NTNU RE Research Group

Research – Department of Teacher Education

NTNU RE Research Group

Collage. Religious statues and a candlestick in the middle to the left. Wordpuzzle spelling education to the right. Photo.

The NTNU RE Research Group (REReG) is internationally oriented, focused on exploring practice and policy in RE, locally, nationally and internationally. It is based in the Department of Teacher Education (ILU), at NTNU, Trondheim, Norway. Drawing on various academic backgrounds and applying different methodological approaches, we aim to develop theory of good practice in religion and worldviews education, including, philosophy- and ethics educational practices. The group is co-operating with fellow researchers and practitioners locally, nationally and internationally, and we are happy to receive visiting researchers.

NTNU RE Research Group

  • International and comparative studies
  • Research on teaching practices
  • Worldviews in RE
  • Literacy and writing in RE
  • Democracy and Human Rights in Education
  • Rituals and ritualization in schools
  • Religion in media and popular culture​
  • Didactics of excursions
  • Islam Education

9 May, 2021

The “core elements” of the new National Curriculum in Norway, how are we to understand and relate to them? Eli-Anne Vongraven Eriksen introduces the topic through a reflection about one of them: “Exploring existential questions and answers”.

11 February, 2021

Digital meeting with Meerke Bientie who is om er educator in the Sami congregation in the South-Sami area within the Church of Norway. She talked about the religion of the congregation, their church life and how they manage religious education within that congregation. In addition Renate W. B. Eggen gave some insights into her own research vis a vis Sami topic in the new national curriculum from 2020. 

11 November, 2019

Ingrid Aspelund and Karoline Slåttum from The European Wergeland Centre have been working with Camilla Stabel Jørgensen, Jakob Maliks and Tatjana Kielland Samoilow on a project about 22nd of July in schools. They presented from the project, focusing on what teachers need to know to teach about the events concerning 22nd of July.

26 September, 2019

Ola Erik Domaas and Geir Skeie presented a historical overview of Norwegian RE in school and teacher education and presented the future RE plans to be implemented from august 2020.

9 May, 2019

Asbjørn Dyrendal introduced his research on conspiracy theory and invited to a discussion on how to work with the theme in RE and Social Science education in school.

15 November, 2018

Sebastian Klein from Falstadsenteret presented inside information, in form of personal letters, from a local Jewish minority experience of persecution, arrest, and resistance during World War II.  

25 May, 2018

Two teachers, Bjarte Mongstad and Gunnvor Wendel, presented their project on moving boundaries between two school subjects, KRLE and Social Science in lower secondary school, while teacher educators, Yngve Skjæveland and Oddrun M. H. Bråten, reported from their observations as researchers in the project.

15 March, 2018

Dag Hallvar Nestby presented his recently published article on identity development in RE (Norsk Pedagogisk Tidsskrift nr. 4 2017), receiving a prepared response from Jesper Aagaard Petersen.

9–10 November, 2021

National conference in Trondheim about one of the “core element” of the new Norwegian National Curriculum: “exploring religion and worldviews through different methods”. This was facilitated by Camilla S. Jørgensen and Øyvind S. Andreassen. Keynotes by Rob Freathy, University of Exeter and Øystein Brekke, Oslo MET. Publishing possibilities is planned in the journal “Prismet”.

8 November, 2021

Course for teachers in the RE-searchers methodology, in Charlottenlund School, with guests from Lunde school, Stavanger, with Rob Freathy and Jonathan Doney from the University of Exeter. This was facilitated by cooperating teachers Bjarte Mongstad and Gunvor Wendel, and Renate B. Eggen and Inge Andersland also participated in the event. 

26–27 October, 2021

Home-team workshop with members working with studies of religions and worldviews in education at Department for Teacher Education, NTNU. Decisions: To repeat this annually, responsible for next year’s workshop is Renate B. Eggen and Jes H. Rasmussen. To hold monthly meetings to support writing processes/ publications, for which Lars Unstad took responsibility. 

