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Journal for the Study of Religion

On-line version ISSN 2413-3027
Print version ISSN 1011-7601

J. Study Relig. vol.27 n.1 Pretoria Jan. 2014




From religious education to worldview education and beyond: The strength of a transformative pedagogical paradigm



Siebren Miedema

Professor Emeritus. Educational Foundations. Department of Research and Theory in Education. Faculty of Psychology and Education; and Religious Education. Department of Praxis. Faculty of Theology. VU University. Amsterdam.




A core concept in Cornelia Roux's writings is the term 'paradigm shift'. We can for example notice pleas for paradigm shifts in teaching religion, in dealing with the multicultural situation, in concretizing citizenship education, and finally her plea for a paradigm shift towards human rights education.
In this essay I will first elaborate on some of Roux's paradigm shifts with a special focus on the role and place of religious education. Then, I will follow up with a plea for strengthening the transformative paradigm in pedagogy. A plea fully combinable with Roux' s views, but especially necessary today as a critical pedagogical counter-voice against dominant neoliberal rhetoric in respect to pedagogy, politics and practices.
In a transformative paradigm the aim of education is formulated as personhood formation. It implies that schools assist students in the double process of socialization and individuation, of becoming competent members of communities of practice. Presentation and representation of information, norms and values are interpreted from the perspective of how students are able to transform this into elements of their own participation, in the process of their own personhood formation.
A transformative paradigm is inclusive by definition, thus addresses all students. One of the consequences of this inclusivity is that instead of using the term ' religious education' I prefer to use the notion of ' worldview education', and going beyond this I conceptually relate the latter notion in the final section to the concept of ' citizenship education' too. Inspired by the work of Cornelia Roux my plea is even broadened in that section to an intertwinement of worldview education, citizenship education and human rights education, thus reconciling the sacred, the civic and the just within a transformative pedagogical paradigm.

Keywords: Cornelia Roux' views, religious education, worldview education, transformative pedagogy, paradigm shifts, citizenship education, human rights education, interreligious curricula



Varieties of Paradigm Shifts

Crucial in Cornelia Roux's writings is a strong awareness of tensions, contradictions and challenges in education and schooling in South Africa and abroad. Already before the abolition of the Apartheid system in 1994 and also reinforced by this tremendous change and based on an academic hermeneutical understanding of education and religion in education as well as a personal-hermeneutical understanding of religion (Roux & Van der Walt 2011; Roux 2012; Roux 2013: 245), her plea has been for paradigm shifts with an eye on how to teach religion, how to deal with the multicultural situation, and how to concretize citizenship education. Finally her plea is for a paradigm shift in pedagogy for human rights education as the inclusive concept that can embrace cultural, religious and gender differences and diversity. The question behind this seems always to be: What need to be changed in theory and practice in order to be able to deal in an adequate pedagogical, political and practical way with the challenges in new or changing educational, political and religious constellations? Here I will briefly pay attention to some of Roux' s paradigm shifts and especially focus on the role and place of religious education.

In her recent 2013 essay Roux clearly describes the paradigm shifts she has proposed before and after 1994, the date of the abolishment of the Apartheid regime, as being embedded in a developing hermeneutical and social constructionist view in respect to education and religion in education (Roux 2013). First there was the need to really replace the former preferential status of the mono-religious (read Christian) and the mono-cultural (read Afrikaner) school curricula, in order to promote the official South African policy of inclusiveness after 1994 also in the schools. Already in 1998 and based on her theoretical as well as empirical research and on her knowledge of developments in for instance Hamburg in Germany launched by Wolfram Weisse, Roux proposed a paradigm shift from mono-cultural to multi-cultural and from mono-religious to multi-religious or even interreligious curricula in both private and public schools and dealt with the consequences for the teaching and the teachers (Roux 1998a; 1998b). Her conclusion was that students 'in mono- and multi-cultural schools were able to deal with multi-religious and multi-cultural religion education classes' (Roux 1998a: 88)

