What Did 20th-Century Educators Think about Religious Education and its Role in Students’ Sustainable Development?

Proceedings of The 7th International Conference on Research in Education, Teaching and Learning

Year: 2023



What Did 20th-Century Educators Think about Religious Education and its Role in Students’ Sustainable Development?

Viktoriia Chorna



The title of the research is «The Child. The Religion. The Sustainable Future: How it Started in Sweden and Where it is now?»

The purpose of research is to determine the historical and pedagogical foundations of the formation of students’ sustainable development in Swedish Primary Schools during their religious education from 1900 till now

The main task of research is to identify the main trends of transformation of the content of religious education as part of the social-cultural of younger schoolchildren since 1900 till now and determine the prospects of their application in modern primary schools.

Methods and materials.

General methods: Analysis, Synthesis, Induction, Deduction, Analogy

Specific scientific methods: a historical-structural, constructive and genetic, comparative analysis

Source material: books, articles, pictures, videos, reports, policy, archives materials

One of my research work results displays in my article «Religious Education in Swedish Primary Schools». I would like to focus on key issues.

  1. insufficient preparation by teachers, misunderstandings, and a lack of effective teaching methods;
  2. ineffective planning in the educational process;
  3. poor access to educational resources (teachers do not know where to find interesting materials);
  4. a lack of connection to religious education and context in other subjects (elements of religious education can be used in other lessons, for example, the teacher could suggest a story with instructive content when a student is learning to read);
  5. a lack of a proper system for assessing the student’s knowledge and skills.


In the first half of the XX century, significant changes took place in pedagogy. This was facilitated by the growth of requirements for the amount of knowledge and skills that students had to learn, the results of research on childhood, the experience of experimental educational institutions, and the strengthening of contacts between teachers on a national and international scale. Among the international pedagogical organizations established at this time are the New Education League and the International Bureau of Education.
The need to update pedagogy, and revision of pedagogical attitudes became more and more relevant. In the first half of the XX century, there are few directions in education: social pedagogy (É. Durkheim, E. Spranger, etc.) – the main goal of the school is to prepare worthy members of society; «religion pedagogy» (J. Maritain, J. Adamson, F. Forster, M. Buber, and others) – the key religion postulates is the based for pupils’ moral development; «new education» (M. Montessori, J. Dewey, etc.) – the most important during the learning is «follow for the child»; experimental pedagogy (H. Gaudig, A. Ferrier, A. Binet, etc.)involves the organization of practice based on results of deep theoretical analysis and observations.
To analyze the views of 20th-century international educators’ is very important for understanding religious education’s role and content for students’ sustainable development during the last period and help to realize the base for developing it in the 21st century. There are more details below.
So, the result of analyses of the international educators’ professional views allows us to state that the international pedagogy of the last century:

  • considerate religious education as a tool for society united;
  • put the child’s interests and needs at the center and considered it as a part of the world;
  • convinced that education has to be based on religion, philosophical postulates, and results of practical observations.

All of these conclusions allow us to assert, that religious education (in the XX century) had (and I think still has) a strong background for students’ sustainable development – child considers a part of the family, community, country, and Earth environment and if it’s so then each student understand that every action, deed or choice necessarily affects to the ecological, economical and social development of environment.

keywords: Primary schools, pupils, tolerance, moral and spiritual development, culture, and religious education