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Secular Learning in Anglo-Saxon England

Exploring the Vernacular


Edited by Sándor Chardonnens and Bryan Carella

The fruits of Anglo-Saxon learning continue to captivate Anglo-Saxonists and scholars of natural science and medicine, witness recent publications such as Martin Blake’s edition of Ælfric's De temporibus anni (2009), and the proceedings of the Storehouses of Wholesome Learning and Leornungcræft projects. In 1992, Stephanie Hollis and Michael Wright took stock of secular learning in the vernacular, in their monumental annotated bibliography Old English Prose of Secular Learning. The present volume surveys and evaluates advances in the study of Anglo-Saxon secular learning from the past two decades. It also consolidates an ongoing interest in scholarship by Anglo-Saxons by presenting nine original essays that focus on the disciplines of law, encyclopaedic notes, computus, medicine, charms, and prognostication, with a focus on learning in the vernacular, or the relationship between Latin and the vernacular. This volume is of interest for Anglo-Saxonists who work with vernacular sources of learning, and for historians of law, natural science, medicine, divination and magic.


Friedrich Schweitzer

This paper gives an overview on the present situation of religious education at home and in the church, with the main emphasis on the Protestant perspective. The author reviews the empirical research available in this field, and an international study on confirmation activities in seven European countries that was completed in 2010 is presented in more detail. The empirical results are interpreted with reference to the contemporary discussion on religion and society or culture. In addition to the description and interpretation of the situation, the author discusses the relationship between religious education at home and in the church on the one hand and the requirements for living in a pluralistic environment on the other. He concludes that religious education at home and in the church should be complemented by religious education in the school.


Mualla Selçuk

Within the pluralistic character of society and the modern school, students are seeking a different kind of understanding about the relationship between their religious traditions and life. This affects Islamic religious education in many aspects, including its aims, its programs, and approach to teaching in the classroom. Recently, religious education has not been an activity of faith transfer but a matter of passing on new perspectives into the context in which the individual stands. Therefore, the teachers should strive to teach their students to live with the demands of plurality and modernity present in their world today. This paper will advance some insights on the methodological problem of communicating the Qur’anic text by introducing a communicative model of teaching in teacher training. The communicative model of teaching is a kind of reflection on the text of the Qur’an within the subject in its historical and contemporary contexts. It starts from the question: What is textual and what is contextual? This paper aims to present a communicative model of teaching, taking the Qur’anic concept of “people of the book” as an example.


Ina ter Avest

The Dutch secularized, individualized, and multicultural (also called post-pillarized) society is the background for our study on religious education (RE) practices in a pluralistic context. Three teachers in three different types of religious primary schools (a Protestant, a Muslim, and a Roman Catholic school) are presented in their everyday classroom practice of religious education (RE) with pupils from different ethnic, social and religious backgrounds. These examples are analysed and reflected upon. We come to the conclusion that -to prepare the pupils for their participation in the multicultural and multireligious society – teachers should not only "practise what they preach" but even more "preach what they practise." We recommend more research on the relationship between the biography of the teachers and her/his pedagogical strategies in the classroom. In addition, more research is needed on the development of teachers’ competencies for meta-communication with their pupils on their everyday practice of RE in the multicultural and multireligious classroom.


Dihyatun Masqon Ahmad

This paper outlines the historical development of the pondok pesantren, a type of Islamic educational boarding school in Java. The main characteristic of this school is its distinct approach toward modernizing Islamic education by using the integrated system of non-formal and informal education of the pondok pesantren on the one hand and formal education on the other. The pondok pesantren consists of four elements. (1) The kiai is a spiritual and holistic leader and teacher who gives lectures to (2) the santri (students). (3) The Pondok is a dormitory where santri live and study under the guidance of the kiai and sometimes under the supervision of senior santri. (4) The mosque is present as a space for education, worship (ibadah), learning Islamic textbooks and conducting social activities. In recent decades the pondok pesantren has developed a new Islamic educational system with new instructional methods, especially the teaching of Arabic and English. Also, a new institutional system was introduced to replace the dominant ineffective traditional management by the kiai. This was achieved by making the new pesantran system a waqf (religious endowment) so it was no longer the property of the founders or their descendants.

The Rhythm of Space and the Sound of Time

Michael Chekhov’s Acting Technique in the 21st Century


Cynthia Ashperger

The Rhythm of Space and the Sound of Time examines the place of Chekhov’s Technique in contemporary acting pedagogy and practice. Cynthia Ashperger answers the questions: What are the reasons behind the technique’s current resurgence? How has this cohesive and holistic training been brought into today’s mainstream acting training? What separates this technique from the other currently popular methods?
Ashperger offers an analysis of the complex philosophical influences that shaped Chekhov’s ideas about this psycho-physical approach to acting. Chekhov’s five guiding principles are introduced to demonstrate how eastern ideas and practices have been integrated into this western technique and how they have continued to develop on both theoretical and practical levels in contemporary pedagogy, thereby rendering it intercultural.
The volume also focuses on the work of several contemporary teachers of the technique associated with Michael Chekhov International Association (MICHA). Current teacher training is described as well as the different modes of hybridization of Chekhov’s technique with other current methods.
Contemporary practical experiments and some fifty exercises at both beginner and intermediate/advanced levels are presented through analysis, examples, student journals and case studies, delineating the sequences in which units are taught and specifying the exercises that differ from those in Chekhov’s original writing.
This book is for practitioners as well as students of the theatre.

