The emergence of philosophy in Scottish secondary school Religious Education

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This article considers changes in the subject Religious Education (RE) within the context of Scottish secondary schools, charting a development towards the increasing use of philosophical skills and content. Before considering the nature, extent and timing of this development this article provides a broader context within which to understand educational change in Scotland. The emergent hypothesis is that Religious Education has become more philosophical as a
result of changes in society (particularly secularisation), changes in education (particularly the move to reflective pedagogy), and also as a result of the close epistemological relationship between philosophy and religious education. This article adopts an interpretative research paradigm and considers quantitative and qualitative data drawn from a survey of 126 secondary schools and seventeen key informant interviews. Taken alongside existing reviews of policy and research literature this data demonstrate that three interlinked hypothetical
strands have been at the heart of the move towards more philosophical Religious Education, although other possibilities are also raised and considered. This study also suggests areas for further research based on the above findings.
Original languageEnglish
Article number26
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalKoers- Bulletin for Christian Scholarship
Issue number1
Early online date6 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2012


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