​The beginning teacher in the science/religion encounter: Building confidence for an integrated vision of knowledge.​

  • TWCF Number:


  • Project Duration:

    1 September 2019 - 31 August 2022

  • Core Funding Area:

    Big Questions

  • Initiative:

    Big Questions in Classrooms

  • Region:


  • Amount Awarded:


Dr Robert A. Bowie

Canterbury Christ Church University

Newly qualified teachers are usually neither prepared nor confident in their response to students’ questions about science and religion, such as how to reconcile scientific accounts of the origins of the world with accounts of origins from different world religions. But these and other big questions about origins, meaning, and purpose that bring science and religion together are critical for developing students’ understanding of how knowledge works.

This project will examine closely the formative “science and religion” encounters of newly qualified teachers. Analyses of their experiences will inform teacher training programs to build teacher confidence and skill. By understanding and influencing this formative time of teachers’ development, Bob Bowie and his team will deepen our understanding of how teachers can most effectively help their students gain insight about how knowledge works in these important learning experiences.

This Big Questions in Classrooms project comprises three sub-projects:

  1. The first will research the encounter between science and religion in primary and secondary science and religious education (RE classrooms). It employs a video research technique that uses clips of recorded interactions in the classroom—the bread and butter of the teacher's experience—as catalysts for discussing the encounter.
  2. The second will research the classroom experience of student teachers of RE and science at six universities. It uses group interviews and quantitative surveys to generate a comprehensive understanding of where student teachers find themselves at the beginning of their careers as educators.
  3. The third will combine the findings of both to make a teacher education resource for participating universities to use.

The team will produce detailed reports and recommendations for teacher education programs, a set of academic publications written to complement academic knowledge, and a network impact engagement strategy based on the findings. These outputs aim to ground the conversation more closely in the teacher experience and to better prepare new teachers in the classroom.​



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