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how to address differences in religion in the classroom

Although educating students is the main goal of the school, teachers may have different variations on how to accomplish that goal. Yet misconceptions and misinformation can quickly become the norm if educators do not address differences within a classroom. Or, are they further widening the gap? Special training may be required to prepare teachers to discuss religion in an appropriate manner. Every effort should be made to obtain accurate information about different religions. 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. “No religion talk, please,” seemed to be the assumption—apparently even when it comes to addressing bullying. Peyton and Jalongo (2008) suggest that in order to encourage respect for different faiths, teachers need to ) familiarize students with others’ beliefs, (a Diversity in the classroom may encompass age, learning styles, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and ethnic background. Copy this URL to link to this … As a teacher of Global History and U.S. Government to public high school students, religion is an explicit part of my curriculum. Controversy in the Classroom Religion in History and Social Studies . Before we can effectively support and celebrate the cultures of others, we need to recognize and evaluate our own cultural expectations. While there is an obligation for even these students to learn what is being taught … It is obvious that schools cannot teach all languages to all pupils, even in primary schools, but there are pedagogical approaches that allow the different languages present in a classroom to be taken into account. Diverse schools feature differences in ethnicity, socioeconomic class, religion, reading level, athletic ability, background, gender, personality, and much more. As a teacher of Global History and U.S. Government to public high school students, religion is an explicit part of my curriculum. I was shocked by the two hundred teachers nodding along as if this comment itself were so obviously factual. By Jen Johnson: [email protected] 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 … advantage in the classroom. To some, religion and the classroom are a toxic mix to be avoided at all cost. Giving Students a Choice in Matters of Faith. A student should never feel ostracized on the basis of his or her religious beliefs. What a boring world it would be if everyone were the same. 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. This is a particularly rich historical moment in the life of the American religious landscape and the varied sociocultural responses to sexuality. What’s Law Got To Do With It? 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?”). The topic was bullying—how to spot it, prevent it, and deal with it. You CAN Teach About Religion in Public School! 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. In an increasingly pluralistic United States, religious difference provides cause for conflict, understanding and controversy. Very little research has investigated bullying based on religious differences. Whatever the reason, you can overcome cultural clashes if you remain calm and address the situation in a sensitive and careful manner. The good news is that clear guidelines offer appropriate practices for public-school educators. Public school teachers have the power to tear down these walls and to use religious topics to help us better understand ourselves and each other. If religion is discussed, great care must … A project of the Southern Poverty Law Center ©1991-2020. by EqualiTeach | Published 7th August 2018. Follow-up blogs: A four-part series that responds to participants' questions and comments. Any discussion of religion in the classroom should be sensitive to the beliefs of the different students in the class. It improves academic outcomes Special training may be required to prepare teachers to discuss religion in an appropriate manner. Thus, students can gain a deeper understanding of a religion by analyzing primary sources and personal stories in which religion plays a role. I would like to offer the following advice from my experience as a classroom teacher: 1. While I was attending a professional development workshop for nearly two-hundred teachers several weeks ago, a particularly confusing comment caught my attention. Different backgrounds, cultures, and religions are interwoven into the average American class. All fields are required. Feb 13, 2017. . How to Proceed. To have these discussions, a teacher must prepare their students. Interviews were conducted over the summer of … When a class is told to memorize three central Hindu gods, what place is there for a Hindu student whose local temple actually worships many more or different deities? Promoting equity in the classroom can range from including students with physical and mental disabilities, teaching students with various learning capabilities through differentiated instruction, and addressing gender and cultural differences. , The Courts and the Definition of Religion: Preserving the Status Quo Through Exclusion, in Defining Religion: Investigating the Boundaries Between the Sacred and Secular 203, 210 (Greil, Arthur L. & Bromley, David G. Understanding Culture in the Classroom. A transcription for this webinar can be found here. 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. Yet misconceptions and misinformation can quickly become the norm if educators do not address differences within a classroom. Permalink. Students are told to memorize these, not to discuss their validity or question their effect on societies. Each webinar will offer a variety of helpful tools and an after-session resource … 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. Have a Chat . Teachers tend to praise girls for “good” behavior, regardless of its relevance to content or to the lesson at hand, and tend to criticize boys for “bad” or inappropriate behavior (Golombok & Fivush, 1994). For example, we’ve written … Physically, boys tend to be more active than girls, and by the same token more restless if they have to sit for long periods. 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. Strong EdD programs teach educators to value the unique aspects of what makes each student different, and helps them embrace those differences in the classroom. This new pupil was presented with ethnic differences (skin colour, geographical origin, language, parent’s religion). Follow-up blog: Agree to (Respectfully) Disagree. For this reason, another subculture in the school is the classroom where one teacher’s preferences may not be shared by his/her colleagues. 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. 