But focusing on a second paradigm shift in respect to the teaching of religion she stated: 'However ... the need for a paradigm shift by educators, teachers and school communities is of the utmost importance before any religious education can be implemented in a multi-cultural school' (Roux 1998a: 88), because teachers mainly based their aims of religious education on Christianity: 'To gain knowledge about the bible and to make people 'better' human beings by knowing the Bible ... and also to convert learners to Christianity, or to nurture the religious growth of Christian children' (Roux 1998b: 128). In 2013 she concludes that

even today there are still many teachers and parents romanticizing the previous dispensation's power (religiously and politically). They argue that the influences of mono-religious and mono-cultural schools' curricula are the only means to support the moral fiber of a society (Roux 2013: 246-247; the results of Ntho-Ntho 2013 unfortunately strongly support Roux's conclusions).

Roux concluded around 2005 that 'in a developing democracy, which still needs to come to grips with its own inhumane past, religion will not be the core denominator to infuse a culture of humaneness, respect for diversity, and cohesion toward a social just society' (Roux 2013: 247), but that human rights education in diversity and a focus on human rights values could provide a helpful new paradigm. To that end she developed a human rights values theory (see Roux, du Preez and Ferguson 2009) and a human rights education theory applicable in diverse contexts (see Roux 2012). Her main goal is 'creating a new "communal safe space" where human rights values, social justice and social responsibilities are inherently part of social justice' (Roux 2013: 248).


Strengthening the Transformative Paradigm in Pedagogy

The State of the Art

There is, in my view, still an urgent need for a continuing transformative paradigm shift in pedagogy as a necessary counter-voice against dominant neo-liberal rhetoric, politics and practices in which labor-market orientation and schooling as preparation for the knowledge-based economy are praised as the core aims of education in schools. This has to do with the fundamental changes that have taken place in the educational system of many countries like the US, the UK and also in the Netherlands. During this period there has been a shift towards far greater external, mostly governmental control over the curriculum, and a far greater emphasis on measurable output and accountability, often related to tight systems of inspection. In this process the purpose of schooling has become increasingly defined in terms of the effective production of a pre-determined output, often measured in terms of exam-scores on so-called ' core subjects' such as mathematics and first language. Gert Biesta and I have posed the crucial question whether schools should be mainly places for training, instruction and learning in a narrow sense of the term or educate as well. Should teachers simply be instructors or mere facilitators of the learning processes or is there more to their task? (Biesta & Miedema 2002).

Our 2002 historical pedagogical reconstruction has shown that we find already the classical thinkers (Plato, Aristotle) reflect on the purpose of education relying on a distinction between a narrow sense of education as training and a wider sense of education as the cultivation of the person. Rousseau relied upon a similar distinction when he advocated a form of education exclusively focused on the person, and much of educational theorizing in the 19th century followed the agenda set by Rousseau by arguing for a position somewhere on the training-education continuum. Herbart has tried to overcome the dualism between erziehen (educating) and unterrichten (instructing) with his notion of erziehenden Unterrichts (educational instructing). It shows that Herbart also utilized the distinction between instruction and education as his frame of reference (see Langewand 2000).

The issue as to whether the aim of schools is the cultivation of the whole person or training for external (for example economical, labor market, societal) purposes, is one of the core questions of education. One indication for this prevailing concern is the fact that some languages even have different words for making the distinction. The German distinction between erziehen and unterrichten (Oelkers 1985), is for example, reflected in the Dutch distinction between opvoeden and onderwijzen. In the English context the situation is slightly more complicated. While the terms 'education' and ' schooling' can be used to differentiate between the two approaches, the word ' education' also has a more general, more encompassing and more neutral meaning.

However, it is interesting that educators in the Anglo-American world have begun to use the word 'pedagogy' again the last decades to denote the dimension of education that is different from mere training or schooling. This can be clearly traced, for instance, in the work of Paulo Freire (Freire 1970), Henry Giroux (Giroux 1983), Peter McLaren (McLaren 1989) and Martha Nussbaum (Nussbaum 2010). And it is remarkable that the famous American philosopher of education, John Dewey, very often used the notion of ' pedagogy' already at the turn of the 19th and 20th century (Dewey 1991).

