Performativity, Faith and Professional Identity: Student Religious Education Teachers and The Ambiguities of Objectivity

Hazel Bryan, Lynn Revell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


This paper considers the way in which Christian Religious Education (RE) teachers articulate the difficulties and challenges they experience both in school and with their peers as they navigate their way through their Initial Teacher Education. The paper offers a unique exploration of the relationship between elements of the three discourses of faith identity, emerging professional identity and the requirements of a performative teacher training context. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 184 student RE teachers across three universities. It became clear that all students interpreted the Standards and policy guidelines ambiguously, as being value-laden or value-free. The idea of the 'good teacher' as someone who was, by very definition, neutral and objective immediately made the faith position of students problematic. This is a key point in relation to the notion of performativity and education and the disproportionate impact it made on Christian students. It appeared as though many Christian students were concerned to stress that although their faith was personally important for them it was not something that contributed to their understanding of a 'good teacher'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-419
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Studies
Issue number4
Early online date13 Oct 2011
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


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