This paper discusses teachers’ and students’ perspectives on inclusive teaching in Muslim faith institutes offering Dars-e-Nizami classes. Most Muslim schools use partitions between male and female students, or teach in single-sex classrooms. The impact of this phenomenon on students’ critical thinking skills has not been studied before. The main research question is: How do teachers and students understand inclusive teaching in Muslim Institutes offering Dars-e-Nizami classes? Secondary research questions include:
- What is the role of inclusivity on students’ critical thinking skills?
- What are the traits of an effective teacher?
- What strategies do teachers and students propose for effective teaching?
I used Interpretive Phenomenology Analysis (IPA) as a methodology to explore the perspectives of teachers and students by conducting a semi-structured interview with three male and one female teachers, and two male and two female students involved in teaching and learning the critical interpretation of the Quran. I could not achieve a gender balance among teaching participants due to lack of female teachers teaching interpretation of the Quran. In addition to semi-structured in-depth interviews that lasted from 20 to 25 minutes, I conducted four non-participatory observations and studied four presentations they used for teaching and learning. The use of non-participatory observation and document studies allowed me to understand the course.
I have also made sure that the current study meets with the basic research ethic principle that the study does not cause any harm to myself, research participants and the institutes. In this study, informed consent was gained from research participants to collect data and the discussion and data analysis and especially verbatim extracts from the extract in final writing. The research participants were contacted on the phone and through email, but before the interview, I revisited consent, freedom of participation, and withdrawal from the study. I emphasised how anonymity will be made. Throughout the interview, I also offered support if I thought that a question might be upsetting due to the sensitivity of the issue.
I have used IPA starting with a line-by-line analysis of the perspectives both teachers and students offer (Larkin, Watts, Clinton, 2006), followed by identifying the emergent themes from the nodes focus on commonality and nuance. The main themes were developed from sub-themes and finally were analysed in the light of research questions and literature review.
The study recommends following teaching strategies for effective teaching:
- Interdisciplinary teaching and learning
- Real-world teaching and learning
- Inquiry-led teaching and learning
The proposed strategies enable teachers to create a safe environment where both male and female students participate in generating, re-thinking and experimenting with the interpretation of the Quran.