What may happen when the aims of education change dramatically, I will illustrate on my own country, the Netherlands. The aim of education that was always defined in terms of 'vorming' (Bildung) became suddenly defined in terms of preparation for the labor market and enforcing the so-called knowledge-based economy. In the government that started in autumn 2010 and was possible by support of Geert Wilders' ultra-rightist party, the so-called Party for Freedom, the Minister of Education from the Christian-Democratic party, made a tremendous turn compared to her view as Minister of Education in the former government. She immediately overemphasized the basics to the detriment of the formation of the whole person of the students. She put severe pressure on measurability and quantifiability of the learning and teaching outcomes, and ordered the Inspectorate of Education to severely assess the schools along these lines. She has even defined publicly in radio and newspaper interviews that leading children and young people to a place in the market economy is the most important aim of education in schools.

At the same time this Minister welcomed an advisory report of the semi-governmental Council of Education on ' vorming' (Bildung) in schools (Onderwijsraad 2011) emphasizing the importance of 'vorming' as embracing aim for schools. But confronted from different sides with the discrepancy between her policy regarding the basics and this view on the aim for schools, she answered in the media without batting an eyelid that the realization of the basic qualifications should be seen as the real actualization of precisely this 'vorming'

This is not to say that the Minister's approach was shared by teachers and organizations involved in education in schools in the country. On the contrary, a huge educational counter-movement was organized in 2011 titled 'Save the elementary school' (see supported by school organizations, school administrative organizations, teachers colleges, and university professors in pedagogy, education, education sciences as well developmental psychology from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and the United Kingdom. An avalanche of articles was published in national and regional newspapers. Besides, many educational organizations formulated severe criticism on the Inspectorate being the implementing organization of the Minister's policy, and entered into meetings vis-á-vis the inspector-general of the Inspectorate and her crew. The main criticism was: i) the measures used for evaluating the results of educational processes are exclusively oriented on cognitive aspects and are thus of a reductionist kind; and ii) the aim of education is only in terms of the basics and formulated as leading children and young people to a place in the market economy.

Our own research on principals of Dutch Christian elementary schools has convincingly shown that their view is fully in line with this kind of criticism (Bertram-Troost, Kom, Ter Avest & Miedema 2012). It is clear that the principals are in favor of a concern for the whole person of the students instead of instructional and transmission approaches of a reductionist kind (see extensively on the distinction between a transmission and transformational approach Wardekker & Miedema 2001b: 78-80). The most important threats the principals experience are budget cuts and the discrepancy between their view on 'vorming' as the core and embracing aim of their professional work, and the strong and growing emphasis on instruction, on the basics, and on particular outcomes as such is embodied in recent governmental policies and the way the Inspectorate of Education is operating in assessing their work (Bertram-Troost et al. 2012: 18-19).

A positive development is that the Inspectorate of Education has really taken the heavy criticism seriously and one of its inspectors - Dr. Anne Bert Dijkstra, a sociologist of education - is recently appointed as special professor at an endowed chair at the University of Amsterdam paid by the Inspectorate and focusing on ' Inspection & Socialization, schools and the educational system'. His focus will broaden the too narrow cognitive perspective and will deal with social effects and results of teaching with a focus on social competencies, societal and civic competencies and interpersonal competencies (Dijkstra 2012).

Focusing on Europe and the Europeanization of education especially in respect to the period since 2000, this last development of education' s orientation on the labor market and education seen as preparation for the knowledge-based economy in terms of employability, flexibility and mobility, has been carefully reconstructed by Peter Schreiner on the basis of documents of the Council of Europe (being the ' conscience' of Europe) and the European Union. Schreiner has convincingly shown that notions such as ' learning society' and ' knowledge-based economy' cannot mask what has been characterized as the 'colonization of education policy by economic policy imperatives', and the determination of national educational policies on the basis of economical-educational analyses (Schreiner 2012).

This shift towards a one-sided and even narrow conception of the aim of schooling makes the question as to whether there still is or should be a place for ' education' or ' pedagogy' in the school, an urgent one for those who are in general concerned about the purpose of schooling. But even more for the teachers in the schools who - as we saw earlier - quite often feel that these developments miss the very point of what they think the aim of their work is all about (Bertram-Troost et al. 2012) .

