The academic goal in this example would be for students to learn about the significant holidays of different cultural groups in order to broaden and deepen the scope of their knowledgebase. Academic instruction about religion would entail a diversity of non-secular groups being represented in the curriculum and content infused at appropriate times. For example, lessons on Ramadan, Diwali, Bodhi Day, or Passover, in proximity to when they actually occur during the school year, would be included in an appropriate/balanced curriculum in certain grades and subjects.Teacher-candidates learn to act as advocates and defenders of students’ religious freedom. In doing so, they come to recognize the distinction between teaching about religion to educate and teaching of religion to indoctrinate. This position has been argued eloquently by Jeffrey Sinensky et al. (2002) and is a distinction explained in my classes.
* Ilene Allgood,
“Faith and Freedom of Religion in U.S. Public Schools: Issues and Challenges Facing Teachers,”
Religious Education, (2016) 111:3, 270-287,