Project overview

Religious and cultural diversity are today more than ever a critical and political challenge as the recent emergencies related to geo-political and economical global transformations clearly show. European countries are concerned by a big immigration flow that demands an educational effort in order to foster the mutual understanding and integration.

Responding to the recommendations and findings of international documents such as the Council of Europe’s White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue (Council of Europe 2008) and the report of the Network of European Foundations (NEF 2009), Teaching about Religions in European School Systems: Policy issues and trends, IERS project meets the needs of an innovative approach in teaching about religions and beliefs at school by providing teachers of humanistic disciplines with new tools  that help teachers and pupils to plunge deeper into religions and cultures of non-European countries, as well as raising the knowledge of the religious traditions that contributed to the common European cultural Identity, promoting it in the best way suited for encouraging  intra -and extra- European cultural dialogue attitudes.

The Project aims to support the development of social, civic and intercultural transversal key competences by educating towards a positive understanding of cultural and religious differences, a readiness to engage in dialogue and to avoid or manage conflicts.  By encouraging teachers and pupils to expose themselves to the differences and commonalities of religious topics, it promotes also the values of democracy, equality and human rights as it deals with social and civic dimensions of  both intercultural and interreligious dialogue.

The project will involve high school in-service teachers by developing a complete set of didactical tools and training experiences. The results will be:

  1. A baseline study which analyzes the actual situation of teaching about religions throughout Europe.

  2. New innovative didactic tools such as Multimedia Digital Modules to be used in classroom activities, accompanied by a Handbook with didactical guidelines for teachers.

  3. Teacher support activities (virtual community, training activities, developing of didactical projects to apply in classroom). 

 

Research


The IESR baseline study of religion education in the partner countries maps and analyses how religion and teaching (about) religion is played out in the official curricula for religion education or other school subjects, primarily in upper-secondary school in the five participating countries, i.e. Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. On top of that the baseline study also highlights the most important trans-national European recommendations for the implementation of a study-of-religions based RE in the nation states of Europe, in order, hopefully, for religion education to contribute to intercultural understanding, tolerance and a constructive handling of religious and cultural diversity and conflict.

Content production

 

The digital modules are intended for teachers in secondary or upper-secondary schools, in various school subjects (History, Geography, Humanities, Philosophy, etc.). They provide them with up-dated information about the three monotheistic traditions and religions of Asia. The perspective is the one of academic and scientific study and research.

 

The IERS project proposes 27 modules:

  1. Four modules deal with theoretical tools, with an introduction to the study of religion and analytical tools and methods.
  2. Nine modules give a general introduction to some religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism). The approach is the same: how each religious tradition originates? How does it form and develop in a special historical context? The internal diversity is taken into account. There will be space for presenting myths, rites and beliefs, themselves inscribed in history.
  3. Fourteen thematic modules concern “religious diversity: conflict and coexistence, past and present”. A focus is made on some topics in relation with the national curricula.

Each module presents some documents with a commentary, exercises for pupils and pedagogical tools for teachers. 

 

 Partners
 
unive   IESR  GRIAL-USAL_english_for_websites_800x333  University of Southern Denmark  Oxfam Italia  University of Augsburg