Science and religion in Croatian elementary education: pupils’ attitudes and perspectives

Jokić, Boris (2013) Science and religion in Croatian elementary education: pupils’ attitudes and perspectives. Edition Science and society (34). Institute for Social Research, Zagreb. ISBN 978-953-6218-55-4

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This book presents results of the research exploring pupils’ attitudes to, and self-expressed experience of, the study of the contrasting intellectual domains of science and religion in Croatian elementary education. Present day Croatian society demands both the development of scientific competence and a strong, traditional allegiance to Catholicism, a duality clearly mirrored in the education system. Science is taught extensively throughout education, and the vast majority of pupils also attend Catholic catechetic religious education (RE). Both domains are taught as independent ‘magisteria’, and offer conflicting knowledge claims to pupils on topics such as human origin. Pupils’ attitudes and experiences have been explored on three levels: (1) nature of, and underlying factors influencing, pupils’ attitudes towards school subjects ; (2) pupils’ conceptualisations, understandings and attitudes towards the general concepts of science and religion ; (3) pupils’ understanding, adherence to and attitudes towards the concurrent teaching of contrasting explanations for the origin of life. The research employed a sequential mixed model design using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. A cross-sectional element surveyed the attitudes of over 200 pupils in each of two age cohorts (11-12 and 13-14 years), representing critical educational transitions, within a random stratified sample of elementary schools in Zagreb. Extensive qualitative data, emphasising pupil voice through interviews and diaries, were collected from 30 pupils in one school over eight months, during which time they made these transitions. Findings indicate pupils’ heterogeneous attitudinal and experiential schemata both between and within science subjects and RE. While science was perceived in a positive but detached manner, pupils found physics and chemistry abstract, difficult, irrelevant and uninteresting. Attitudes towards and experiences with catechetic Catholic RE undergo a significant drop as age increased. Pupils’ perspectives indicate emergence of the notion of religious belonging but with questionable believing. Further, pupils experienced cognitive conflict concerning contradictory scientific and religious knowledge claims as they traversed critical curricular shifts from biblical literalism to symbolism and ‘nature’ to ‘biology’. As such, pupils were left alone to construct their understandings of man’s origin, in the absence of any interdisciplinary dialogue. Pupils’ perspectives indicate that both science and RE have failed to meet their curricular aims or pupils’ needs. Educational implications are presented together with the argument that this failure may have grave consequences for the ambitious goals and presumed duality of two domains in Croatian society.

Item Type: Book
Additional Information: Language: English.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Science and religion, pupils' perspectives, evolution and creation, mixed methodology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Depositing User: Karolina
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2014 11:21
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2017 09:07

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