Conference keynote speakers Rome 2023

EFTRE 15th Conference in Rome 2023
Keynote Speakers

Maria Raspatelli

Italian RE teacher who won a Global Teacher Award 2022 (ITALY)

Bridges over Troubled Waters: We are in a changing time / Ponti su acque agitate: siamo in tempi che cambiano

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Andrea Porcarelli

Associate Professor, University of Padua, Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Education and Applied Psychology (ITALY)

Teaching religion between bridges and walls – the evolution of teaching of Catholic education in Italy

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Associated Professor in General and social pedagogy, in Padua University, he obtained the qualification to the role of full professor for the same disciplinary scientific field. He teaches pedagogical disciplines at the religious institutes of Bologna, Rimini and Forlì. Member of SIPED (Italian Society of Pedagogy) and National Coordinator of the SIPED Research Group on “Religiosity and religious formation”; Member of the National Board of CIRPED (Centro Italiano di Ricerca Pedagogica). For some of his publications he received the Prize “Accademia” (Associazione Pedagogica Italiana) in 2015 and 2022 and the SIPED (Società Italiana di Pedagogia) Prize in 2016 and 2022.

Member of the Scientific Committee of the “Centro Studi Scuola Cattolica” (CSSC) and of the Scientific Committee of the Foundation “Girolamo Bortignon” for education and school (Padua). Co-director of the Editorial Series “L’esperienza religiosa. Incontri multidisciplinari”, at the francoangeli publisher (Milan), Co-director of the series “Orizzonti dell’Educazione” (new series), at the publisher Pensa multimedia (Lecce), Member of the Scientific Committee of the journal “Dirigenti scuola” (inserted among the scientific journals of ANVUR, in Band A for pedagogical SSDs 11/D1 and 11/D2), Co-director of the journal “La Scuola e l’Uomo – Ricerche”. He has been working since a lot of time in the training of teachers (with particular attention to those of Catholic religion) and of school leaders.

Some of the most recent publications: Religione a scuola tra ponti e muri. Insegnare religione in un orizzonte multiculturale, FrancoAngeli, 2022; Istituzioni di pedagogia sociale e dei servizi alla persona, Studium, 2021, Come un vento leggero. Corso di IRC per le scuole secondarie di secondo grado, SEI, 2021; Nuovi percorsi e materiali in preparazione al concorso a cattedra IDR, SEI, 2020; Progettare per competenze. Basi pedagogiche e strumenti operativi, Diogene Multimedia 2020; Saper guardare al di là degli occhi. Come percorrere i sentieri della vita imparando dalle proprie esperienze, Diogene Multimedia 2016; Educazione e politica. Paradigmi pedagogici a confronto, FrancoAngeli 2012.

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Teaching religion between bridges and walls: the evolution of the Teaching of the Catholic religion in Italy

Prof. Andrea Porcarelli – University of Padua

The political, institutional, and pedagogical debate on teaching religions and believes has gone through several cultural seasons, from the logic of the “paradigms of suspicion”, to a more inclusive perspective, in which the recognition of the social and cultural role of religious teachings has become increasingly clear. A very significant document is the text of the Toledo guiding principles on teaching about religions and beliefs in public schools (OSCE/ODHIR, 2007), which has been elaborated with the contribution of authoritative representatives of the main religious confessions. The text outlines the pedagogical reasons for teachings about religions in schools, and the conditions that allow a full exercise of religious freedom, especially where religious confessional teachings are present.

In Italy there is a confessional Teaching of the Catholic Religion (TCR), founded on a Concordat between the Italian State and the Holy See, signed in 1929 and updated in 1984. In this period there has been a first evolution of the TCR, which has passed from a catechetical approach to a cultural teaching, which is placed within the scope of the aims of the school. Very interesting is the evolution that the TCR has had in the first two decades of the third millennium, through the progressive revision of teaching programs, taking into account the demands that come from today’s multicultural context. In addition to an analysis of the current Indications for the teaching of Religion, this paper proposes a pedagogical reading of the identity of TCR as a discipline, in a “dialogical” perspective. Interreligious dialogue becomes the key to understanding a renewed TCR identity, which could further evolve in the future.

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Dr Kathryn Wright

Chief Executive, Culham St. Gabriel’s Trust (UNITED KINGDOM)

Being Bridges: Navigating the complex world of religious education

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Kathryn leads the strategic vision and operations of Culham St Gabriel’s Trust based in the United Kingdom. The Trust is an endowed charitable foundation whose vision is for a broad-based, critical reflective education in religion and worldviews contributing to a well-informed, respectful and open society. After teaching in East London secondary schools for a number of years, she became the RE adviser to the London Borough of Newham before going freelance in 2005. Prior to her current role, she worked as a consultant with Culham St Gabriel’s, two local authorities and the Anglican Dioceses of Norwich, Ely and St Albans. Her doctorate developed a theoretical framework for RE pedagogy in Church of England schools. She has written for a number of edited publications including We need to talk about Religious Education (2017), Reforming RE (2020) and Mentoring religious education teachers in the secondary school (2023).She sits on the Board of the RE Council of England and Wales, and as an observer on the National Association of Teachers of RE Executive.