One of the negative consequences of this policy focusing only on cognitively oriented test scores in the Netherlands, is for instance that sometimes less cognitively performing students in elementary schools -mostly with a particular ethnic, cultural and socio-economic background -are not allowed to participate in the national test-program - the CITO - in the last class of the elementary school at the age of 12 or 13. They would lower the school' s scores and, as these are publicly accessible, this would influence the status of the school as being an adequate and prestigious learning environment. And it could have immediate effects on the number of student admittance of that elementary school. These excluded students and their parents learn this future fact of the students' non-participation already in the year before. The result is that they will be admitted only to secondary schools focusing on vocational training with a ' lower' societal status and leading to 'lower societal jobs', and there is the danger that they will become early school dropouts. The implication of this policy is that the societal carrier of these students is already determined at the age of 11 (see extensively on this and based on analysis of official documents, Wartena, forthcoming).

The Hard Core of this Paradigm

Elsewhere I have outlined different aspects of a transformative pedagogical paradigm aiming at personhood formation, and I will bring these aspects here briefly together (Wardekker & Miedema 2001a; Biesta & Miedema 2002; Miedema & Biesta 2004; Miedema 2012). This paradigm implies that schools assist students in the double process of socialization and individuation, of becoming competent members of communities of practice. Presentation and representation of information, norms and values must always be seen in the perspective of how students are able to transform this into elements of their own participation, in the process of the formation of their own personhood. This transformation is an active and dynamic process on the part of the student, in which the subject matter - the educational 'stuff' - being the starting point, becomes the personal property of the student. The transformation is an activity authored by the students, and necessary for them, in order to acquire their own personhood. In this respect, it is a problem rather than an asset that schools have developed into practices in their own right, separated from the social practices into which they are supposed to introduce students, because learning to participate is best done by participating.

Such a transformative view rests on a conceptualization of how human beings act in the world. The basic image is that of humans as signifiers. Humans in most cases do not make explicit decisions for action based on objective knowledge of the alternatives. Instead, by being bodily in the world and transacting with it, they form images and meanings on which they act. There is thus a continuous interplay between action, signification and reflection. Meanings are never ' objective' but are always the result of the momentary and creative relation between the human being and its environment, a relation that may be characterized most adequately as 'a moving whole of transacting parts' (Dewey 1980: 291). Not all transactional relations,

... ask to be known, and it certainly does not ask leave from thought to exist. But some existences as they are experienced do ask thought to direct them in their course so that they may be ordered and fair and be such as to commend themselves to admiration, approval and appreciation. Knowledge affords the sole means by which this redirection can be effected (Dewey 1980: 296).

So, knowledge is not aimed purely at the continuation of acting as such, but at the problematical in the broadest sense of the word. And knowledge has a function for the other domains of experience too, for example for religious or worldview, moral and aesthetic experiences. From this perspective knowledge is ' a mode of experiencing things which facilitates control of objects for purposes of non-cognitive experiences' (Dewey 1980: 98).

Defining education in school in terms of participation and transformation, implies that learning is seen neither as exclusively cognitive nor as an individualistic act. On the contrary, all domains of human potentiality and ability (be it cognitive, creative, moral, religious, expressive, etc.), that is the development of the whole person should be taken into account by the schools (see also Wardekker & Miedema 2001a). And ' the formational stuff' , brought in by the teachers, but also embodied by their peers, should invite students to take responsibility for their self-formation, their self-actualization both from an individual as well from a societal perspective. Transformative pedagogy is never solely dealing with the presentation of knowledge or facts, nor a technology. It is about creating opportunities for students to respond, to speak, to take a stance, positively or negatively, towards knowledge, facts, practices, doctrines, narratives, traditions and visions. And teachers may feel responsible to create in their school classrooms such opportunities for students in optima forma to open up.

