Knowledge exchange, intergroup relations and ‘sharing space’: A community of enquiry for the professional development of teachers of religion and worldviews

Janet L Orchard, Shelley McKeown, Amanda T Williams, Kate Christopher, Rachael Jackson Royal, Kathryn Wright, Sally Wan, Nuraan Davids

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present a distinctive approach to knowledge exchange used in the ‘Shared Space’ project; an inter-disciplinary researcher–teacher partnership using Allport’s contact theory contact theory as a lens to interpret teachers’ self-reported practice in the subject Religion and Worldviews (RWE). By so doing, we created new professional knowledge and understanding of how RWE could be used as a vehicle for promoting community relations. At the project’s heart was a team of six whose collaboration across the theory-practice divide has proved unusually close and successful. Here we reflect as a team on our relationships, with each other and the project, through a ‘Collective Writing’ approach, identifying positive experiences, tensions and disagreements, and strategies used to (partially) resolve these. Issues we faced included potentially irreconcilable differences within and across disciplines related to ontology and epistemology. We identify three particular strategies we have used to address them: reciprocal hospitality and embodying Allport’s contact principles within a ‘community of enquiry’. We conclude that, despite the challenges, we have remained a strong and productive team, literally ‘sharing space’, by affording each team member equal status; collaborating towards common goals and in ways that have been supported by our respective institutions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberhttps://doi.org/10.1080/01416200.2021.1898933
Pages (from-to)265-277
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Religious Education
Volume43
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2021

Structured keywords

  • SoE Centre for Psychological Approaches for Studying Education

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