Bridging faith, languages and learning in London: A faith teacher reflects upon pedagogy in religious instruction classes

Lytra, Vally; Gregory, Eve E. and Ilankuberan, Arani. 2016. Bridging faith, languages and learning in London: A faith teacher reflects upon pedagogy in religious instruction classes. Language and Education, 30(6), pp. 554-569. ISSN 0950-0782 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In this article we examine a faith teacher's reflections on faith literacy teaching and learning and how they shaped his pedagogy in the context of Hindu/Saiva religious instruction classes for students of Sri Lankan Tamil heritage. The data are part of a larger multi-site three-year team ethnography of children's faith literacy learning in places of worship, religious education classes and homes across four ethno-linguistic communities in London (Bangladeshi Muslim, Polish Catholic, Ghanaian Pentecostal and Tamil Hindu/Saiva). In this article, we focus on one of the Hindu/Saiva faith teachers by combining an in-depth semi-structured interview with the teacher in question with participant observations and video-recordings of faith lessons. Drawing on the faith teacher's reflections, we identify the changes in the nature and scope of faith literacy learning across time and in the London diasporic setting and demonstrate how the faith teacher responded to them by adopting flexible language practices where English (the majority language) was used alongside Tamil (the community and devotional language) as a learning resource. The faith teacher's pedagogic approach emerged as a pragmatic and contextual response to the students' diverse capabilities in class, with the purpose of making faith literacy learning accessible and relevant to their lives.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Faith as a social practice, team ethnography, pedagogy, teacher reflections, Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies > Centre for Language, Culture and Learning


26 July 2016Accepted
30 August 2016Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

06 Sep 2016 11:12

Last Modified:

28 Feb 2019 10:35

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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