No human being, however, ever finds herself or himself in a position in which she/he can signify at will, and is then able to coordinate the created meanings with other humans at a later time. Humans are born into a culture, which means that the whole world already has a meaning. Newborn humans have to acquire these meanings in order to be able to participate. Most of this acquisition process is not, at least not initially, made explicit (in fact, the ability to ' learn' meanings in an explicit way, as in schools, has to be learned in itself); learning to participate develops by participating in socio-cultural practices. Although no two human beings construct exactly the same life-world, enough of it is shared to make communication and coordination of actions within practices possible. In fact, cultural practices may be interpreted as culturally predefined meaning systems that enable coordinated activities. Such meaning systems encompass interpretations of the world (including other human beings), abilities for interacting with it in order to obtain intended results, values and norms, etc. They are shared by the group of people that engage in the practice, and thus form its associated community of practice. Thus, growing up may be described as acquiring the abilities to participate in practices, or as becoming a competent member of several communities of practice.

The process of socialization, however, presupposes a process of individuation, the process of personhood education, for its necessary reverse side: one cannot become a competent member of a community of practice if one does not contribute at an individual level. This process of individuation rests on the fact that cultural meanings have to be appropriated, transformed into one's own personality. In this process, personal elements like genetic make-up, emotions, and unique experiences gained in past and present circumstances play a significant role, so that no two persons grow up to have exactly the same personality. This forms the basis of the uniqueness of personhood. It is precisely these uniqueness and these interpersonal differences that make for changes in cultural practices. Some of these changes simply occur because of the different views participants bring to the practice; at other times, changes are intended. Ultimately, no practice can stay ' alive' without change; and being able to contribute to changes that are perceived as necessary is a structural element of the competency of participants. This implies that participation is never merely technical, manipulative or instrumental, but always has a normative side because choices have to be made concerning the direction in which a given practice should develop (see Mead 1934: 200 ff.). Just like other meanings, the material this normative side is built upon, like goals, ideals and values, comes into being within the context of acting.

This plea for a transformative pedagogical paradigm is not celebrating a monadic or isolated view on personhood. I have already articulated the relation of individuality and sociality, of socialization and personhood formation. With Gert Biesta, I want to add here another important task of education in schools, the qualification aspect of education, that is providing children, young people and adults,

with the knowledge, skills and understandings and often also with the dispositions and forms of judgment that allow them to ' do something' - a 'doing' that can range from the very specific (such as in the case of training for a particular job or profession, or the training of a particular skill or technique to the much more general (such as an introduction to modern culture, or the teaching of life skills, etc.) (Biesta 2010: 19-20).

There is of course a connection here with the earlier critically mentioned labour market and economical development and growth. But, and that is the different perspective I am favoring, qualification is and should, as Biesta adequately states, not be restricted to preparation for the world of work. Knowledge and skills are also important where other domains of life, of formation and personhood are in a more general sense at stake, for instance in respect to political, cultural and religious literacy.

Crucial in a transformative pedagogy is the view that both the qualification and the socialization aspect of education should be evaluated from their adequate or inadequate contribution to the personhood formation of the students. These aspects are always intertwined. The pedagogical criterion is whether there is a dynamic balance, an equilibrium between the three aspects. Reducing for instance the aim of education only to qualification terms, that is positioning students for the labor market or preparing them for the knowledge-based economy, is reducing both the community of practice (the socialization aspect) as well as the view on the formation of personhood (the subjectification aspect). What is absolutely necessary here is to take a critical-deconstructive stance in the sense of Caputo's notion of deconstruction:

(T)hings - texts, institutions, traditions, societies, beliefs, and practices of whatever size and sort you need - do not have definable meanings and determinable missions, that they are always more than any mission would impose, that they exceed the boundaries they currently occupy. What is really going on in things, what is really happening, is always to come. Every time you try to stabilize the meaning of a thing, to fix it in its missionary position, the thing itself, if there is anything at all to it, slips away (Caputo 1997: 31).

The fixation of any of these aspects can lead to essentialist and fixated views on either qualification, socialization or personhood formation, and such views will block forms of dynamic intertwinement, and are a hindrance to a pedagogical and transformative defensible equilibrium. It should strengthen the potentialities of social engagement, solidarity, encounter and dialogue and tackle the dangers of religions and worldviews as well as the neglect of human rights education within the setting of schools.