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There are multiple challenges facing religious educators in the United Kingdom. How do we navigate through these complex political and educational issues? I will set out some of the challenges from my perspective as a funder, researcher and educator. I will suggest that we ourselves, working in the field of religious education, are to be the bridges. I will explore different ways in which we can be bridges in terms of bringing people together, being conduits of knowledge and understanding, and connecting different aspects of the RE Eco-System in the UK, but also internationally. I will give examples from my own experience of ways in which bridges may be built across the policy-practice divide. These will include an action research project seeking to promote the principles of Freedom of Religion or Belief with young children and through the development of hospitable spaces within and beyond the classroom. The latter builds on my PhD thesis, A Pedagogy of Embrace (2018) applying the concepts of hospitality and embrace to new contexts.

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Bianca Kappelhoff, Dr Eszter Kodacsy-Simon, Dr Sandra Cullen, Dr Sonja Danner, Dr Tania ap Siôn

Universities and research centres across Europe (IRELAND, WALES, GERMANY, AUSTRIA, HUNGARY)

“Covid made me think about…”

What really matters in RE

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This keynote is being held by the research group members:

Bianca Kappelhoff, Comenius-Institute (Germany)

Dr Sonja Danner, KPH Wien/Krems (Austria)

Dr Eszter Kodacsy-Simon, Evangelical-Lutheran Theological University in Budapest (Hungary)

Dr Tania ap Siôn, St Giles’ Centre and Bishop Grosseteste University (Wales)

Dr Sandra Cullen, Dublin City University, Irish Centre for Religious Education (Ireland)

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This keynote will offer insights in empirical data in the field of RE. The “What Covid Reveals to Religious Education Specialists” research project sought to provide a reflective space for Religious Education specialists, drawn from the board members of the European Forum for Teachers of Religious Education (EFTRE), to consider their experiences of Religious Education during the Covid-19 pandemic and to begin to articulate what they might want in the future for Religious Education in light of their experiences. Areas explored in the online qualitative survey included: challenging questions and issues, social unrest, student-teacher relationships, learning scenarios, valued dimensions in Religious Education, opportunities for the future, and ‘ideal’ Religious Education. Respondents were from sixteen of the twenty-six countries present on the EFTRE Board, offering their individual perspectives from Western, Eastern, Northern, Central and Southern Europe.

Living and working through the challenges of a pandemic has offered a unique research opportunity to reveal and to engage with some core questions about what really matters in Religious Education (RE) in countries across Europe. This keynote will present some of the main findings in dialogue with the focusing research stimulus question: ‘What Covid reveals to Religious Education specialists’.

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Dr Angelos Vallianatos

School advisor for religion lessons and teacher trainer in the fields of Didactics, Intercultural Education, Human Rights and Democratic Citizenship (GREECE)

Religious Education as a factor of democratic school life

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Angelos Vallianatos is a teacher trainer in the fields of Religion Education, Pedagogy and Didactics. His PhD is in Theology, he was worked as a religion teacher and a School Advisor for Religion Education in Athens, Greece.

Since 2005, he participates as an expert and trainer in Council of Europe and the European Wergeland Centre educational programs in the fields of Democracy, Human Rights and Interculturality in Education.

He has authored and co-authored, translated and published various texts and thesis and also lectured at international and Greek educational conferences, about his scientific field: religious education, the nature of religion lesson at schools, intercultural education, didactics and the use of new technologies in educational process.

>More about the keynote

There is no single way, in which religion is taught at schools. The reasons for this rely on a combination of arguments, based on heritage, identities, interests, presence or lack of interest, opposing educational theories, just to name some. Some writers have adopted the two possible ends in order to describe how Religious Education works at schools: “Understanding religion” and “Religious understanding”. Unfortunately, in most of the cases, Religious Education divides the educational community, and mostly the students that have to follow different lessons.

Nevertheless, schools are multicultural communities in all stakeholder levels, openly or secretly. There are certain needs to be faced, in connection or regardless Religious Education. Religious needs, anti-racist-violence-discrimination needs, are some of the factors that do not safeguard that School is a safe place where every single student has the same opportunity to good quality education and educational practice.

In this situation, Democracy offers a common terminology and educational tool that helps to vaccinate school reality with the fundamental universally agreed democratic values. The common difficulty is that there is not enough time provided for democracy at curriculum, as well as, that there is a need to put it into practice in lessons, in school governance and in the relation of school to community. The Council of Europe has elaborated some useful educational tools for that.

I believe, Ι have the experience and I will present evidence and elements that Religious Education can contribute a lot to this in the above mentioned way.

>Presentation for download