Article Title

The ignored religious other: Atheist/Agnostic pre-service teachers

Journal Title/Source

Journal of Educational and Social Research

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Document Type

Journal Article


School of Education, Leadership, and Public Service


The purpose of this case study was to investigate how four American Atheist/Agnostic (A/A) elementary pre-service teachers (PSTs) planned, taught, and reflected on a world religions field experience with 7th-grade students, as well as to examine the role self- and professional-identity. Data sources included at least three interviews with each participant, lesson observations, and document analysis of their lesson plans and reflection journals. All four of the PSTs experienced discrimination and exclusion during childhood because of their lack of religiosity. The A/A PSTs desire to teach in a manner that promotes critical thinking and student interpretation of historical events, yet they are indifferent about ubiquity of religion in schools and are nervous about offending students and parents. A/A teachers are likely to feel isolated and marginalized, which are key factors in teachers leaving the profession.