Lessons learned from teaching teachers how to teach about world religions.

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching, and Educational Research

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Journal Article


School of Education, Leadership, and Public Service


This quasi-experimental comparative case study compared 22 elementary pre-service teachers’ (PSTs’) 7th-grade lessons on world religions to the lessons developed and taught by a cohort of 26 PSTs. The PSTs from Cohort 1 received no instruction or course readings related to teaching about world religions; whereas, the PSTs from Cohort 2 were assigned six articles to read and spent one hour of in-class time learning about teaching world religions. Lesson plans, teaching observations, focus group interviews, and reflection journals served as data sources, which were coded for core themes. Classical content analysis was used to tabulate incidents of PST behaviors related to the core themes. PSTs from Cohort 1 exhibited greater lack of knowledge and awareness of world religious, used biased language, lacked solemnity and sensitivity, made more assumptions and generalizations, and even exhibited outright promotion of Christianity. This study suggests that elementary social studies teacher educators, by spending only an hour of methods class time on the topic, can help their PSTs to avoid common missteps in their teaching about world religions.

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