Open Access Dissertation
Religion in the public schools--Iowa; Religious education--Iowa;
This study investigated public high school teachers perceptions about religions in the curriculum, and practices of public high school teachers when teaching about religions in public high school classrooms. The study used a modified version of the analytical induction model of qualitative research presented by (Bogdan & Biklen, 1982). Three pre-selected high schools in the state of Iowa were identified by the researcher for study. A common departmental structure was used to identify teachers from across the curriculum as participants in the study. The schools were of three different enrollment sizes. Thirty-four teachers who taught 79 different courses made up the sample.
The data were collected through personal interviews with each of the subjects. This process was developed by the researcher with consultation from previous interview researchers, members of the researchers committee, and contributors to the literature in the field of teaching about religions. The interview instrument had four major sections: perceptions about religions in the curriculum, the explicit curriculum, the implicit curriculum, and teacher suggestions, problems and training.
The data indicated that teachers made a distinction between teaching about religions as an academic study and teaching religion, or indoctrination. The terminology used for teaching about religions was not consistently understood.
The social studies area was perceived by all but one teacher as the one area where teaching about religions was appropriate. Teaching about religions was more present in the language arts and social studies areas. Most teaching about religions was by natural inclusion with few specific units of study or classes strictly devoted to teaching about religions. Teaching about religions was somewhat confined to past history. Current events and issues and the effects of religions were ignored by most teachers. Although a variety of materials and methods were used, no references were made to available materials from professional curriculum sources.
A hesitancy to include teaching about religions based on potential controversy from some parents or specific churches was a concern on the part of many teachers. Teachers suggested that teaching about religions should be added across the curriculum, remain objective and descriptive, and be included in preservice and inservice teacher training.
Year of Submission
Doctor of Education
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
1 PDF file (xvi, 425 pages)
©1990 Douglas W. Sprague
Sprague, Douglas W., "A study of teaching about religions in selected Iowa public high schools" (1990). Dissertations and Theses @ UNI. 846.