An Ethnographic Approach with Participant and Naturalistic Observations of the Language of Entrancement in a Daoist Temple in Singapore

Project Number
SUG 20/15 CGL

Project Duration
April 2016 - November 2016


The purpose of this project is to focus, describe and analyse a section of the emergent field of faith literacies, namely the language of entrancement. More specifically, this project explores the role of English and the vernacular in a Daoist temple and its relationship to literacy processes in a child’s school learning. This undertaking requires knowledge from the domain of religion, language and education and hence enables us to create a multidisciplinary body of “new” knowledge and theories that will ultimately contribute to a better understanding of literacy and literacies in both a religious and educational site. The research questions are: 1. What, specifically, is the “language of entrancement” in a Daoist temple in Singapore? 2. To what extent are the literacy processes in Daoist temples complementary (or contradictory) to that found in the language class in Singapore? 3. What are the possible implications of faith literacies in a child’s school learning? The research will identify key issues such as the role of lingua francas such as English, Mandarin and the role of the vernacular and their relationship to literacy processes in both the Daoist temple and Singapore schools. Findings in faith literacies will inform and influence pedagogical (and motivational/attitudinal) practices in the classroom. In addition, this study will contribute to the Singapore government’s efforts to teach religious beliefs and practices in Singapore for the purpose of inculcating moral values and promoting religious citizenship education. In brief, faith literacies is an exciting and promising field of research. By funding this pilot project, NIE/NTU will enjoy the pioneering edge in an emergent area of international interest.

Funding Source

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