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Teachers' Perceptions of Religious Literacy in the Development of Civic Participation

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of teachers of religion courses who use the study of religion to prepare students for the pluralistic society awaiting them. The primary questions addressed in this study focused on perceptions of religious studies teachers regarding their definition of religious literacy, the content of a religiously literate person, the civic consequences of an education that ignores religious literacy, and how religious literacy might inculcate civic values. The participants of this study included five purposefully selected religious studies teachers from five different school types (i.e., Christian, Islamic, Jewish, nonsectarian, public). These participants were purposefully selected because their cases were information-rich' and illuminative; that is, they offered useful manifestations of the phenomenon of interest; sampling, then, is aimed at insight about the phenomenon, not empirical generalizations from a sample to a population. A qualitative case study method was employed to investigate four research questions: (1) How do religious studies teachers define religious literacy? (2) Why is religious literacy a necessary element in a students' secondary education? (3) What are the civic consequences of a society without religious literacy? and (4) How can religious studies inculcate civic values?
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Keywords: citizenship education; civic education; critical thinking; curriculum design; discourse; religious literacy; secondary school curriculum; social studies curriculum; values education

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2020

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  • World Studies in Education is a bi-annual, refereed, international journal offering a global overview of significant international and comparative education research. Its focus is on educational reforms and policy affecting institutions in the global economy.
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