From Religious Education to Worldview Education

A transformative pedagogy addresses all students, is non-separatist, non-segregational, non-exclusivist, and thus inclusive by definition, because such a pedagogy wants to see transactional relationships between students with different cultural, ethnic, religious etc. flourish. John Hull has so convincingly stated that religious education is not restricted to the teaching of Christianity but has a multi-faith perspective. To quote his own words on this issue: 'Christians in education are not there to advance their own cause or to win selfish recognition for their own faith, but they are there to serve' (Hull 1998: 6).

Regarding religious education I prefer to use the concept 'worldview' with ' religion' as a sub-concept of it, and define it as the system, which is always subjected to changes, of implicit and explicit views and feelings of an individual in relation to human life. ' Views and feelings in relation to human life' can refer to everything with which people can be occupied and consider important to them. In empirical research with students we use a short 'stipulative definition,' namely: 'A worldview is the way one looks at life' (Bertram-Troost, De Roos & Miedema 2006). Using the concept of 'worldview' may help to avoid strong secularist approaches against religion, which want to leave religious education out of the curriculum of the school in toto. Everyone has at least a personal worldview that may or may not be directly influenced by an organized worldview, and this should be taken into account pedagogically as we have claimed elsewhere (see Van der Kooij, De Ruyter & Miedema 2013). The concept 'worldview' can also prevent exclusivist claims leading, for example, to preferential argumentation in paying attention only to one religion, for instance the Christian one. Both cases can be interpreted as universalistic worldviews or religious claims against, for instance, the universal claim in human rights of self-development and self-appropriation. A thick conception of worldview education includes teaching and learning about and from worldviews, and this in contrast with a thin conception which is just teaching and learning about worldviews.

Elsewhere I have conceptualized the notion of ' worldview education' as follows (Miedema 2012: 78-79):

Worldview education is that part of personhood education of children and youngsters that focuses on the more or less systematic intentional as well as non-intentional meaning-making processes, relationships and practices. Here different aspects come into play, be it cognitive, affective-emotional, volitional ...All personhood education in schools is inherently worldview-laden, because it has to do with meaning-presenting, meaning-giving, meaning-making, meaning-taking and meaning-in-action.

Fostering worldview education can be pedagogically considered as an integral part of personhood education and can form a substantial and integral part of the curriculum of every school. Worldview education should not be conceptualized exclusively in knowledge-based or cognitive terms. In that case schools organize stand-alone activities which only provide so-called neutral or objective information about a worldview or about different worldviews, for example in a teaching and learning-about approach, or a religious studies approach.

The teaching and learning about approach does not provide optimal conditions for active and dynamic personhood education as was outlined earlier. Besides, in worldview education the acquiring of worldview experiences and worldview attitudes should not be separated from the wider processes of obtaining other experiences and attitudes. Any artificial distinction between the domain of worldviews and other domains of experience should be precluded. Explicit presentation and representation of a rich and plural array of worldview 'subject matter' in the form of frames of reference, models, practices, rituals, and narratives is an essential prerequisite for making individuation possible on the basis of socialization processes. These presentations and representations are not intended simply to be transmitted by the teachers and internalized by the students in their presented or represented form, but can be offered to the students as potential transformative material. Such an interaction between the presented material and the students is characterized by a non-dogmatic, non-compelling ' openness' which offers students multiple possibilities for the formation of their own personhood. Contrary to the notion of the school as an institution for the linear transmission of knowledge, skills, beliefs or worldviews, schools should function as communities of diverse practices. In such schools the students can learn to see each other as citizens of the embryonic society of the school community. The students can learn in and through that community that they are responsible for one another and must pursue their common ends through dialogue and cooperation.

Personhood formation through worldview education can be supported by the encouragement of a critical-evaluative attitude on the part of the students. Unquestioned acceptance, or non-reflective, full identification with the views of the teachers is not an appropriate practice for the development of successful worldview formation on the basis of personhood education. Rather, the focus should be upon the growth of the potentiality for an active and critical reconstruction of different and differing perspectives in terms of ideals, norms, values, knowledge, narratives or beliefs. Such practices and processes in school will enhance the capacity of the students to integrate these perspectives into their own personality, promote the ongoing organization and reorganization of their perspectives, and form resources for the reconstruction of the self, for self-transcendence.

