Ole Kolbjørn Kjørven in the middle, after his defense Friday May 23rd, flanked by his
committee Sverre Dag Mogstad, Frank A. Rogers, Astri Ramsfjell and
MF rector Vidar L. Haanes.
Foto: Pirjo Krabye.
Ole Kolbjørn Kjørven
Hedmark University College/MF Norwegian School of Theology
RE teachers' Religious Literacy. An empirical study on RE teachers' interpretation
of the biblical narrative The Prodigal Son.
Describe you project in 3-5 sentences
Conceptualizations of religious literacy in RE are dominated by theoretical and normative thinking;
on what students should learn and what teachers should teach. But what is the empirical basis for this?
The fact is that we know very little about what religious literacy looks like in the field of practice.
In the project I wanted to study RE teachers' literacy practices and analyze what happens when RE teachers
interpret a religious narrative. The material was based on nine RE teachers' texts of reflection and also
individual interviews. The theoretical perspective is based on reader response theory, and particularly
Louise M. Rosenblatt's transactional theory which focuses on the mutual contingency between texts
and readers in literacy practices.
What did you find?
In order to understand RE teachers' religious literacy, therefore, it is imperative to understand what
religious literacy looks like from the perspective of the ones doing it, that is, to understand what is going on
when practitioners of RE make meaning of religious issues. In this study I found that it is what happens in
concrete literacy events - what in the text is being emphasized and what is being ignored, and the effect
of personal and collective biases - which determine the RE teachers' interpretations.
How was the defense?
The defense was a good experience. The trial lecture challenged me to reflect on the connection between
literary theories and biblical hermeneutics. The defense developed into an interesting dialogue with the opponents,
highlighting in particular the issue of normativity in empirical studies.
How has RVS helped your project?
RVS helped me to understand the basic building blocks of a dissertation