Exploring the Role of Religion in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Religious Literacy as a Means and Ends for Civic Competency

Exploring the Role of Religion in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Religious Literacy as a Means and Ends for Civic Competency

Tuesday, October 27, 2020 at 4:15 p.m. [Register here]
Kate Soules, ksoules@religionanded.com,  & David Rhodes,  drhodes@gse.harvard.edu
Two-hour workshop

While there has been increasing attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion in public education, the impact of religion is often invisible or overlooked. Further, the study of religion is inextricably tied to many topics and themes in the social studies and history classroom, and religious diversity is deeply embedded in public life, individual and community identities, and current events. However, many teachers are apprehensive of any discussion of religion.  When teachers lack confidence in how to address religion in the classroom and curriculum, they often avoid the topic altogether for fear of overstepping boundaries or revealing their own lack of knowledge.  This has significant implications for students’ development of essential skills and knowledge which, in turn, impacts their civic engagement.

This workshop will introduce educators to the principles of religious liberty in public schools and key frameworks of religious literacy so that they can support students in the development of the knowledge and skills crucial for engaged citizenship in a religiously plural society.

Unpacking Religious Literacy for Educators

In these times of upheaval, it becomes increasingly important for teachers to understand the roles that religion plays in the lives of students and to develop their own religious literacy. We will examine what the concept of “religious literacy” means, particularly for educators. Once we break down religious literacy into manageable components, participants will explore various resources that can deepen their own knowledge and be adapted for use in the classroom. Ultimately, we will provide a roadmap for continued learning beyond the workshop. Participants will receive a tool to evaluate their own religious literacy and will be encouraged to arrange follow-up consultations with instructors to discuss strategies for ongoing learning and application in their particular contexts.

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