Project

Religious and professional beliefs of teachers (RebeL) [Religiöse und berufsbezogene Überzeugungen von Lehrkräften]

Goal: Teachers’ religious or worldview beliefs are often assumed to impact their way of teaching. Public debates in Western countries about teachers wearing headscarfs, about evangelical science teachers refusing to teach evolution theory or about confessional requirements of teachers at faith-based schools indicate that this assumption has societal and political implications. There is also a fierce debate on whether connections between teachers’ religious or worldview beliefs and their professional thinking and acting should be viewed as legitimate at public (state) schools that are obliged to be ‘neutral’ regarding religion and worldviews – while there is still scarce empirical evidence on this topic. Thus, empirical evidence regarding links between teachers’ religious or worldview beliefs on the one hand and their profession-related beliefs on the other hand is needed.
The aim of this research project is to examine these links for the German context.

Date: 1 July 2019 - 1 July 2022

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Teachers’ religious or worldview beliefs are often assumed to impact their way of teaching. Public debates in Western countries about teachers wearing headscarfs, about evangelical science teachers refusing to teach evolution theory or about confessional requirements of teachers at faith-based schools indicate that this assumption has societal and political implications. There is also a fierce debate on whether connections between teachers’ religious or worldview beliefs and their professional thinking and acting should be viewed as legitimate at public (state) schools that are obliged to be ‘neutral’ regarding religion and worldviews – while there is still scarce empirical evidence on this topic. Thus, empirical evidence regarding links between teachers’ religious or worldview beliefs on the one hand and their profession-related beliefs on the other hand is needed.
The aim of this research project is to examine these links for the German context.
 
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Marcus Penthin
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Zusammenfassung Ob persönliche religiös-weltanschauliche Überzeugungen von Lehrkräften deren berufliches Denken und Handeln beeinflussen und ob sie es beeinflussen sollten, ist immer wieder Gegenstand öffentlicher Diskussionen. Angesichts eines dahingehend unbefriedigenden Forschungsstands, insbesondere im europäischen Kontext, wurde der Erklärungswert von Religiosität und Spiritualität für die berufsethischen Überzeugungen von N = 1441 Lehrkräften an deutschen Schulen untersucht. Entgegen unseren präregistrierten Hypothesen klärten in Strukturgleichungsmodellen weder religiöse Überzeugungen noch religiöse Toleranz nennenswerte Varianz in verschiedenen Aspekten des Berufsethos auf. Ein größerer Erklärungswert ergab sich bei vergleichbaren Analysen für die spirituellen Überzeugungen, jedoch weniger für deren transzendente Aspekte als für die Dimension der „Verbundenheit mit anderen“. Diskutiert wird, dass es offensichtlich weniger die religiösen und transzendent-spirituellen Überzeugungen der Lehrkräfte sind, die einen Effekt auf ihre berufsethischen Überzeugungen haben, als eine damit tendenziell einhergehende altruistische Haltung.
Previous findings on religious beliefs of teachers suggest a relation between individual religiosity and professional thinking and acting of teachers. Evidence beyond faith schools and teachers with Religious Education (RE) as a subject is scarce, suitable measuring instruments are also lacking. Therefore, this paper reports the development and validation of two scales assessing teachers' "Beliefs regarding the appropriate role of religion in the school context" and "Beliefs regarding the appropriate role of individual teachers' religiosity". Data from N = 348 German teacher education students were analysed. We examined reliability and validity of both scales by employing correlation analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, analysis of convergent and discriminant validity, measurement invariance analysis and structural equation modelling. For external validation, we examined the extent to which both scales are explained by the Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS, Huber and Huber 2012) and RE as a subject studied. Our analyses support the reliability and convergent and discriminant validity of both scales. Moreover, both scales are substantially explained by the CRS while none of them is explained by RE as subject. Thus, the piloted scales may be applied in future studies investigating the role of religiosity regarding the professional thinking and acting of teachers.