Original Research - Special Collection: Life Orientation or Life Disorientation

Teacher identity and Religion Education in Life Orientation

Janet Jarvis
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 17, No 1 | a1076 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v17i1.1076 | © 2021 Janet Jarvis | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 May 2021 | Published: 28 July 2021

About the author(s)

Janet Jarvis, Discipline of Life Orientation Education, School of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Integral to the Life Orientation curriculum is democracy and human right. This article contends that considering human rights cannot simply be a theoretical exercise as the implementation thereof affects lived human experience. Currently held narratives of lived experience need to be dialogically explored. Integrally linked to any such exploration is the identity of the explorer. It can be said that individuals are made to varying degrees by systems and networks of power in society, including dominant discourses. However, they also have the capacity, by exercising individual agency, to make themselves according to the way in which they respond to the intersections that shape identity, including ethnicity, culture, class, religion, gender, sexual orientation and so forth. This article seeks to explore teacher identity and, in particular, teacher religious identity, with a view to transformed Religion Education. The argument is made for Life Orientation teachers to negotiate their religious identity from a position of ‘religious identity paralysis’ or ‘religious identity paradox’ or even ‘religious identity flexibility’ to one of ‘religious identity transformation’. Both in-service and pre-service teachers participated in the studies informing this article.


classroom praxis; empathetic-reflective-dialogue; identity negotiation; religion education; religious identity transformation.


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