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Some pupils should know better (because there is better knowledge than opinion). Interim findings from an empirical study of pupils’ and teachers’ understandings of knowledge and big questions in Religious Education

Stones, A; Fraser-Pearce, J; (2021) Some pupils should know better (because there is better knowledge than opinion). Interim findings from an empirical study of pupils’ and teachers’ understandings of knowledge and big questions in Religious Education. Journal of Religious Education , 69 (3) pp. 353-366. 10.1007/s40839-021-00155-5. Green open access

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Abstract

In this paper, we draw on interim findings of our research project on Religious Education (RE), knowledge and big questions. We have found Miranda Fricker’s concept of epistemic injustice useful in our analysis—that is, the notion that a person can be wronged “specifically in their capacity as a knower (Fricker 2007, 1). In interviews with Key Stage 3 pupils (aged 12–14) we found that for many pupils, their capacity to know was hindered by the prioritisation of respect for opinion. Where opinion is considered something not to be questioned, this seems to be a key indicator of epistemic disadvantage while some pupils valued and could employ criticality when considering knowledge claims (including opinions). Epistemic advantage in this way exacerbates epistemic injustice, broadening a gap between the epistemic haves and have-nots. This research is part of a larger project where we attempt to answer the question: ‘Does Religious Education have a distinctive contribution to make to the development of epistemic literacy?’. We begin with our account of epistemic literacy underpinned by Young’s powerful knowledge (Young and Muller 2010) and contextualise our data with discourses about knowledge and school education. We focus largely on the emergent theme of (respect for) opinions and we argue that the prioritisation of respect in RE is (for some pupils) a barrier to knowledge. We go on to explore why this matters for individuals, society and RE.

Type: Article
Title: Some pupils should know better (because there is better knowledge than opinion). Interim findings from an empirical study of pupils’ and teachers’ understandings of knowledge and big questions in Religious Education
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s40839-021-00155-5
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40839-021-00155-5
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Religious Education, Epistemic injustice, Knowledge, Big questions, Opinion, Epistemic literacy
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10140039
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