School resources for situations involving religious matters



This contribution discusses the analyses of the resources used by teachers the deal with school situations related lo religious matters in secondary schools in Brazil and France. The constitution of resources for teaching does we come only from professional experience, mainly in the Brazilian case, where there are no official rules or prescriptions On the other hand, there are many prescriptions concerning secularism (laicité) in France. Thus, il is questioned: are the prescriptions used as resources in France? What are the resources mobilized by teachers in situations involving the religious question in Brazii? Are they different? Why? Our supposition is that the resources used in teaching practices are consisent with the plurality of references that constilute teaching identily. Based on ethnographic interviews with eighteen teachers in the State of San Paulo and the same number of teachers in Lyon, 109 situations involving the religious question were collected. The resources used by the teachers in those situations were analyzed. In this article we are going the discuss the fact that mos resources used Brazilian teachers came from personal experience, while French teachers mobilized professional resources. The discussion we propose explores the close association between socio-cuhural configuration characteristics, available resources and social comprehension of the interface between religion and education.


Tea ehing practice is a seiof aclions tharlesults from the accumulalion of professional and personal knowledge and values that are built through exchanges, training and experiences. lt is defined not only by the visible aclions of the individual, but also by whalhe/she thinks and the way he/she expresses himself. Teaching praclice is reaffirmed by the professional group in the process of professional socializalion and by the inslitutional group, in which ways of being, acling and thinking are legitimized or rejected by peers. In this perspective, teaching praclice is individuai and collective and can noi be disconnected from a whole (FRANCO, 2016) (1), since it is seen as "resonance and reverberalion of medialions belween society and classroom" (p. 548). Thus, in addition to inleracling with colleagues in the profession, the teaching praclices are built in conjunction with inleraclion with students.

As a social institution, the school is porous and therefore reflecls whalhappens in sociely. In this communicalion, we will be inleresled in the school situations thai involve the issue of religion. More specifically, we queslion the resources used by teachers to manage situations involving religious issues. We undersland resources as elements used in situations, which can be incorporated/internal to individuals (such as competencies and dispositions) or external to the actor involved in the situation (such as human and nonhuman actors).

This is an appraach of compared education, identified here as the crassing of several paths: interdisciplinarities, articulation between macra, meso and micra social levels far the understanding of educational pracesses lived by the actors in their social contexts (FRENAY, 2008) [2]. However, we take care of starting from the micra (teaching practices) to arrive at the macra (social) so as not to run the risk of constructing a false reality, as Thévenot (2001) [3] warned. ln addition, it is not intended to make a generalization of the two countries, since it is a study located in an economie capitai (Sao Paulo) and the third French city (Lyon), each with very specific characteristics that do not represent the country in which they are located.

lt is assumed that the resources used by the teachers are guided by creativity composed of the diversity of understandings and by references to the sacred, which would characterize a domestic logic in the Brazilian case, and in the French case, alludes to a secular arder linked to elements of common interest, which would represent a civic logic.

To verify these hypotheses, we asked far the 38 Brazilian and French teachers interviewed to describe their school situations involving the religious question. We collected 109 situations in which religion was present in the school. The delimitation of the situations allowed us to identify and analyze the individuai actions, their objectives, their resources and related logic. Focusing only on resources, we arrive at the following research result: the analysis category related to the resources in the situations is the one with the greatest plurality. In France, the most commonly used resource far teachers is prafessional habitus, that is, their knowledge of the prafession, the discipline taught, class management and knowledge of the context. In Brazil, the main resource is composed of personal dispositions of the teacher. In this text, we will discuss these results.

Usually the instruments of action are those that are available at the moment, i.e. those that are judged by the teachers as the most appropriate to deal with the situation which is often imponderable. Mobilization of these available resources depends on the ability and competence of teachers to use them. In turn, such skills and competencies are acquired fram life situations and incorporated dispositions. The specific characteristics of a situation, with its social interactions, resignify the resource used and contribute to subjective transformations ofthe identity ofthe actors. Much of the constitution of resources takes piace in activity and allows teachers to affirm that their teaching dispositions are acquired in the exercise of their prafession.

In the Brazilian case, the inseparability of the identity of teachers (VALENTE, 2018) [4] is also the result of the absence of prafessional ethics in Brazil, that is, of an ethical reflection on the tensions and dilemmas of the prafession that would ideally begin in the training courses of teachers. According to Prairat "Deontology is the piace where prafessional solidarity is made explicit and where the distinction between pubiic (professional) identity and private identity (of the person) is affirmed". (2009, pp.151-152), [5].