A decision is made to make one more attempt at application for the Norwegian Research Council, for the project Innovation in Deep Learning (InDeep).

2020/2021

This second edition of a yearly report documenting some of the group’s activities. It contains a short summary of some of our activities in the period from 2020 till June 2021, and some information of future plans. 

Activities in 2020/2021

The korona situation restrained planned activities in the past year, a planned course for teachers about RE-searchers involving the Exeter group of members had to be suspended along with other planned activities. However, a huge effort has gone towards a research project application to the Norwegian Research Council, for the InDeep project, which involved many group’s members. Pending the result of this in June, we will decide on how to proceed.  

Oddrun has been involved in two different comparative projects, involving also other group members. One is with the book Islamic Education in Europe, edited by Leni Franken and Bill Gent. Geir Skeie also has a chapter in this book. The other is based on a symposium at NCRE2019, which will result in a planned special issue in Religion & Education in the fall of 2021. This involves Jonathan Doney, Leni Franken, and also Inge Andersland and Nils Hallvard Korsvoll. We also arranged several RLE-forums.

Planned conferences has for the most part been cancelled, including ISREV, NoReFo and one that was planned in Trondheim about one of the “core element” of the new Norwegian National Curriculum: “exploring religion and worldviews through different methods”. This is postponed till 9th-10th November. Information in Norwegian: KRLE2021 - NTNU.

Two members who were PhD student has finished their projects:

  • Eli-Anne V. Eriksen, 16.12.2020, with the thesis: Continuity and change: Individualization processes in young Muslim women’s knowledge acquisition and practice of Islam in Trondheim.
  • Lars Unstad, date 24.6.2021, with the thesis: Reading in Religious Education in secondary schools: Disciplinary reading, disciplinary literacy and competences. 

We are happy that both now work full time at the Institute of teacher Education, NTNU. 

Publications

This is not an extensive list of all publications from the group members, but I will mention the following which all are related to projects affiliated with our group:

Plans

Depending on result of the research application, we either plan for a big project involving many members or discuss how to proceed; whether to try one more time, or to proceed with parts of the plan through different means.

A seminar involving the home team is planned, focusing on how to strengthen our own research portfolio, how se can cooperate among ourselves and in our networks to achieve this, and how to strengthen our teaching as even more research based.

We plan to restart other activities that was stopped due to the pandemic of the corona virus as soon as possible.

2019

This is the first edition of a yearly report documenting some of the groups activities during the year. It contains a short summary of some of our cooperative activities this year, and information of plans.

Activities in 2019

We arranged several RLE-forums and held meetings with our professor 2 Geir Skeie and others in the spring term and autumn. A central activity was arranging and participation in the NCRE2019. There has also been participation in other conferences, such as the NoReFo conference, where Oddrun left office as member of the board while Renate entered. Oddrun Marie Hovde Bråten is involved with several partners in comparative project. We acquired several new members this year and one new PhD scholarship.

Publications

Some are in progress, while others luckily, are out. This is not an extensive list of all publications from the group members, but I will mention the following:

Following the NCRE conference, there is a publication in Nordidactica (2019:4), for which Camilla is one of the lead editors.

Our cooperation with our partners in University of Bergen resulted in a publication with several articles about Rituals in Schools, (in Norwegian).

Though we can not take any credit for it, I will also mention our honorary NTNU doctor, professor R. Jacksons important book, R. Jackson (2019) Religious Education for Plural Societies: The Selected works of Robert Jackson. London: Routledge.

Plans

Though we are involved in several projects, developing the Project MOVe (see website: "current projects") towards a larger project, will be central in our agenda in the coming year. This is a developing and presently expanding project. We plan meetings with the purpose to develop this and connected to it is also arranging a course for teachers in the RE-searchers methodology. This is scheduled 16.3.2020 with partners from The University of Exeter. We also have plans for a national conference in December, about a “core element” of the new Norwegian National Curriculum, named “exploring religion and worldviews through different methods”. 

