Classroom Self-Check

How well does your "teaching about religion"
avoid the pitfalls of religious indoctrination?

Evaluate yourself on each checklist item. The items apply whatever the
religion-related subject matter.

__ 1. My approach to the teaching of religion at school is

__ 2. My approach informs students about various beliefs

__ 3. My approach is to strive for student
awareness and comprehension

__ 4. My approach to teaching involves students in learning about worldview
traditions and practices

__ 5. My approach exposes students to diversity in religious and
nonreligious views

__ 6. My classroom manner evidences fairness regarding the spectrum of
human worldviews

__ 7. My goal is to educate about the worldviews

__ 8. My classroom’s approach to religion is
not devotional

__ 9. I do not seek to conform students to any particular belief, religious or

__ 10. I never press for student acceptance of any religious or nonreligious
stance or view

__ 11. I don’t let my classroom’s activities reflect the practices of any
religion or belief tradition

__ 12. I don’t let my teaching approach impose or seem to advocate any
particular view

__ 13. I neither encourage nor discourage any religious or nonreligious

__ 14. My methods do not promote or denigrate any of them

Evaluation. Ideal? [14 of 14]

Source [Adaptation]. Many of the checklist items above are adapted from
the public school guidelines published originally by the Public Education
Religion Studies Center at Wright State University (1988). The purpose of
those guidelines was to help educators distinguish between teaching about
religion and religious indoctrination. Whereas the original guidelines
referred to
schools, the focus here is what goes on in the classroom under

[July, 2002]

Teaching About Religion
in support of civic pluralism