Beyond the split between formal school identity and teachers’ personal worldviews: Towards an inclusive (Christian) school identity

G.D. Bertram-Troost, I.C. Versteegt, J.C. van der Kooij, I. Nes, S. Miedema

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Religious diversity within Dutch schools has greatly increased. We carried out an empirical study to offer insights into how secondary school teachers (try to) relate to the formal Protestant Christian identity of their school, the challenges they experience in relation to their own personal worldview, and the recommendations they have to overcome these challenges. In our qualitative study, we interviewed thirty-two teachers from eight different schools. In selecting the schools, we took into account the diversity of Protestant Christian secondary education in the Netherlands. The teachers teach different subjects in a variety of disciplines (languages, creative arts, sciences, et cetera). For many teachers, their personal worldview does not align neatly with the formal religious identity of the school. As a result, teachers experience challenges in relation to, for example, the act of daily worship and (Christian) celebrations. Teachers also experience tensions regarding the extent to which schools could or should be open towards (religious) others. Teachers’ advice, among other recommendations, is to create room for an open exchange of views, opinions, and experiences between teachers and principals. Some teachers recommend that their principal reconsider the formal Christian identity of the school and search for another, more inclusive school identity with which everyone involved can better identify.

Original languageEnglish
Article number208
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalEducation Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2018


  • School identity
  • Secondary education
  • Secularization
  • Teachers
  • Worldviews


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