From Indifference to Dialogue?

Olga Schihalejev

From Indifference to Dialogue?

Estonian Young People, the School and Religious Diversity

2010,  Religious Diversity and Education in Europe,  Band 19,  1. Auflage, 262  Seiten,  E-Book (PDF),  22,30 €,  ISBN 978-3-8309-7288-4

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This case study contributes to discussions about religious education and its relation to young people’s concerns and to social cohesion in Estonia. However, the book also makes an important contribution to the international debate about religions and education. It brings together empirical studies conducted in Estonia in the framework of a major European project, REDCo (Religion in Education: A contribution to Dialogue or a factor of Conflict in transforming societies of European Countries?) setting the research in the context of wider international debates.

The mixed methods research investigates the attitudes of 14-16 years old Estonians towards religion and religious diversity, exploring their views on the role of the school in promoting dialogue and tolerance among representatives of different worldviews, and establishing the ways in which their experience of religious education affects their views on these issues.

Dr Schihalejev draws on three of her empirical studies, each utilising a different methodology. The qualitative and the quantitative studies investigate students’ attitudes to religion and religious diversity, while two contrasting classroom-based studies of religious education explore patterns of interaction, both using video-ethnography and incident-analysis respectively to collect and interpret the data. Grounded in the findings of the empirical studies, the author explores dialogical pedagogies for non-confessional approaches to religious education and discusses policies for strengthening active tolerance in the school context.