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Religious Identity Choices In English Secondary Schools.

D. Moulin
Published 2015 · Psychology

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This paper explores religious adolescents' reported experiences of secondary schools. Fifty-four qualitative interviews were conducted in places of worship in three cities in England with Christians (n=46), Jews (n=38) and Muslims (n=15). Secondary schools of a religious and non-religious character were reported as not providing a suitable environment for religious observances, nor as a place to act and behave according to participants' religious principles. Religious adolescents reported prejudice and criticism of their beliefs or religious affiliations from their peers and sometimes from teachers. They also perceived their religious traditions to be distorted, inaccurately or unfairly represented in some lessons. The focus of this paper is the identity choices religious adolescents reported in response to these challenges. Three groups of identity choices are theorised and explored: religious identity seeking, religious identity declaration and religious identity masking. The findings are discussed in view of religious identity construction theory, good practice for teachers and also the potential concerns of faith communities.
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