It is my contention that there is a dynamic balance, an equilibrium in this conceptualization of worldview education between the three aspects of qualification, socialization and personhood formation. The qualification aspects are not isolated, and on a cognitive level only, but are functioning culturally as well. Honoring the social and group aspects of worldview, adaptation in terms of proselytizing cannot be the goal here, but the social and socializing aspects are a function of the flourishing of the worldview personhood of the student. Finally, personhood formation is not defined in monadic terms, isolated from the surrounding context, but conceptualized from within the intertwinement with the two other aspects.

My plea for using the inclusive and also more personalized concept of 'worldview education' instead of 'religious education' is, in my opinion, fully in line with the paradigm shifts for which Roux has pleaded till now. It is for example also fully compatible with the 6 October 2009 Declaration of the HREID research group on events and reports in the South Africa media on Religion in Education stating that,

discrimination against children based on religion, denomination and/ or worldview is unacceptable' and 'school principals and educators have a professional responsibility ... towards learners to foster a disposition of respect. This can only be done in the culture of open dialogue in the classroom regarding cultural and religious diversity in terms of human rights' (HREID Declaration 2009).


Worldview Education, Citizenship Education and Human Rights Education

During the first decade of the 21st century the Council of Europe has given a strong impetus to paying attention to democratic citizenship education in the member states. This has steadily been done in relationship to (inter)religious education combined with intercultural education. The aim for this pedagogical, educational, as well political agenda was to strengthen the potentialities and to tackle the dangers of religions and worldviews within the setting of the schools (see passim Jackson, Miedema, Weisse & Willaime 2007).

Already in 1993 the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna called on states to include human rights, democracy, and the rule of law as subjects in the curricula of all learning institutions in formal and non-formal education. In 2005 in Budapest the European Ministers responsible for youth called for a framework policy document, an international instrument on education for democratic citizenship and human rights education. However, the importance of the relationship of and the distinction between education for democratic citizenship and human rights education was only put on the agenda of the Council of Europe in 2010. A Charter was adopted by the Ministers on May 11 2010, and further elaboration took place in October two years ago by publishing the booklet Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education (C of E 2010).

It is very insightful to compare this rather late start in Europe with the attention paid to human rights education in South Africa immediately after the abolishment of the Apartheids regime in 1994. The need to pay explicit attention there and then to democratic education, human rights education and a new awareness of how religion could be addressed without any preference position for the Christian tradition, has positioned South African pedagogues including religious educators at the international forefront of the debate on human rights education (see Roux, Du Preez & Ferguson 2009; and also extensively Roux 2012). It was via the work of Roux and her colleagues that since 2009 a first awareness grew at my side that there is also that domain in education named 'human rights education'.

Gradually my insight developed that the plea in the 2010 Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education for the relationship of education for democratic citizenship and human rights education, is an open invitation to schools to embody in their own practices -thus in pedagogical relations and situations, in classrooms setting and at the level of the school - democratic principles and human rights. One of the reasons for this, also fully in line with what is stated in the Charter, is that it should not simply be done in the form of imparting knowledge (teaching and learning about), but also of developing skills, and influencing attitudes with a view to encourage active participation in and defense of human rights (see C of E 2010: 30). Thus schools - being embryonic societies - should themselves embody and practice the constituent elements of real participative and deliberative democracies (see Dewey [1897] 1972; 1916; 1927).

Following and further elaborating Dewey' s pragmatist view, it is, from a pedagogical, societal and political perspective, desirable that students already in the embryonic society of the school experience or be confronted by and become acquainted with the other students' worldview, cultural, ethnic, economical backgrounds, ideas, experiences, practices, situations, and contexts. Having seen in their studies the impact of religion/ worldview, and the influence of political, cultural and economic domains locally and globally, they can also benefit from such experiences and insights when they encounter worldview, cultural, ethnic and political 'others' in society at large, and around the globe. However, the school has its own place here sui generis. So, from a societal as well as pedagogical point of view, all schools should be willing - and in my opinion should be obliged - to aim for fostering democratic citizenship education, inter-worldview education, and human rights education. Thereby bringing about or at least promoting mutual respect and understanding and stimulating the development of democratic citizenship formation, worldview citizenship formation, and human rights formation. Attention should especially be paid to the human rights education with this tripartite aim: the empowerment of the students as speakers to be able 'to contribute to the building and defense of a universal culture of human rights in society and globally, with a view to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms' (see C of E 2010: 7).

