Recreating Third Spaces in the Classroom: Using Dialogue to Understand Faith

By Arzina Zaver.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This qualitative study focuses on recreating a third space in a religious education classroom (RE) in Vancouver, Canada. The researcher’s understanding of third space largely draws from Homi Bhabha’s writings but has been re-defined within the context of this study to refer to a space of dialogue for Ismaili adolescents. The impetus driving the research largely stems from the researcher’s own experiences as well as both previous observations and the challenges faced by minority youth as a result of globalization and the spread of religious ideas through mass media. Dialogue is seen to have great value in the classroom as it responds to the intellectual and emotional needs of the adolescent to ask, reflect and understand. There has also been a movement in education for a student-centered approach that values students as active participants in the learning process. Furthermore discussions and a space to “ask” in this research has been shown to increase students’ understanding of faith related matters such as practise and tradition. By “creating” such spaces in the RE classroom, students are given the tools to re-conceptualize culture in a way that responds to their social contexts. Moreover, this research calls attention to the necessity for students to learn from peers and engage in a dialogue that enables them to understand faith with intimacy and clarity. In order for students to truly engage in faith, the space for deeper engagement with the practises and traditions of faith must be given value.

Keywords: Third Space, Dialogue, Multi-Faith Realities, Religious Education

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 2, Issue 3, 2012, pp.9-20. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.292MB).

Arzina Zaver

Religious Educator, Ismaili Religious Education Board Canada, Port Coquitlam, Canada

Master of Teaching, (graduated with distinction) and M.A. in education (Muslim Societies and Civilizations) Institute of Education, University of London United Kingdom, 2008-2010. PDP and B.ED., ITEM module (International Teacher Education Module) Minor in global education, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C., University of the West Indies Trinidad and Tobago, 2006–2007. B.A., Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, 2002–2006, Double Major: English/history.