“Why all of a sudden do we need to teach fundamental British values” a critical investigation of religious education student teacher positioning within a policy discourse of discipline and control

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Abstract This paper presents a critical investigation of a group of 11 religious education (RE) student teachers’ views of the promotion of fundamental British values (FBV) undertaken in 2015. Using qualitative methods data was collected in two semi-structured group interviews. Drawing from the perspectives of Foucauldian methodology and critical theory, this paper examines the extent to which student teachers were able to align the FBV discourse with their own personal and professional positioning. Findings demonstrate little consensus about what constitutes Britishness. There is evidence of dissonance in the student teachers’ views that FBV sends out contradictory messages. The student teachers are committed to the development of learners’ moral imaginations but are concerned by the capacity of FBV to alienate learners and its incompatibility with the pluralism of RE. The paper argues that it is through the development of teacher subjectivity in the alternative discourses of critical RE and research that practitioners will be able to make adjustments that can accommodate and reappropriate the demands of policy. Key words: fundamental, British, values, religious, education, discipline, subjectivity, student teacher.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-297
JournalJournal of Education for Teaching
Issue number3
Early online date13 May 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 May 2016


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