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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Muslim–Canadian educator’s pedagogies : tools for teaching, learning, and transforming Alkouatli, Claire


Islamic Education is a topic often clouded by stereotypes, misperceptions, and charges of antiquation and indoctrination, yet little empirical research has explored types and purposes of pedagogies in teaching Islam. This critical interpretive study invited formal, informal, and freelance Muslim–Canadian educators to explore a primary research question in individual and group interviews: By what pedagogies do educators engage children and youth in teaching and learning Islam? The methodological approach was an Islamic interpretive bricolage of Islamic paradigmatic and interpretivist concepts and methods, which aimed to recognize data beyond a narrow secular frame and interpret it in ways meaningful within Islamic educational communities. Methodological complexity was a function of sociocultural complexity. The 35 research participants referred to 17 different ‘back-home’ cultures in making sense of Islamic pedagogy in Canada. Thematic analysis of their variegated descriptions coalesced into three themes. First, Dimensional Pedagogies honor and engage unique developmental domains of learners. Second, Contemporary Contextual Pedagogies respond to cultures in which learners are embedded, revealing a need for Canadian cultural relevance in teaching Islam. Third, Transcendent Pedagogies are esoteric interactions beyond the reach of corporeal perceptions, whereby awakening God-consciousness is a primary purpose of both Islamic education and human life. Together, the three themes constitute a pedagogical typology that positions Islamic pedagogies as central to distinct expressions of education and human development, highlighting new directions in Islamic educational research. The typology suggests that secular, Western, teacher-education programs may not provide the range of pedagogies that Muslim educators need to effectively educate Muslim children. It illuminates modalities for advancing Islamic teacher education. In centering Islamic pedagogies marginal to a Canadian mainstream, while simultaneously engaging with that mainstream, this pedagogical typology aims to realize inter-epistemic interaction as community development. A methodological implication is that situating educational research conducted with Muslim communities within an Islamic paradigm contributes to data recognition, analytic coherence, and interpretive significance. Further examination is required of these pedagogies in other cultural contexts, to discern methods of assessing their efficacy, and in considering their potentials within a larger Islamic theory of human development.

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