Any discussion of religion in the classroom should be sensitive to the beliefs of the different students in the class. In my opinion, teachers can be proactive in the process of talking about race and ethnicity in the classroom. Low-achieving students will receive … The teacher is tasked with encouraging and maintaining that diversity. While I was attending a professional development workshop for nearly two-hundred teachers several weeks ago, a particularly confusing comment caught my attention. 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. Students are told to memorize these, not to discuss their validity or question their effect on societies. 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. 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. Thus, allowing students a space to discuss their own beliefs is not just legal but, considering nearly all research on adolescent development, advisable. A modern Muslim in Saudi Arabia likely experiences Islam in a far different way than one in Indonesia, a fact that students miss when they are simply memorizing the “Five Pillars.”. A transcription for this webinar can be found here. 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. Each webinar will offer a variety of helpful tools and an after … Follow-up blog: Families Have Much to Share. Copy this URL to link to this … What Does the First Amendment Say About Displaying Religious Symbols? Permalink. Other differences can be a challenge to the individual (the “disadvantaged” or “differently abled” student), especially in situations that highlight the challenge because of the emphasis on certain information-processing strategies. When children’s and families’ practices “clash” with our own, it can lead to misunderstandings and assumptions. advantage in the classroom. In your classroom, you should address the differences in religion like you would in addressing any other topic - rationally and with an open mind. 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. High school students will soon enter a wider world where they will engage with individuals from vastly different religious and cultural backgrounds. Interviews were conducted over the summer of … Understanding Culture in the Classroom. 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. Further, teachers can remember that the Establishment Clause, though it places some limits on teacher practice, places almost none on students. Furthermore, teachers must responsibly discuss religious life and current shifts in religious practices in conjunction with addressing sexuality related concerns. Very little research has investigated bullying based on religious differences. Confronting Students’ Assumptions. Controversy in the Classroom Religion in History and Social Studies . If you don't have an account, Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding. This project aimed to answer the question: how is religious diversity accommodated for and addressed in the American public elementary school classroom? Different backgrounds, cultures, and religions are interwoven into the average American class. In one example, the bullying was based on religion. Special training may be required to prepare teachers to discuss religion in an appropriate manner. 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!). 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. Enter recipient e-mail address(es): Separate up to five addresses with commas (,) Enter your name: Subject: E-mail Message: Cancel. Frequent open discussions of hard issues can help acclimate students to these talks before controversial conversations on religion arise. 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. 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. “No religion talk, please,” seemed to be the assumption—apparently even when it comes to addressing bullying. 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. You may even end up with classroom conflict because your students have misunderstood each other through the common barrier of the English language. The most obvious and simple is to teach religious topics in as open a format as one teaches other topics. Not only is discussing religion in public schools allowed, it is actually mandated by my curriculum. I would like to offer the following advice from my experience as a classroom teacher: 1. The topic was bullying—how to spot it, prevent it, and deal with it. The specific requirements or preferences of your reviewing publisher, classroom teacher, institution or organization should be applied. Diversity in the classroom teaches students to appreciate different perspectives and draw stronger conclusions. This is not only a misreading of the law, it warps educational practice. 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. To have these discussions, a teacher must prepare their students. Both tendencies are inconsistent with the usual demands of classroom life, of course, and make it a little more likely that school will be a difficult experience for boys, even for boys who never actually get in trouble for being restless or aggress… 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. 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. Are classrooms arranged to mitigate the effects of social class on academic achievement? Follow-up blog: Agree to (Respectfully) Disagree. These … 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. Religious bullying is a growing issue in the United States. 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. Very little research has investigated bullying based on religious differences. 1. No student should be made to feel that his or her personal beliefs or practices are being questioned, infringed upon or compromised. 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). As a result of immigration, people with different cultures and traditions and greater religious diversity are now living together. Make it a THING; a THING that is important to your classroom culture, a THING that is a building block of your class, and a THING that students are excited about. Share; Permalink. Diverse schools feature differences in ethnicity, socioeconomic class, religion, reading level, athletic ability, background, gender, personality, and much more. 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. Physically, boys tend to be more active than girls, and by the same token more restless if they have to sit for long periods. 