Journal article

Towards the formulation of a pedagogical framework for Islamic schools in Australia

Religious education Islam Muslim ethnic identity School choice Queensland

During the last 30 years ‘Islamic’ or Muslim schools have sprung up in Europe, North America and Australia. Reasons for the establishment of these schools generally pertain to  Islamic faith and quality of education. Parents desire their children to be positive participants in, and contributors to, society while at the same time maintaining their faith. However, a number of researchers question the effectiveness of Islamic schools in achieving these goals. Driessen and Merry (2006) and Walford (2002) note that matters of Islamic faith are mainly confined to formalities expressed as rules and codes and Qur’an recitation. Moes (2006) and Shamma (1999) express concern that formalisation of religious education leads to negative consequences. Often, these schools devote their energies to the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of Islam without the ‘how’. Memon (2007) proposes that to achieve the intents and purposes of Islamic education in a western context, teachers need to be guided by the pedagogical principles of the Islamic tradition in a fertile synthesis with the pedagogical principles of contemporary educational thought. Such a pedagogical framework would enable a curriculum to be embedded that is both faithful to Islamic principles and relevant to contemporary society. While there is some limited international research in this area, there is a dearth of research in the Australian context. This paper critically surveys and evaluates the existing research material and proposes a Prophetic Pedagogical Framework that may be used in a fertile synthesis with the Productive Pedagogies framework underpinning the Queensland public education system. It is contended that an Islamic extension of the Productive Pedagogies framework would have considerable value for the on-going quality of teaching in Australian Islamic schools.

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