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Teaching about Religion in the Social Studies Classroom


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Teaching about Religion in the Social Studies Classroom

NCSS Bulletin 117. 248 pp., 2019.

Edited by Charles C. Haynes

The study of religion is essential for understanding the past and present, and critical for global citizenship in a religiously diverse country and world. This book provides advice, recommendations, and resources to help social studies educators know what to teach about religion and how to do it.

The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that teaching about religion is constitutional in public schools, as long as the approach is academic, not devotional. The contributors to this book offer guidelines for classroom instruction that is both constitutionally and academically sound. They clarify the First Amendment issues that impact teachers and schools, and emphasize that the study of religion in schools is an essential part of a good education.

The authors explore the diversity of religious traditions and suggest ways of teaching about them objectively, especially through creative pedagogies that engage students actively and offer them a more profound understanding of these traditions than many textbooks provide. This invaluable book will help teachers promote knowledge and understanding in the place of stereotypes as they advance religious literacy among their students.

Charles Haynes, the editor of this book, is founding director of the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute in Washington, D.C. Over the past three decades, he has been the principal organizer and drafter of consensus guidelines on religion and values in public schools, endorsed by a broad range of religious, civil liberties, and educational organizations. He is the author or co-author of six books, including Finding Common Ground: A First Amendment Guide to Religion and Public Schools.