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. Learning how to talk about other cultures in a … Gender differences also occur in the realm of classroom behavior. Educators seek to create an inclusive classroom … To continue, log into your Teaching Tolerance account. Further, this can alienate students on a personal level. The impact of this is deeply felt. Are you looking for practical suggestions on how to explore religious diversity with elementary students? Turn what's often called "a tough age" into an age of opportunity by actively promoting respect for differences, including religious differences. It improves academic outcomes Every effort should be made to obtain accurate information about different religions. Feb 13, 2017. The government or public action in question must not involve itself excessively with religion. 3. "Silence about religion also denies students the promise of a good education. Keith C. Barton and Jennifer Hauver James | May 1, 2010. This is a common and realistic concern. The facilitator discussed how to manage such a situation, and then concluded by reminding us all that, “the religious aspect of the bullying should not be something we address head on. 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. 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. 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. Religious Differences in the Classroom. 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. By creating a classroom culture in which religious diversity is respected. This new pupil was presented with ethnic differences (skin colour, geographical origin, language, parent’s religion). “No religion talk, please,” seemed to be the assumption—apparently even when it comes to addressing bullying. Inorder to create a classroom environment that successfully embraces cultural diversity, here are 12 things you should consider. Comments are visible to subscribers only. 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 … Then highlight how each of those students adds something valuable and unique to the classroom. It improves academic outcomes But the truth is it’s both legal and important to teach about religion and the diversity of religious and nonreligious worldviews. There’s a lot of misinformation about what teachers are allowed to do when it comes to discussing religion in public school. Thus, students can gain a deeper understanding of a religion by analyzing primary sources and personal stories in which religion plays a role. If you want this website to work, you must enable javascript. Although educating students is the main goal of the school, teachers may have different variations on how to accomplish that goal. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation. Every effort should be made to obtain accurate information about different religions. With the increase in cultural diversity, we also see a rise in religious diversity, the Too often the notion of “Separation of Church and State” is used to erect unnecessary walls between fellow citizens. I was shocked by the two hundred teachers nodding along as if this comment itself were so obviously factual. In fact, many speculate that religious bullying and hate are more prominent now than ever. Religions, in this closed discussion, become fact-bundles. Analyze and celebrate differences in traditions, beliefs, and social behaviors. The key to better teaching about religion is raising the level of scholarship in curriculum and instructional resources available to the K-12 classroom. How to Address Religious Bullying at School . 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 … Religion in the Classroom: How to respond when a lesson takes an unexpected turn. 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. How do you help students of all religions—or no religion—feel safe, supported and accepted? Follow-up blogs: A three-part series that responds to participants' questions and comments. Classroom Management – Becoming A Better Leader For Learning. eds., Elsevier Sci. I am not arguing for advocating religion in public schools. 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. 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? This is one of the many ways in which classroom settings are the perfect place for students to learn invaluable lessons. Religion must be taught objectively and neutrally. The good news is that clear guidelines offer appropriate practices for public-school educators. Tanenbaum and Teaching Tolerance created a series of webinars about the importance of including religious diversity in classroom content. Diversity in the classroom may encompass age, learning styles, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and ethnic background. 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. 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. For this reason, another subculture in the school is the classroom where one teacher’s preferences may not be shared by his/her colleagues. What’s Law Got To Do With It? Get students to prepare an activity or presentation that helps others understand their culture or religion, and how it is similar and different than other students. Applications for High School Educators can help you get them ready! Have a Chat . Nevertheless, when bullying based on religion occurs in a severe, pervasive or persistent manner, it can be considered harassment und… What a boring world it would be if everyone were the same. Teach your classroom what diversity means and how it is manifested in their own classroom. Before we can effectively support and celebrate the cultures of others, we need to recognize and evaluate our own cultural expectations. 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. I am, however, a believer in good teaching and in giving students the tools and opportunities to think deeply about important questions. 2. Peyton and Jalongo (2008) suggest that in order to encourage respect for different faiths, teachers need to ) familiarize students with others’ beliefs, (a 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. "This is neither fair nor accurate," the authors continue. Finally, studying religion with as much depth as issues such as race, class, and gender allows students to glimpse its complexity. Blog. 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