Teacher Identity, Positionality and (Mis) Representation of Religion in the Ghanaian School Contexts: Insider/Outsider Case Study Perspectives

Richardson Addai-Mununkum

Abstract


Studies on teacher religious identity have been premised on the assumption that public schools are
religiously neutral and if teachers’ religious identities are acknowledged and properly
accommodated, teaching will be better enacted. I conducted a qualitative case study of teachers
in religiously affiliated public schools in Ghana to get a nuanced understanding of how they
navigate tensions arising from complexities generated by their own religious identities, their
schools’ and that of their students. Using data from interviews, observations, and focus groups,
my findings challenge existing notions of religious neutrality of public schools. In the Ghanaian
context where the lines between secular and religious schools are blurry, teachers are
(un)knowingly positioned as in(out)siders and their consequent pedagogical (in)actions are highly
influenced by such (un)natural religious tensions in their schools. It is such issues emanating from
teacher positionalities that I seek to highlight as ripe for qualitative inquiry.

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