ERIC Number: ED456068
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Feb-12
Reference Count: N/A
The Ethics of Teaching about Religion in the Public Schools.
Ackerman, James S.
Teachers have a professional/ethical obligation to teach their subject in as balanced a way as possible so that students will not come away with a biased slant that, in their eyes, has been validated by the school system. The teaching of social studies, especially history, would be impoverished if matters of religious beliefs and influences were omitted by a faulty understanding of the First Amendment. In secondary schools, teaching about religion will require the most work, and have the greatest impact, in the social studies curriculum. This paper warns teachers against gross generalizations of religions and the joining of religion to values groups. The teacher should engage in sufficient study to get comfortable with any religious tradition or belief, whether or not he/she agrees with it. Some ways to integrate teaching about religion into courses are to: take advantage of continuing education courses to learn more about the world's religions; encourage school districts to offer inservice education for all teachers faced with the responsibility of teaching about religion; select a textbook that appropriately addresses the religious influences into the history/culture being studied; and develop a written-out procedure for dealing with complaints. (BT)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Bill of Rights; First Amendment; United States Constitution