The paper uses the tools of sociology of religion and relates its findings to pedagogy. Estonia may be called a natural laboratory of RE in a secular context (Neill&Schihalejev 2012). Here one can find a lot of schools without a distinctive subject for learning religion. The other schools have an optional RE in primary schools learning stories from different religious traditions, predominantly Christian ones. There are also schools where students in upper grades learn about different world religions. Several religious schools offer Christian religious education for pupils of different religious and non-religious backgrounds. This makes possible to compare the attitudes of young people with different experience of RE.
The paper focuses on the Estonian REDCo data (n=573) pupils (age group 14-17) but compares the results to these got in REDCo quantitative study in 2008 (n=1208). The questions, both from REDCo II sample and REDCoI sample, what make up the biggest distinctions between these different groups will be examined in the paper: how pupils assess their experience of education about religion and how they deal with religious diversity. The findings will be related to other relevant researches done in Estonia (Census 2011, Jõks et al 2010 etc) and analysed using the Communities of Learning model, in which a classroom is understood as a set of cultural contexts where dialogues permit the analysis of context and also shape it (Ligorio 2010). The findings are discussed also in relation to recent policies to RE in Estonia.
Census 2011 (2013) http://www.stat.ee/rel2011
Jõks, Eerik; Kilemit, Liina; Rentel, Anu; Teder, Tauno (2012, Eds.). Astu alla rahva hulka: artikleid ja arutlusi Eesti elanikkonna vaimulaadist (230 - 248). Tallinn: Eesti Kirikute Nõukogu
Ligorio, M. Beatrice (2010) Dialogical Relationship between Identity and Learning, Culture & Psychology March 2010 16: 93-107,
Neill, Sean; Schihalejev, Olga (2012). Influences on students’ views on religions and education in England and Estonia. Jackson, Robert (Ed.). Religion, Education, Dialogue and Conflict Perspectives on Religious Education Research (118 - 132). London: Routledge
19th Session of the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values (ISREV), York, England, July 27- August 1, 2014.