Students' perceptions of religion in the public school classroom
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Recently, teachers and administrators have found it difficult to address issues concerned with religious beliefs and practices for fear of offending either students or the community. As a result, whatever is deemed religious in nature is rarely discussed or practiced in school classrooms. In earlier decades, teachers generally had little difficulty relating to students on a religious level because the majority, both teachers and students in this city were from a predominantly Christian orientation. As the demographics of the population of Saskatchewan changed because of immigration and the waning of religious beliefs, public schools also had to change to reflect the beliefs of the population and become more inclusive. This research, employing narratives, is based on Grounded Theory and explored students’ experiences with religious content and issues as they attended public high schools. Students were asked what their experiences were and if their experiences and beliefs about religion affected their subsequent education, and lives. The findings of this study suggest that more sensitivity needs to be given to students’ religious identities in the classroom. Negative comments about religion and religious beliefs made by teachers or students can greatly affect an individual’s school experience. These negative experiences can be addressed by discussing religions and religious beliefs in the classrooms of public high schools. This would lead to a greater understanding of others and then in turn, students of all backgrounds will have an increased feeling of acceptance and a sense of belonging to the schools they attend.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteeKalyn, Brenda; Murphy, Shaun; Renihan, Patrick; Schwier, Richard
Copyright DateApril 2013