In this article we examine the role played by one key sacred text in children's learning in four faith communities in London (Bangladeshi British Muslim, Tamil Hindu, Ghanaian Pentecostal and Polish Catholic). After situating the study within a sociocultural framework, we show how collaborative ethnography offers insights into how children begin to make collective memories their own in a new country. We focus particularly on the importance of practice and performance leading to the perfection required by the faith. Through multimodal approaches including song, dance, gesture and chant, as well as repetition, recitation, echoing and memorization, the children imbibe the texts and learn them “by heart”. Finally, we show how living in a new country results in a syncretism of language, literacy and learning practices which contributes to the dynamic nature of each faith in London.
© by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston