Teaching About World Religions
The documents listed on this page relate to the constitutional guidelines for teaching about religion in US public school classrooms. These two documents are pdf copies of pamphlets for distribution to teachers, administrators, and parents. The links below are new sites for First Amendment Center school resources and publications, now the Religious Freedom Center Resources for Educators Religious Freedom Center Publications include:
- Harassment, Bullying and Free Expression: Guidelines for Free and Safe Public Schools
- A Parent’s Guide to Religion in the Public Schools
- A First Amendment Guide to Public Schools & Religious Communities
- Religious Holidays in the Public Schools: Questions and Answers
- The Academic Study of Religion Across the Curriculum: A Teaching Framework & Learning Indicators
- A Teacher’s Guide to Religion in the Public Schools
- The Equal Access Act: Questions and Answers
- NEW BOOK: Teaching about Religion in the Social Studies Classroom, edited by Charles C. Haynes, NCSS Bulletin 117, 248 pp., 2019 of which a sample ToC and chapter on teaching about Islam is here https://georgetown.app.box.com/file/616824364713.
The American Academy of Religion (AAR) has published a guide on public education about religions at Guidelines for Teaching About Religion in K–12 Public Schools in the United States (as a PDF), produced by the AAR’s Religion in the Schools Task Force and published in April 2010. The document contains information much like that in the First Amendment Center guidelines, but has much more on teacher education opportunities, approaches from a religious studies perspective, and much more.
The following resources provide comparative information on the major world religions and their public impact in the US, in addition to the last site from the UK:
- Lesson and Readings on Historical Background of the Abrahamic Faiths (as pdf) from the Cities of Light Lesson Set at http://www.islamicspain.tv. Links elsewhere on the site.
- Ackland Art Museum Five Faiths Project, which involves art objects, stories, beliefs and practices, and other features, and is suitable for both elementary and secondary.
- Harvard University Pluralism Project
- PEW Forum on Religion & Public Life – Issues. The PEW Forum has a new resource with interactive maps on global migration of religious groups–both in- and out-migration– entitled Faith on the Move at http://www.pewforum.org/Geography/Religious-Migration-exec.aspx.
- See the set of visual resources Teaching Comparative Religions through Art and Architecture of the ORIAS teacher outreach program at the University of California, Berkeley which includes slide shows on the following topics: The Spread of Buddhism in India and China, Architecture and Sacred Spaces (Shinto), Polytheism in Greece and Rome, Three Monotheistic Religions: A Slide Exercise.
The following articles relate to teaching about religions in state standards, world survey courses, and other contexts.
This article is one of a suite in the same issue of Current Issues in Comparative Education that dealt with Islamic schools:
- “Defining Islamic Education” at the Columbia University journal Contemporary Issues in Comparative Education (CICE), Vol. 7, No. 1, December 15, 2004
This study is about the impact of learning about world religions in a high school elective course:
- Learning about World Religions in Public School: the impact on student attitudes and community acceptance in Modesto, CA (First Amendment Center, 2006 Emile Lester/Patrick S. Roberts (link to download study at Stanford University)