Yet misconceptions and misinformation can quickly become the norm if educators do not address differences within a classroom. How to Proceed. Copy this URL to link to this … If religion is the one area of the curriculum that teachers are afraid to teach using inquiry and discussion, it will be the one that students will feel is boring or unimportant. I would like to offer the following advice from my experience as a classroom teacher: 1. Not only is discussing religion in public schools allowed, it is actually mandated by my curriculum. Teaching Tolerance and the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding teamed up to offer educators a free webinar series: Religious Diversity in the Classroom. For this reason, another subculture in the school is the classroom where one teacher’s preferences may not be shared by his/her colleagues. This new pupil was presented with ethnic differences (skin colour, geographical origin, language, parent’s religion). Every effort should be made to obtain accurate information about different religions. By Jen Johnson: jennifer@equaliteach.co.uk As teachers, many of us have been there – delivering a wonderful lesson in which the learning objectives are beautifully fulfilled, the differentiation has worked like a dream…but then … Special training may be required to prepare teachers to discuss religion in an appropriate manner. Just … If you don't have an account, Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding. Teaching Tolerance and the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding teamed up to offer educators a free webinar series: Religious Diversity in the Classroom.The five-part series and accompanying resources (described in detail below) examine how awareness of religious diversity affects global citizenship, and how teaching about religion across grade levels and … There are practices my colleagues and have used that can attack this problem head-on. “No religion talk, please,” seemed to be the assumption—apparently even when it comes to addressing bullying. With the increase in cultural diversity, we also see a rise in religious diversity, the How do you help students of all religions—or no religion—feel safe, supported and accepted? by EqualiTeach | Published 7th August 2018. Giving Students a Choice in Matters of Faith. He graduated from Amherst College in 2009 and has completed the Teacher Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Any discussion of religion in the classroom should be sensitive to the beliefs of the different students in the class. Blog. Special training may be required to prepare teachers to discuss religion in an appropriate manner. The government or public action in question must not involve itself excessively with religion. Questions like “How has Christianity shaped the politics of abortion in the U.S.?” and “Did Christians and Muslims have more differences or commonalities during the Crusades?” are two examples of questions I have asked to high school students that have generated hearty and respectful debate and a deeper understanding of human similarities and differences. When children’s and families’ practices “clash” with our own, it can lead to misunderstandings and assumptions. In fact, I think some of the importance of fostering discussion of religion in schools is to help students understand its flaws as well as its beauty. In a classroom setting, diversity can present itself in a number of different ways: multicultural students, different learning styles, distinct personalities, etc. Teacher education programs often overlook the importance of preparing K–12 teachers to address religious ideas in history and social studies. The teacher is tasked with encouraging and maintaining that diversity. They are also more prone than girls to rely on physical aggression if they are frustrated (Espelage & Swearer, 2004). The effort requires collaboration among scholars of religion, educators, and members of the faith communities to realize the potential in the new structures for teaching world history and geography in multidisciplinary, skill-based … Within any given classroom at any particular grade level, a teacher will understand that their students come from diverse backgrounds and … The opportunity to learn from each other is lost and methods usually rejected by good instructors—teacher-centered, rote fact-regurgitation-become the norm. Up to this point, it seems that highlighting differences between groups of students who are more or less familiar with a task through hand raising leads to the disadvantaged students performing even worse. Finally, studying religion with as much depth as issues such as race, class, and gender allows students to glimpse its complexity. children to become aware of what is important to a particular religion is an important step toward understanding the people that believe in that religion” (p. 196). 