Our research results point to a greater use of prafessional resources by French teachers than by Brazilians. One explanation would be that the identity of the French teacher is related to his professional socialization in the establishment, with the discipline taught (VAN ZANTEN et al., 2002) [6], with republican values and with a civic logic of action. In the case of Brazilian teachers, we perceive a greater tendency far prafessional socialization to occur fram multiple references, being categorized in this study as coming from personal and professional experience. Since their main argument was to preserve individuals right of choosing their own religion, the privileged logic of action was liberai and not domestique, as supposed in the beginning.

The concepì of hybrid dispositions of habitus was created to explore a particularity of Brazilian modernity (SETTON, 2002) [7] and facilitates the understanding of the prevalence of the use of personal resources by Brazilian teachers. These dispositions result from hierarchies of multiple references in the life of an individuai (SETTON, 2016, p. 96) [8] and result from the socialization effects of different spaces (ALVES, 2015) [9]. Another particularity of Brazilian society is that there is no separation between the domestic and the professional spheres, which promotes conditions of possibility far the construction of hybrid dispositions of habitus (SETION, 2002) [7].

In the case of a southern country (MARTUCCELLI, 201O) [1O], the institutional framework or state strength in Brazil is smaller than in France, leading to a devaluation of the pubiic school, a precariousness ofthe conditions of professoriai work, a reflective fragility of training courses, etc. The state weakness causes individuals to seek references from social ties and not from deontologica! principles, often using common sense, dialogue, and personal experience as a resource to manage situations in the professional context. Consequently, the absence of a strong state confirms the liberai logic, in which the individuai counts only on his/her freedom and with his/her ability to create, produce and interact far his/her survival in society.

With regard to the religious question specifically, the use of resources derived from the personal experience of teachers can be explained from three social facts.

The first of these is related to Brazilian history, which does not pass through a rupture that separates the public sphere (secular) from the private sphere (religious).

That is, even if the decree of separation between religions and state was signed in 1890, religious institutions continued to have an important role in meeting the social needs of state responsibility. Secondly, on education, in the law of guidelines and bases far education [11], the way in which the discipline of Religious Education is presented ("an integrai part of the basic formation of the citizen") legitimizes religion and religiosity as a pedagogical tool. Finally, in the social, mediatic or teacher-training spheres, there are no discussions that denature the mixture between public and private space, that approach the theme of secularism (larcité) or that question the entrance of religion into the school.

Where  institutions are strong, as in France, what prevails is a less hybrid socialization, where the weight of the school and the state allow, far example, that everyone knows what secularism (larcité) means and that each one is their defender, even if by different means. The use of resources derived from the profession itself is also explained by the great working conditions of these teachers.

The debate on the interface between religion and public school in France begins in 1905, when there was a law of separation and implementation of secularity (larcité).

Among the many documents that are in piace today, the "Charte de la larcité", intended far ali schoolchildren, published in 2013 [12], the "Livret de la larcité" published in 2015 [13], far teachers and the manual or "La larcité à l'école" far leaders of school institutions, published in 2018 [14]. These materials are guidelines that circumscribe the teaching practice and deontology, even if they are not an explicit resource far teaching practice in the analysed situations.

Teachers, as public French officials, must obey the principle of neutrality and discretion regarding their religious beliefs. The restriction that concerns students arises from the law of March 15, 2004 [15], prohibiting the use of ostensible religious symbols far students. Ostensible symbols are symbols that would attract attention of other students and, in this way, put pressure on the others. The argument used is that the purpose of the republican school would be to distance ideological representations to protect the minor's own existence. In addition, the law instructs teachers to discuss with students before taking corrective action. Ali these regimented and legitimized norms are, at the same time, obligations and teaching practice resources, which explain why French teachers mobilize professional resources when confronted with a religious situation.

In agreement with Dubet and Martucelli (1996) [16], in which the construction of identity takes piace through a double process of socialization and subjectivation, the resources mobilized in the teaching practices of French teachers would have a greater influence of professional socialization, while the resources of Brazilian teachers would have foundations in a subjectivation with multiple references. However, the multiplicity of training routes could be detrimental to the professional socializing process, leading to a precariousness of teaching work, as suggested by LOdke and Boing (2004) [17].

By itself, the teaching profession consists of fragmented groups, far example, teachers have their trajectories of formation divided by disciplines, by stage of education, by the status of the school (public or private), among others. This disaggregation makes the plurality of resources intrinsic to the profession, although it is an obstacle to the creation of a single and coherent educational deontology. Thus, the resources are chosen according to the situations in arder to justify the logic of action, taking into account the unpredictability and plurality implied in the situations.


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