and girls)||Combined||Combined|
|Location||Major cities||Major cities||Major cities|
|Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA)||1072||1089||993|
|Language background other than English||95%||97%||98%|
|Indigenous (a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent) students||0%||0%||0%|
|IS Context||School A||School B||School C (with 4 Campuses)|
|Number of IS classes per week||1||1||1|
|Number of hours per week||2hrs||2hrs||2hrs (per class)|
|Number of IS male educators||3||1||25 (in 4 campuses)|
|Number of IS female educators||0||1||13 (in 4 campuses)|
|Participants||School A||School B||School C|
|Year||10,11, and 12||11 and 12||10 and 11|
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Abdalla, M.; Chown, D.; Memon, N. Islamic Studies in Australian Islamic Schools: Learner Voice. Religions 2020, 11, 404. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11080404
Abdalla M, Chown D, Memon N. Islamic Studies in Australian Islamic Schools: Learner Voice. Religions. 2020; 11(8):404. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11080404Chicago/Turabian Style
Abdalla, Mohamad, Dylan Chown, and Nadeem Memon. 2020. "Islamic Studies in Australian Islamic Schools: Learner Voice" Religions 11, no. 8: 404. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11080404