3. Religion must be taught objectively and neutrally. Analyze and celebrate differences in traditions, beliefs, and social behaviors. Very little research has investigated bullying based on religious differences. Become a fan of First Things on Facebook, subscribe to First Things via RSS, and follow First Things on Twitter. On the other hand, 36 percent would like to see a merging of cultures. Students are told to memorize these, not to discuss their validity or question their effect on societies. Follow-up blogs: A four-part series that responds to participants' questions and comments. Nevertheless, when bullying based on religion occurs in a severe, pervasive or persistent manner, it can be considered harassment und… Special training may be required to prepare teachers to discuss religion in an appropriate manner. Religious Differences in the Classroom. Peyton and Jalongo (2008) suggest that in order to encourage respect for different faiths, teachers need to ) familiarize students with others’ beliefs, (a For example, we’ve written … Are you looking for practical suggestions on how to explore religious diversity with elementary students? If they are to understand the world they live in, they must be exposed at an early age to the religious dimensions of society, history, literature, art, … In these types of bullying situations, the act may have more to do with negative attitudes and stereotypes about how someone expresses their beliefs and have less to do beliefs themselves. Understanding Culture in the Classroom. Interviews were conducted over the summer of … As a result, if you are a teacher or an administrator, it is crucial that you address religious bullying and prevent it from occurring within your school. What’s Law Got To Do With It? "This is neither fair nor accurate," the authors continue. Then highlight how each of those students adds something valuable and unique to the classroom. Are classrooms arranged to mitigate the effects of social class on academic achievement? I believe that societies, schools, and organizations have to adapt to religious as much as the … Another difference comes in the fact that girls are more often praised for good behavior, whereas boys are criticized more for bad behavior in the classroom. Every effort should be made to obtain accurate information about different religions. Study 3. Challenging students to consider different perspectives can also teach them how to interact with their peers on a social level, and equip them with skills they’ll use for the rest of their life. Tanenbaum and Teaching Tolerance created a series of webinars about the importance of including religious diversity in classroom content. Inclusion of study about religion is important in order for students to be properly educated about his-tory and cultures. Is there a difference between accommodating, tolerating, and encouraging religious differences? 2003), this blurring of boundaries enables the exclusion of minority religions by majority religious groups. It improves academic outcomes They seem to believe that the notion of “Separation of Church and State” means we should avoid discussion of religion entirely. In an adaptive classroom, the teacher doesn’t convey the same content to all students; instead, students may be working on different tasks at the same time. Furthermore, teachers must responsibly discuss religious life and current shifts in religious practices in conjunction with addressing sexuality related concerns. Further, teachers can remember that the Establishment Clause, though it places some limits on teacher practice, places almost none on students. Permalink. A great lesson could include choosing a few different students who represent such diversity (if they’re open to it – don’t put them on the spot!). As the Supreme Court has made clear, study about religion in public schools is constitutional. If you want this website to work, you must enable javascript. In an increasingly pluralistic United States, religious difference provides cause for conflict, understanding and controversy. To some, religion and the classroom are a toxic mix to be avoided at all cost. In fact, many speculate that religious bullying and hate are more prominent now than ever. Thus, allowing students a space to discuss their own beliefs is not just legal but, considering nearly all research on adolescent development, advisable. For example, we’ve written about religious … Diversity in the classroom may encompass age, learning styles, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and ethnic background. First, it is imperative to establish a safe environment … .” that help students to engage with each other productively. While most areas in the history curriculum invite debate and argument (“Was the New Deal an appropriate response to the Great Depression?” for example), religious teaching becomes the realm of the closed question, with one right answer and no debate (“What are the five pillars of Islam?”). Complicating discussion of sexuality within a religion or theological classroom are silences and taboos about the topic that contrast sharply with public debate about religion and sexuality in US media and politics. To have these discussions, a teacher must prepare their students. Although educating students is the main goal of the school, teachers may have different variations on how to accomplish that goal. While there is an obligation for even these students to learn what is being taught … Protocols such as the “Accountable Talk” guide used in my school can help kids find the words to have hard conversations. Very little research has investigated bullying based on religious differences. helps educators build a deeper understanding of the legal parameters relevant to including religion in the classroom. No student should be made to feel that his or her personal beliefs or practices are being questioned, infringed upon or compromised. consensus on teaching about religion in public schools: 1. That may sound complicated, but Fostering a Culture of Respect offers suggestions on how to do just that. Religion in the Classroom: How to respond when a lesson takes an unexpected turn. Also, as you encourage students to learn about their diverse backgrounds, remember to take the time to highlight what’s offensive and the distinction between cultural celebration and appropriation. Then highlight how each of those students adds something valuable and unique to the classroom. “No religion talk, please,” seemed to be the assumption—apparently even when it comes to addressing bullying. Follow-up blog: Families Have Much to Share. This is one of the many ways in which classroom settings are the perfect place for students to learn invaluable lessons. 