Reaching for the Sky

Religious Education from Christian and Islamic Perspectives


Edited by Stella El Bouayadi-van de Wetering and Siebren Miedema

Young people have to make their own way in the world; they have to give meaning to and find meaning in their lives. This is the field of religious education, which is provided by parents, religious leaders, or teachers of religion and worldviews. One of the most important challenges is to educate children in their own religion, emphasizing that religion’s tolerant and peaceful side and to teach children about the beliefs of other traditions. An even more important challenge is to teach them to live together in peace and justice. This volume deals with religious education in Christianity and Islam in specific countries. Scholars in religious education need to know more about the ways in which Muslims and Christians perceive and practice their respective forms of religious education and explore methods that help young people develop their religious identity in accordance with their tradition—and also meet with comrades from other traditions, as the two young Gambian and Dutch women shown on the cover do.
This volume explores the field of Christian and Islamic education. Muslim and Christian scholars from Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Indonesia, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands describe various aspects of religious education at school, at home, in the mosque and church, via the media and in peer groups. The papers were presented and discussed at an authors’ conference at VU University Amsterdam, organized in close collaboration between the staff of its Centre of Islamic Theology and other scholars in religious education, and the Islamic Universities League in Cairo. The authors describe actual processes of education, reflect on religious identity formation and respect for other people and the influences from home, school, mosque, and church, the media and “the street.”


Edited by Eva Alcón Soler and Maria-Pilar Safont-Jordà

Studies on discourse and language learning originated in the field of general education and they focused on first language learning environments. However, since 1980s research on discourse and language learning broadened the scope of investigation to respond to second and foreign language environments. Recently, the emergence of new language learning contexts such as computer mediated communication, multilingual settings or content and language integrated contexts requires further research that focuses on discourse and language learning. From this perspective, the present volume aims to broaden the scope of investigation in foreign language contexts by exploring discourse patterns in the classroom and examining the impact of factors such as gender, explicitness of feedback or L1 use on language learning through discourse. With that aim in mind, this volume will bring together research that investigates discourse in various instructional settings, namely those of primary, secondary and university L2 learning environments, content and language integrated contexts and other new language learning settings. The number and variety of languages involved both as the first language (e.g. English, Finnish, Basque, Spanish, Japanese, French, Italian, Catalan) as well as the target foreign language (e.g. English, French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish) makes the volume specially attractive. Additionally, the different approaches adopted by the researchers participating in this volume, such as information processing, sociocultural theory, or conversation analysis, widen the realm of investigation on discourse and language learning. Finally, the strength of the volume also lies in the range of educational settings (primary, secondary and tertiary education) and the worldwide representation of contributors across seven different countries, namely those of Spain, France, Austria, Finland, Germany, Canada, Australia and the United States. The uniqueness of the volume is due to its eclectic and comprehensive nature in tackling instructional discourse. Worldwide outstanding researchers, like Julianne House, Carme Muñoz, Ute Smit, Tarja Nikula or Roy Lyster, to quote but a few, adopt different perspectives in this joint contribution that will certainly broaden the scope of research on language learners’ discourse.


Redbad Veenbaas

This paper discusses the identity, values, and standards of behaviour and the religious education of young Muslims in the Netherlands. After an intro-duction of the theme, the results are presented of a study among 30 young highly educated Muslim young adults between the ages of 19 and 28. For these young people, being a Muslim is at the core of their identity. This identity offers them the freedom to escape from the dilemma between being Dutch and belonging to their own culture and gives them the opportunity to understand the world around them in a positive but, at the same time, critical way. The paper also looks at an inquiry among a group of boys between 12 and 18 years of age on the street. To them, being a Muslim is also highly important, but religion and culture, even street culture, seem to be even more interwoven in their minds and behaviour.


Wolfram Weisse

This paper consists of three parts. First, the context of the public debate on religion and religious education in Europe is outlined. Second, the research project REDCo is presented. This project was carried out in the following countries: Estonia, Russia, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, England, France and Spain. This huge European research programme consisted of many sub-projects in each of the countries mentioned. All the projects looked at religious education for students in the 14-16-year-old age group in various countries. Analyses of the concepts of religious education were combined with the concrete views of pupils: they were observed, interviewed, and asked for written answers in questionnaires, and their interaction was analysed. This provided the data for this paper: the views of young people in Europe on religious heterogeneity and religious education. For the most part, they agree with the idea that learning about different religions at school helps people to live together peacefully. Finally, the author gives an overview on future perspectives.