Teaching Children about Allah
Religious education about the Muslim faith to children in Australia entails the enlightenment of the basic principles, beliefs and practices of Islam. The Muslim community enjoys the right to educate the children about their own religion. The Muslim education they pass on to the children entails various aspects such as: the concept of prayer, the five pillars of Islam just to mention but a few. The five pillars of Islam entail the basic principles which include Faith, Salat. Fasting, Zakat and Hajj. The concepts involve the beliefs of Islam as contained in the Quran.
This paper will analyze aspects involved in the teaching children about Allah by bringing out the nature of the schools and the roles of the teachers in Australia. It will also evaluate the use of the Western methodology in a Turkish context. This will be accompanied by perspectives about Fowler and El Kind’s ideas in terms of their suitability for Muslim children and the reasons. The final part of the paper will analyze the ethics procedures in managing potential conflicts that may arise.
To start with, the nature of the schools that teach Muslim religious studies entail an educational approach that involves learning and teaching of religion for all students regardless of their background or level of belief. The schools teach religious education like any other subject to ensure that it is accessed equally by all the students. This gives the students the opportunity to reflect, think, pray and consider. Hence, religious education acquires an outcome approach which can be considered as the formalization of Islam. That means that teaching Islam to children through a religious educational curriculum with a set of outcomes to achieve is similar to other curriculum subjects. This way, students are given an accurate and consistent mode of assessing their learning and achievements. Schools apply two systems that focus on instilling religious education the children. These methods include: the cognitive aspect which focuses on the knowledge content and the affective aspect which focuses on the student’s personal interaction with the knowledge.
My role within the schools is ensuring that the student learn about religion based processes on specific outcomes. The cognitive approach in Muslim schools narrows down to the objectives and systematic learning about outcome based content for instance, religion, beliefs, ritual practices, social structure, history, ethical positions, symbols, stories and texts. The affective approach helps students to make sense of the things they learn and relate it to personal levels.
The Western methodology in the Turkish context restricted the Muslims from migrating to Australia. The White Australia Policy that existed between 1901 and 1973 restricted immigration to Australia to those of Anglo-Saxon descent. This policy was partisan and biased due to the fact that it restricted a certain group of people from one descent. The policy had lasted for many years but was only lifted after the Muslims started arriving. It would have continued unless the two governments, Turkish and Australian, engaged in negotiations. It side-lined people who did not have original descent in Australia whereas majority, of the immigrants or rather Muslims in Australia were foreigners.
Fowler and El Kind’s ideas are not suitable for Muslim children. The reason behind this is that, Fowler adopted a methodology that did not adequately define the meaning of religion. His definition is restricted to the cognitive approach which apparently ignores other perspectives of faith. Fowler ignores aspects of faith such as forgiveness which is very vital in the Muslim religion. The methodology was also inappropriate in that it could not be applied at a normative level due because the sample group was white and Christian. This is coupled with the belief that moral development was considered a stage of faith development which Fowler disapproves. Most of the aspects obtained in Fowler’s methodology were only prevalent in adults but not in children. El Kind on the other hand, classifies children into three categories depending on their faith, personal sensations, ideas and behavior. He claimed that cognitive requires positions which develop and convert into features of different stages of children’s development. El Kind’s classification would not be suitable for Muslim children as it would divide them into groups and their beliefs. This would create disparity in terms of what they believe in at any stage of their development.
Textbooks have a wide array of content which plays a very key role in religious education. They provide useful resources for students and teachers and lay the foundation for them. Textbooks give new teachers powerful resources in the content area. Similarly textbooks give implicit content which reflects ideological meanings and a thorough reading which is necessary to bring out the meaning. Quality textbooks in religious education are at times compared to the effectiveness of placing good materials in students’ hands. This reflects their learning on religion.
The ethics procedures in this case offer rationalistic and instinctive solutions that can be justified by integrating strong points in the study. It helps in collecting data simultaneously. In the research I managed to maintain impartiality and observed the cogency of the information gathered. To manage potential conflicts, I utilized the basic researching skills of ensuring that the research was not direct to the respondents or even personal. I also ensured that the research was majorly based on the topic without taking sides or criticizing any aspect.