2. Most Helpline members tend toward this direction, invoking the good-old “don’t talk about politics, religion, or money” rule that applies to family holiday dinners and often, depending on district policies, the classroom. Diverse schools feature differences in ethnicity, socioeconomic class, religion, reading level, athletic ability, background, gender, personality, and much more. Gender differences also occur in the realm of classroom behavior. Diverse schools feature differences in ethnicity, socioeconomic class, religion, reading level, athletic ability, background, gender, personality, and much more. Low-achieving students will receive … As a teacher of Global History and U.S. Government to public high school students, religion is an explicit part of my curriculum. Acknowledging these differences and creating a safe space for discussion helps promote understanding in the classroom and beyond. Some may be working independently, while others are engaged in learning with their peers, and still others are being introduced to new subject matter by the teacher. These … To some, religion and the classroom are a toxic mix to be avoided at all cost. Thus, students can gain a deeper understanding of a religion by analyzing primary sources and personal stories in which religion plays a role. While this may seem like this difference would benefit female students, this trend actually places a greater emphasis on compliance as being essential to their academic success rather than simply learning and demonstrating knowledge. Help your students learn to respect individual differences in the classroom by celebrating … Applications for Elementary Educators offers recommendations on how to teach about religion and religious differences through critical literacy strategies and developmentally appropriate lesson plans and classroom activities—all while promoting empathy and respectful curiosity among students. Controversy in the Classroom Religion in History and Social Studies . In a research paper that went to press at the very end of 2016 (2), Sébastien Goudeau and Jean-Claude Croizet begin to address these questions. Acknowledging these differences and creating a safe space for discussion helps promote understanding in the classroom and beyond. It can be challenging because teachers do have their work cut out for them; however, working with these students is absolutely worth it and completely rewarding. We suggest considering both preventive and responsive approaches to dealing with parental concerns. The most obvious and simple is to teach religious topics in as open a format as one teaches other topics. Teacher Katie M. says she responds to all questions in this vein with the same phrase: “As a teacher, I can’t share my political or religious views. Discussion of religion in the classroom may alienate those students who are being raised with no religious faith. There’s a lot of misinformation about what teachers are allowed to do when it comes to discussing religion in public school. Yet misconceptions and misinformation can quickly become the norm if educators do not address differences within a classroom. Challenging students to consider different perspectives can also teach them how to interact with their peers on a social level, and equip them with skills they’ll use for the rest of their life. Learn ways to create and modify lessons plans so they address religious diversity and be prepared to facilitate classroom discussions about religious diversity and beliefs. A transcription for this webinar can be found here. You may even end up with classroom conflict because your students have misunderstood each other through the common barrier of the English language. And as always, teachers must use their discretion to determine when it is worth some level of student discomfort to push forward an academic conversation and when that conversation carries the risk of damaging classroom culture and student comfort beyond simple repair. Different backgrounds, cultures, and religions are interwoven into the average American class. Turn what's often called "a tough age" into an age of opportunity by actively promoting respect for differences, including religious differences. The five-part series and accompanying resources (described in detail below) examine how awareness of religious diversity affects global citizenship, and how teaching about religion across grade levels and subject areas can help meet academic standards. As a teacher of Global History and U.S. Government to public high school students, religion is an explicit part of my curriculum. For this reason, another subculture in the school is the classroom where one teacher’s preferences may not be shared by his/her colleagues. The specific requirements or preferences of your reviewing publisher, classroom teacher, institution or organization should be applied. Younger voices, however, are less focused on. 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