Source: Professional Development in Education, Volume 40, Issue 4, 2014, pages 610-626
This article draws on a broader qualitative study of professional learning in schools of the Peoples of the Book (Christians, Jews and Muslims) in post-colonial Australia, addressing the role that the growing number of Australian faith-based schools play in shaping a just and inclusive Australian society.
By reviewing material in the public domain, the authors consider in their projection to the public the stated and implied commitment of six Australian faith-based schools of the Peoples of the Book to a transformative, liberatory education. Drawing on Habermas’ understanding of a religiously pluralistic democracy, they argue that faith-based schools should articulate their purpose and values to the wider secular society, recognizing that this task also calls upon the secular society to engage with the faith traditions, to strengthen mutual respect and tolerance. Although the authors find little consideration in the literature of the distinctive professional learning needs in faith-based schools, they examine Australian faith-based schooling through the thinking of Freire and the role of conscientization in transformative education. They argue that it is through the professional learning program of the school that critical awareness and indeed conscientization of teachers can be developed.