The research group is currently working with these projects

  • Dembra is an offer of competence raising for schools for the prevention of anti-Semitism, racism and undemocratic attitudes. Camilla S. Jørgensen is involved in Dembra in mid-Norway. Nils Hallvard is involved in Dembra for teacher education (Dembra LU). Falstadsenteret is responsible for the implementation of Dembra in mid-Norway.
  • MOVe - Menneske og verden (Human and the world) (2017-2021) is a project to move boundaries between two school subjects, KRLE and Social Science. The project is based on teachers' experiences, Meld. St. 28, the new principles for the new curriculum and competence goals for KRLE and Social Sciences. It attempts to merge lessons to achieve deep learning. The project is led by Bjarte Mongstad and Gunnvor Wendel, teachers at Charlottenlund Lower Secondary School, while teacher educators Yngve Skjæveland and Oddrun M. H. Bråten are linked to the project as observers and supporters. The project was initiated in 2017 as part of the NTNU University-school project. We continue the Project in 2018 for three more years, where we explore using the RE-searhcers methodology. We now cooperate with Jonathan Doney, Rob Freathy and Rob Freathy from the University of Exeter. In the time ahead we aim at developing this into a larger research project involving more teachers and researchers partners. 
  • PhD project (2016-2019): Lars Unstad: Reading in Religious Education in secondary schools: Disciplinary reading, disciplinary literacy and competences.  (Lesing i KRLE på ungdomstrinnet. Fagspesifikk lesing, fagspesifikk literacy og kompetanser).
  • PhD project (2016-2019): Ingvild Mestad: The K in KRLE: Teaching Christianity between “Norwegianness” and interculturality.
  • PhD project (2018-2021): Adrian Johansen Rinde: But what do our students think? Conceptions of Religion among students in Norwegian upper secondary school.
  • PhD project (2020-2023): Øyvind Soltun Andreassen: Implementing RE-searchers in KRLE teacher education (Implementering av RE searchers i KRLE-lærerutdanning).

Past projects

  • Schools as arenas for religious change (SchoolRel): Rituals, ritualizations and demarcations of religion and non-religion in schools. What kinds of rituals, religious and non-religious, do pupils take part in at school? What kinds of rituals do parents (wish to) restrict their children from taking part in? Why are some rituals highly controversial while others do not attract attention? These are questions this project answers through identifying and analysing varieties, tensions and dynamics in rituals and ritualizing practices organized by public and private schools. The project is led by Sissel Undheim and Marie von der Lippe, UiB. Oddrun M. H. Bråten, Camilla S. Jørgensen and Geir Skeie participate in the project”. It resulted in a publication in the religious studies journals DIN 2:2019.
  • Developing RE through community of practice (2015-2018). We examined teaching practices and aimed to build relations between teachers and researchers. Main researchers were Lars Unstad, Ingvild Mestad, Ola Erik Domaas, Camilla S. Jørgensen, Jesper Aagard Petersen and Oddrun M. H. Bråten, who led the project. In connected projects we focused on terminology associated with teaching about religions and beliefs (literacy) (Unstad), competence and didactics for understanding religions (Mestad), the idea of the classroom as a safe space (Domaas), non-religious convictions and world views (Bråten, Petersen), and linking schools to wider communities and organizations (Jorgensen). These topics are found in Signposts: Policy and Practice for Teaching about Religions and non-religious world views in intercultural education (Jackson 2014). Professor of pedagogy Tove Steen-Olsen gave advice in issues regarding actions research methodology. The project started as a regional cooperation between HiST, NTNU and HiNT, but became a formal cooperation between researchers from NTNU and NORD University (Mestad). External partners and guests included professor Geir Skeie, University of Stavanger and professor Robert Jackson, University of Warwick, professor Jenny Berglund, University of Stockholm. The NTNU RE Research Group was founded based on the work in the Project.

