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Promoting positive community relations: what can RE learn from social psychology and the Shared Space project?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-227
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Beliefs and Values
Issue number2
Early online date24 Apr 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 2 Apr 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 24 Apr 2019
DatePublished (current) - 24 Apr 2019


In this article we considered the relevance of specific claims that ‘multi-faith’ approaches to Religious Education (RE) play a role in promoting good community relations. In doing so, we adopted a social-psychological perspective where engaging in positive and meaningful interactions with diverse others reduces prejudice. Survey responses from 92 RE teachers across the UK were examined to determine the extent to which strategies for promoting positive community relations were embedded within classroom practice. We next examined whether teachers intuitively used social psychological theory – namely the contact hypothesis – to promote positive communities in their classrooms. Results demonstrated that the majority of surveyed RE practitioners perceived community relations to be a core aim of RE and that contact theory was applicable to their practice. Teachers reported examples of how they embed both contact theory and RE in their classrooms but not all of these aligned with social psychological theory. Findings suggest that successful practice in RE may be further developed by integrating theoretical principles of the contact hypothesis. Implications and future directions will be discussed.

    Research areas

  • community relations, religious education (RE), intergroup contact theory



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    Embargo ends: 24/10/20

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