Transformation & Resistance in the Interfaith Classroom Reflections on Teaching in the Canadian Context

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Elizabeth Fisher
Amy Panton


Although Canada is a religiously plural society, interfaith theological learning remains uncommon. This reflective paper explores the experience of team-teaching at

Emmanuel College’s Master of Pastoral Studies Program. The Master of Pastoral Studies is a professional degree with Christian, Muslim, and Buddhist streams that trains students to become chaplains, psycho-spiritual therapists and spiritual care providers in the Canadian context.

Using anecdotes from our classroom experiences, this paper reflects on three values central to inter-religious learning: cultivating a vulnerable “open stance” in dialogue, understanding interfaith teaching as active resistance that contributes to spiritual transformation, and placing ourselves as instructors as the “guide within the group.” Interfaith learning calls us to risk and courage, believing that spiritual transformation happens as we encounter difference with openness and humility. As teachers, we model for our students how to engage with one another to build peace in response to individual and societal trauma and discord.

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