See Current Research Information SysTem In Norway (Cristin)

  • KURLE: Mapping and developing RE in practice. A group of researchers from institutions from Mid- to Northern Norway worked together with a survey and 12 case studies, in an exploratory project investigating RE teaching practices in schools. Bråten, Jørgensen, Domaas, Mestad and Unstad participated in this project. Results were published in RLE I klemme: Ein studie av det erfarte RLE-faget (RE in a squeeze: A study of the experienced RE-subject) (Fuglseth red. 2014). Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.  
  • SKRIV - Skriving som grunnleggende ferdighet og utfordring i alle fag (Jørgensen, Domaas))
  • PhD project (Bråten): A comparative study of Religious Education in state schools in England and Norway, University of Warwick 2010. Revised and published as a book:  (2013) Towards a Methodology for Comparative studies in Religious Education. Münster: Waxman. ISBN 978-3-8309-2887-4
  • PhD project (Jorgensen): Jørgensen, Camilla Stabel. (2014) Som du spør får du svar? En empirisk studie av skriving i religions- og livssynsfaget. 2014. ISBN 978-82-471-4941-6. Doktoravhandlinger ved NTNU (15)
  • Developing RE through Community of practise (2015-2018).
  • Eriksen, Eli-Anne Vongraven. (2020) Continuity and change: Individualization processes in young Muslim women's knowledge acquisition and practice of Islam in Trondheim. 2020. ISBN 978-82-326-5090-3.

See participants profiles for more details

Britton, T. H. & Jørgensen, C. S. (2019). The Construction of 'religion' during field visits. In Intercultural Education.

Bråten, O. M. H. (2015). Three dimensions and four levels: towards a methodology for comparative religious education. British Journal of Religious Education; Volum 37(2) s. 138-152. Taylor & Francis. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01416200.2014.991275#abstract

Bråten, O. M. H. (2018) Worldviews in Norwegian RE. In K. Sporre, G. Skeie & J. Risteniemi. Challenging Life: Existential Questions as a Resource for Education. Münster, Waxmann.

Bråten, O. M. H. & Everington, J. (2019). Issues in the integration of religious education and worldviews education in an intercultural context. In Intercultural Education.

Bråten, Oddrun Marie Hovde & Skeie, Geir (2020). ‘Deep Learning’ in Studies of Religion and Worldviews in Norwegian Schools? The Implications of the National Curriculum Renewal in 2020. In Religions 11(11):579.

Bråten, O. M. H. (2021): Non-binary worldviews in education. In British journal of Religious Education.

Domaas, O. E. (2017) Religion og livssyn eller kulturarv og verdier. In A. B. Lund (ed). Mangfold gjennom anerkjennelse og inkludering i skolen. Trondheim: Akademika.

Domaas, O. E. (2019) En anonym minoritet i klasserommet? Kristne elever i skolens religionsfag. Prismet. vol. 70 (1).

Jackson, R. (2014). Signposts: Policy and practice for teaching about religions and non-religious worldviews in intercultural education. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing.

Jørgensen, C. S. (2017) Bør ekskursjoner være del av religions- og livssynsundervisningen? In M. van der Lippe & S. Undheim (ed). Religion i skolen: didaktiske perspektiver på religions- og livssynsfaget. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.

Korsvoll, N. H. (2020). Kvifor KRLE? Forhandling og forståing av føremåla for det norske religions- og livssynsfaget i læreplan og lærebøker. Nordidactica. ISSN: 2000-9879. 10 (2). s 26 - 47.

Korsvoll, N. H. (2021). A Double Bypass? Tracing How the Aims of Religious Education Are Negotiated Across Different Dimensions of the Curriculum in Norway. In Religion & Education.

Mestad, I. (2014) Å snakke om religion: Elevenes fagspråk i RLE. In K. Fuglseth (ed.). RLE i klemme: Ein studie av det erfarte RLE-faget. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.

