IN YOUR SHOES
INTER-FAITH EDUCATION FOR AUSTRALIAN...

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IN YOUR SHOES……INTER-FAITH EDUCATION FOR AUSTRALIAN RELIGIOUS EDUCATORS
By Kath Engebretson

Paperback
ISBN: 9781921421150

$29.95 (price includes GST)

The purpose of the book is to argue for and suggest best practice in inter-faith education for religiously oriented primary and secondary schools as well as colleges and universities in Australia.

There is a growing worldwide recognition that in the global community we need to know and understand each other better. In particular this need is recognized by religious educators, who are keenly aware that their discipline is in the privileged position of being able to promote greater understanding and engagement between religions, and so to contribute to the common good of the global community.
Many factors have brought about this heightened understanding, but especially the much discussed phenomenon of globalization. The instantaneous nature of communication and the explosion of information through the internet, has brought us a familiarity with a range of religious traditions and cultures that until recently was unimaginable. Paradoxically, this very explosion of information has also exacerbated the distance between us. The information that constantly flows into our consciousness through the media and the internet is not always accurate. It is often distorted by the perceptions of those who promote it, and mediated through agencies that have a vested interest in discrediting the religious or cultures about which they report. The result all too often can be stereotyping of religious groups, even hatred and violence between them.
This was evident after September 11th, 2001, when the world saw a great increase in social tension and conflict, and a rise in hate crimes. In a country as far away from New York as Australia, Muslim students traveling to school in suburban Melbourne were abused and harassed for being Muslim, and this result occurred in many other places in Australia. All educators are challenged by the misinformation that leads to innocent teenagers being harassed for their religious identity, but for religious educators, especially those with a commitment to inter-faith education, these events lent urgency to their work. Inter-faith education could no longer be just a vehicle for personal development and individual interest, but now became one of the ways that social cohesion and acceptance of each other in the global human community could be promoted.
For two weeks in December 2009, Melbourne will host the Parliament of the World’s Religions, which will bring together people of faith from all over the world. The discussion and collaboration during this Parliament will focus on ways in which the global human community can grow in understanding of each other’s religions. The education of the young will be a vital part of this. The proposed book will feed directly into this aspect of the Parliament. This event, unprecedented in Australia, will be a major environment for the promotion of the book.


The book will be of great interest to
1. Religious educators from around the world for whom this is a topic of major interest at this time.
2. Students and lecturers in religion, religious education and theology in Australian universities
3. Postgraduate students conducting research into inter-faith education a topic that is considered most important in today’s research climate
4. Primary and secondary teachers in all religiously oriented schools in Australia and beyond (for example the book would have a market in the UK where interfaith education is part of the secular curriculum).
5. Student teachers preparing for working in religiously oriented schools (wherever possible it will be used as a set text).




CHAPTER OUTLINE

Chapter 1. The importance of inter-faith education for Australia and Australians.
This chapter presents a cogent rationale for inter-faith education in light of world movements including globalization, immigration, religious hostility and conflict, and the plurality of religions’ in the world. In particular it reviews these in light of the Australian community to argue for inter-faith education at all levels of education in Australia.

Chapter 2. Concepts related to inter-faith education.
This chapter will provide a definition of key terms that are often used around inter-faith education. These will include exclusivism, fundamentalism, relativism, plurality of religions, pluralism, inter-faith education, inter-religious education, religious tolerance, inter-faith or inter-religious dialogue. The particular focus of this book is inter-faith education often also referred to as inter-religious education.

Chapter 3. Barriers to inter-faith education
Two “isms”, fundamentalism and relativism, hold back and cripple inter-faith education. These are becoming more obvious in the consumers of the Australian education system, children, adolescents, young adults and their families. These are described and critiqued in this chapter.

Chapter 4. Transformative education
This chapter will examine at least two theories of transformative education in relation to inter-faith education, and will apply these theories at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education. The possibility and challenges of transformative inter-faith education at each level will be analyzed.

Chapter 5. Inter-faith education in the primary school.
This chapter will draw on interviews with expert practitioners to map out the possibilities and describe some goals of inter-faith education for the primary school. Examples of best practice drawn from the experience of expert educators will be provided.

Chapter 6. Inter-faith education in the secondary school.
The possible stages of spiritual and religious development of the adolescent will be drawn on to suggest the challenges but also possibilities of inter-faith education in the secondary school. Again the experiences of expert practitioners will form the basis of the chapter which will have a practical orientation.

Chapter 7. Interfaith education in the college and university
The possibilities of inter-faith education for the young adult or for the older college or university student will be considered against the experience of tertiary educators. Practical strategies and goals will be suggested.

Chapter 8. Inter-faith education and the committed believer
This chapter will discuss the role that religious faith has in inter-faith education, and will propose principles of inter-faith education that do not violate the integrity of the faith of the believer but allow education to be open to experience and understanding of the other.

Chapter 9 . Inter-faith education and the community
In this chapter it will be argued that social cohesion and community building in Australia is not just the preserve of general cultural education, but that inter-faith education allows intercultural education to be fully realized. It therefore has an important part to play in the Australian education system.

Chapter 10. Towards inter-faith dialogue.
This chapter will argue than the insights and values promoted in inter-faith education are the strong platform from which inter-faith dialogue may proceed.


"This is an exciting project and a timely one. There may be no more important task confronting us today than the promotion of mutual understanding among faith traditions. While there is a growing body of literature devoted to this enterprise, there is need for an Australian voice that focuses on the various levels of interfaith education. Ideally, this will also be the voice of one who has theological expertise as well as practical experience in religious education and interfaith activities. For this reason, I enthusiastically endorse Kath Engebretson’s interfaith project which will prove important not only for Australian religious educators, but for people everywhere who wish to develop skills for the promotion of interreligious understanding, social harmony and global peace."  Associate Professor Gerard Hall SM, Australian Catholic University

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This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 11 November, 2008.

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