Book: New Age in Norway
Chapter: New Age in Norwegian Religion Education: An Analysis of Development in Curricula and Textbooks for RE in Secondary and Upper-secondary Education 1996-2008
New Religious movements (NRM) represent something rather new in Norwegian curricula and textbooks for RE. In curricula there seems to be some difficulties in where to place NRM. In secondary school, teaching goals about NRM are placed under the main subject area labeled Religious diversity. The teaching goals on NRM are rather open in some sense, but at the same time related to nature and indigenous religions (“naturreligiøs praksis, herunder urfolks naturreligion”). This means that the teachers and textbook authors have to choose the appropriate examples and in that case offer an understanding of the formulations in the curriculum. In upper-secondary, teaching goals are equally vague. It reads that students should be able to “discuss and elaborate on different forms of searching for religions in our time.” This teaching goal does not necessarily have to be related to NRM. Nevertheless, this is the only teaching goal which in some sense point to NRM.
The chapter will in three parts give insight in how NRM are dealt with in Norwegian RE: i) NRM in curricula for secondary and upper-secondary school, ii) NRM in textbooks for secondary and upper-secondary school, and iii) a discussion on how NRM are challenging well-established ways of teaching religion in RE.