Deborah Court

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Arguably more than any other field of education, religious education involves and addresses the whole person. Knowledge, skills, attitudes, belief and feeling are interwoven; hearts, minds and souls are called upon to engage. Much of religious education happens in the moment, in interaction between teacher, student and text. This chapter attempts to conceptualize this depth and complexity through Michael Polanyi’s notions of personal knowledge and the tacit dimension of knowledge. Polanyi intended these ideas to encompass much more than factual and procedural knowledge. His ideas offer a way in to unpacking religious education. Since Polanyi’s work was published in the late 1950‘s and early 1960‘s, scholars in many fields, notably teacher education, have built on and expanded Polanyi’s concepts and applied them to their own fields. This chapter follows in this tradition. In the first section Polanyi’s work is reviewed. The second section briefly examines how educationists have applied Polanyi’s work to teachers’ professional knowledge, developing the concept of teachers’ personal practical knowledge. The third section builds on the first two and presents a conception of the tacit dimension in religious education, the dimension where knowledge, faith and spiritual striving are intertwined. Finally, suggestions are offered as to how this conception might be applied to religious education in teaching, teacher preparation and curriculum development.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationReligious Education Perspectives, Teaching Strategies and Challenges
    PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)9781536158335
    StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2019 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc.


    • Knowledge
    • Polanyi
    • Religious
    • Spiritual
    • Tacit
    • Teaching


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