What might be really helpful to strengthen the tripartite intertwinement is the concept of 'maximal citizenship education' as outlined by the late Terrence McLaughlin in contrast to ' minimal citizenship education' (McLaughlin 1992; see in greater detail Miedema & Ter Avest 201: 412-414). McLaughlin interpreted these distinctions in terms of contrasting interpretations on the continuum of the very concept of ' democratic citizenship' . It was his aim,

to offer a substantial notion of ' education for citizenship' in the context of the diversity of a pluralistic democratic society' , a notion ...' thick' or substantial enough to satisfy the communal demands of citizenship, yet compatible with liberal demands concerning the development of critical rationality by citizens and satisfaction of the demands of justice relating to diversity (McLaughlin 1992: 235, e.a.).

Such a society, according to McLaughlin, should seek to find a cohesive balance between social and cultural diversity.

His elaboration on a minimal and maximal approach runs as follows. In the minimal approach on citizenship education, the subject is presented in a purely knowledge-based way, and with a particular civics-related content to be transmitted in a formal and didactic manner. The identity conferred on an individual in this conception of citizenship is merely seen in formal, legal and juridical terms. In schools, the development of the students' broad critical reflection and understanding is not stimulated or fostered. A maximal approach on citizenship education, in contrast, is characterized by an emphasis on active learning and inclusion, is interactive, values-based and process led, allowing students to develop and articulate their own opinions and to engage in debate, dialogue and encounter. The individual' s identity or personhood formation in this constructivist conception is dynamic instead of static, and a matter for continuing debate and redefinition. Maximal citizenship education, 'requires a considerable degree of explicit understanding of democratic principles, values and procedures on the part of the citizen, together with the dispositions and capacities required for participation in democratic citizenship generously conceived' (McLaughlin 1992: 237), so in the school and in the society at large.

The concept of maximal citizenship education offers the possibility to include worldview education, as part of such an educational program, and that it makes it even fuller in combining democratic education for citizenship and worldview education in schools. This combination can adequately be coined ' worldview citizenship education' (see in extenso on this combination Miedema & Ter Avest 2011: 414-415). It is my contention that the emphasis McLaughlin places, in his maximal definition, on the 'satisfaction of the demands of justice relating to diversity' offers precisely another possibility, namely to include human rights education as part of such an educational program. And this could be broadened to include theories and practices of fairness, care and critique. Conceptually speaking the triangle of the three forms of education in interrelationship is then complete, and thus the civic, the just and the sacred domains of pedagogy are intertwined (see also Miedema & Bertram-Troost 2014).



In this essay I have concentrated on the notion of 'paradigm shift' as it is so prominently used by Cornelia Roux in her writings. The variety of shifts in her work that I have given attention show a strong awareness of tensions, contradictions and challenges in respect to pedagogy, politics and practices. Behind this I conjecture the pressing question: What need to be changed in theory and practice in order to be able to deal in an adequate way with the challenges in new or changing constellations?

Stimulated by Roux' s use of the notion ' paradigm shift' I have argued for a continuing transformative paradigm shift in pedagogy as a necessary counter-voice against neo-liberal policies and practices in education. I have combined this with a plea for a shift from the use of ' religious education' to 'worldview education'. Inspired by the work of Cornelia Roux my plea is even broadened to an intertwinement of worldview education, citizenship education and human rights education within a transformative pedagogical paradigm. I conceptualize the sacred, the civic and the just as intertwined, as transactionally related domains without a theoretical preference for or an embracing function of one of the domains. That is not to say that in practice, so dealing with a particular contextual setting, the 'entrance' might be one particular domain. I suppose that Roux is in accordance with this view and that there is no theoretical disagreement between the two of us here, but that the emphasis in her recent paradigm shift toward human rights education and human rights values is prompted by the particular South African situation and context.



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