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. These … He graduated from Amherst College in 2009 and has completed the Teacher Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. High school students will soon enter a wider world where they will engage with individuals from vastly different religious and cultural backgrounds. Thus, highlighting different starting points during a task leads to lower ability students to perform even worse. That may sound complicated, but Fostering a Culture of Respect offers suggestions on how to do just that. Become a fan of First Things on Facebook, subscribe to First Things via RSS, and follow First Things on Twitter. Within the assumptions students bring to the classroom, I have come to see embedded opportunities for cultivating a deeper understanding of “difference.” I hope that this understanding will enable my students to live responsibly in a world of multiple perspectives. I believe that societies, schools, and organizations have to adapt to religious as much as the … How to Address Religious Bullying at School . 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. Low-achieving students will receive … “No religion talk, please,” seemed to be the assumption—apparently even when it comes to addressing bullying. Print; E-mail. 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. I would like to offer the following advice from my experience as a classroom teacher: 1. Furthermore, teachers must responsibly discuss religious life and current shifts in religious practices in conjunction with addressing sexuality related concerns. After-session pack: A PDF with activities and lessons. Enter recipient e-mail address(es): Separate up to five addresses with commas (,) Enter your name: Subject: E-mail Message: Cancel. For this reason, another subculture in the school is the classroom where one teacher’s preferences may not be shared by his/her colleagues. Look to Modesto, California’s, required world religions course for high school students as a model on how to teach students to talk about religion in the 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. Are classrooms arranged to mitigate the effects of social class on academic achievement? Thus, allowing students a space to discuss their own beliefs is not just legal but, considering nearly all research on adolescent development, advisable. Inclusion of study about religion is important in order for students to be properly educated about his-tory and cultures. This webinar, designed for high school educators of all subjects, offers practical suggestions for teaching about religious diversity in ways that reduce prejudice, promote mutual respect and help students prepare for college and career. Supporting Learner Differences in the Classroom . Study 3. Although educating students is the main goal of the school, teachers may have different variations on how to accomplish that goal. The key to better teaching about religion is raising the level of scholarship in curriculum and instructional resources available to the K-12 classroom. On the other hand, 36 percent would like to see a merging of cultures. Diversity recognizes the differences between people and includes different factors, such as religion, political orientation, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, language, socio-economic status, and family structure. Teach your classroom what diversity means and how it is manifested in their own classroom. As the Supreme Court has made clear, study about religion in public schools is constitutional. Acknowledging these differences and creating a safe space for discussion helps promote understanding in the classroom and beyond. Nevertheless, when bullying based on religion occurs in a severe, pervasive or persistent manner, it can be considered harassment und… Religious Differences in the Classroom. Diverse schools feature differences in ethnicity, socioeconomic class, religion, reading level, athletic ability, background, gender, personality, and much more. helps educators build a deeper understanding of the legal parameters relevant to including religion in the classroom. 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). This is not only a misreading of the law, it warps educational practice. Educators should give particular consideration to three key complex realities about religion as they seek to prepare global-ready citizens. But the truth is it’s both legal and important to teach about religion and the diversity of religious and nonreligious worldviews. With the increase in cultural diversity, we also see a rise in religious diversity, the Equality can deal with gender or race issues and, while it can be uncomfortable to address, teachers must promote equality in the classroom … In my opinion, teachers can be proactive in the process of talking about race and ethnicity in the classroom. Understanding Culture in the Classroom. 2003), this blurring of boundaries enables the exclusion of minority religions by majority religious groups. Within any given classroom at any particular grade level, a teacher will understand that their students come from diverse backgrounds and … Blog. The results inform us on the ability to accept the Other. Pluralists like Diana Eck demonstrate that dialogue with religious “others” can not only enhance spiritual self-awareness, but also generate the collective wisdom needed to address global problems, from poverty and racism, to HIV/AIDS and hunger, to war and environmental destruction (2003). The impact of this is deeply felt. 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. Very little research has investigated bullying based on religious differences. In my opinion, teachers can be proactive in the process of talking about race and ethnicity in the classroom. Discussing Diverse Religions in the Classroom Religion can be a complex and even contentious issue and therefore needs to be approached carefully in the classroom. After all, we have separation of Church and state in our schools.”. They are also more prone than girls to rely on physical aggression if they are frustrated (Espelage & Swearer, 2004). In fact, many speculate that religious bullying and hate are more prominent now than ever. Religious bullying is a growing issue in the United States. The government or public action in question must not involve itself excessively with religion. This is part of why I am surprised at the “folk understandings” teachers have about religion. It is of note that this task helps European-American students realize that their beliefs and traditions constitute a culture as well, which is a necessary breakthrough in the development of a truly culturally responsive classroom. Religion is an intrinsic element of our cultural mind-sets that implicitly impacts how we communicate, not only at work but also in the classroom. Analyze and celebrate differences in traditions, beliefs, and social behaviors. 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