Mårtensson, U. & Eriksen, E.-A. Vongraven (2014) Muslim Society Trondheim: A Local History. Tidsskrift for islamforskning 2014 ;Volum 8.(1) s. 162-189. NTNU

Nestby, D. H. (2019) Hvordan kan KRLE-faget fremstille islams mangfold?. Prismet. vol. 70 (4).

Skeie, G. (2017) Transforming local places to learning spaces in religious education In: Location, Space and Place in Religious Education (ed] Cok Bakker, Jenny Berglund, Gerdien Bertram-Troost, Hans-Günter Heimbrock, Julia Ipgrave, Robert Jackson, Geir Skeie, Wolfram Weisse, Münster: Waxmann Verlag, 2017, p. 115-130.

Steen-Olsen, T. H. & Eikseth, A. G. (2010) The power of time: teachers' working day - negotiating autonomy and control.European Educational Research Journal (online). vol. 9 (2).

Unstad, L., & Fjørtoft, H. (2020). Disciplinary literacy in religious education: the role and relevance of reading. British Journal of Religious Education, 1-9.

Unstad, L., & Fjørtoft, H. (2021). Texts, readers, and positions: Developing a conceptual tool for teaching disciplinary reading in religious education. Learning and Instruction, 73.

Unstad, L., Jørgensen, C. S. & Fjørtoft, H. (2020). Lesing og skriving i religions-og livssynsfaget i den norske grunnskolen. En kartlegging av forskningsfeltet 2005-2018 [Vitenskapelig artikkel]. Nordidactica(1), 153-174.

Unstad, L., Jørgensen, C. S., & Fjørtoft, H. (2020). Lesing og skriving i religions-og livssynsfaget i den norske grunnskolen. En kartlegging av forskningsfeltet 2005-2018 [Vitenskapelig artikkel]. Nordidactica(1), 153-174.

Unstad, L. (2014) I skyggen av storesøster? Om kirkelig mangfold i RLE-undervisningen. In K. Fuglseth (ed.). RLE i klemme: Ein studie av det erfarte RLE-faget. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.

Signposts International Research Network (SIRN)

The Signposts International Research Network (SIRN), is a group of European researchers and curriculum developers concerned to improve the quality of religious and worldview education in schools. All of these scholars are addressing issues identified in a book published by the Council of Europe: Signposts: Policy and practice for teaching about religions and non-religious world views in intercultural education, Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing (Jackson 2014).

The main network information is placed with the European Wergeland Center

EASR European Association for the Study of Religion

IAHR International Association for the History of Religion

NoReFo Norwegian RE Research Forum

ISREV International Seminar for Religious Education and Values

External partners

External partners

  • PhD Inge Andersland, NLA University College
  • Associate professor Knut Aukland, OsloMet
  • Professor Jenny Berglund, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Dr Jonathan Doney, University of Exeter, UK
  • Associate Professor Judith Everington, Associate Professor, University of Warwick, UK
  • Post-doc Leni Franken, University of Antwerp, Belgium
  • Research Fellow Giles Freathy, The Learning Institute, Westcountry Schools’ Trust, UK
  • Professor Rob Freathy, University of Exeter, UK
  • Dr Patricia Hannam, Hampshire County Council, UK
  • Pro-Rector Dag Husebø, University of Stavanger and Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Professor Robert (Bob) Jackson, University of Warwick, UK, Honorary doctorate NTNU
  • Assistant Professor Caroline Klintborg, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Associate Professor Nils Hallvard Korsvoll, University of Agder
  • PhD Student Ingvild Mestad, Nord university
  • Bjarte Mongstad, Charlottenlund lower secondary school
  • PhD Student Adrian Johansen Rinde, University of Stavanger
  • Dr Martha Shaw, London South Bank University
  • Professor Geir Skeie, University of Stavanger
  • Associate Professor Sissel Undheim, University of Bergen
  • Associate Professor Marie von der Lippe, University of Bergen
  • Gunvor Wendel, Charlottenlund lower secondary school