Professor Rob Freathy, University of Exeter, United Kingdom

Rob Freathy read Theology at the University of Oxford and completed his doctorate in Education at the University of Exeter. He is currently the University's Academic Dean for Students and Dean of the Faculty of Taught Programmes. He is also a Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education. His research interests include religious education, history of education, and curricular and pedagogical innovation. He is a member of the Editorial Boards for History of EducationJournal of Beliefs and Values and History of Education and Children's Literature. He is co-editor of a series of books published by Peter Lang on the theme of Religion, Education and Values (Vol. 13, 2018), and an Editorial Board member for a Routledge Series on Life and Values Education. He has also authored and edited numerous books, including Religious Education and Freedom of Religion and Belief (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2012), History, Remembrance and Religious Education (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2014), Politics, Professionals and Practitioners (London: Routledge, 2017) and Metacognition, Worldviews and Religious Education (London: Routledge, 2019). 

Associate professor Caroline Gustavsson, Stockholm University

Caroline Gustavsson is associate professor in religious education and, since 2017, lecturer and researcher at Stockholm University. In her research she is particularly interested in young people’s meaning-making and in teaching the subject of religious education in a time characterised by religious change. Caroline Gustavsson is also interested in conceptualization and have been working with the understanding of concepts such as “worldview”, “participation” and “vocation”.

Professor Zanda Rubene, University of Latvia

Dr. Paed., is a professor of University of Latvia in philosophy of education, vice dean of the Faculty of Pedagogy, Psychology and Art, expert in education at the Council of Sciences of the Republic of Latvia.  Her main research interests are philosophy of education, digital childhood, transversal skills and critical thinking, she has a projects and publications on this topic, participates in international scientific conferences.

Digital Childhood: Some Reflections from the Point of View of Philosophy of Education

The presence of information and communication technologies in the children's everyday life that promotes changes both in their world perception, emotional attitudes and social skills change also the social views about childhood as a socially constructed phenomenon in its traditional understanding and makes the researchers turn seriously to the analysis of digital childhood. The latest research in social sciences confirms that the user of technologies in the second decade of the 21st century in the society of well-being is already 3-4 years old and even a toddler.

Researchers describe the culture of today's children as different, unknown and incomprehensible that urges researchers seek the answers to the questions: how will the changes introduced in children's social habits by digitalization influence their life in future? Do we use technologies in our everyday life as a possibility to promote the children's development or, just on the contrary, - they become a threat? How do the changes in children's social habits brought about by technologies transform the society's understanding of childhood as a social phenomenon?

Professor Martin Ubani, University of Eastern Finland

Martin Ubani, Phd, MTheol, holds the chair of Professor of Religious Education at the School of Theology & the School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education at the University of Eastern Finland. His research interests include religion, multiculturalism and education, RE teacher education and didactics of RE. He holds several Academic positions of trust. Since 2017 he has been a library fellow at the Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem.



Religious literacy, 21st century skills and the RE teacher: teacher education at the crossroads?

In this presentation I will discuss religious literacy in the context of 21st century skills. Religious literacy has been a focus on discussions of several fields increasingly especially during the latest decade. While religious literacy has been in use when discussing public education curricula for longer, the developments in Western educational policy toward skills-based curricula has lately offered a new conceptual framework for the re-appearance of religious literacy in public education. Arguably in the field of RE, not only these generic educational developments but also the developments with regards to the disintegration in the core of the subject and powerful knowledge have contributed in the recent rise in demand for religious literacy as an integrative concept. In concrete I will look at religious literacy as a curricular objective, professional competence, quality criterion and legitimacy politics in education. After outlining religious literacy as a 21st century skill, I will then focus on the requirements it places for RE teachers and teacher education. In this discussion I will draw insights from a research project (2018-2021) funded by Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture: “21st century skills, multiple literacies and developing RE teacher education”.