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Resources for Teachers

Teachers' Guides to Religion in Public Schools

The first two links on this page are to downloadable teachers' guides prepared by the American Academy of Religion and the First Amendment Center.  They are intended, above all, for teachers in U.S. public schools, but they offer invaluable guidance for all K-12 teachers -- at public, private, or parochial schools. One may disagree with specific points in these guides, but they are essential starting-points for any K-12 teacher working to enrich their teaching on religious diversity.  If you have time for just one or two of the resources available on our site, we strongly suggest you start with these.

The third link is to a set of resources assembled by the Society of Biblical Literature, to help teachers in public and private schools develop courses in biblical literature and history.  The Hebrew Bible and Christian Scriptures are essential texts for any understanding of American religious life, and the SBL resources will help you teach these texts in constitutionally sound, pedagogically appropriate ways.

The fourth link is to the religious studies companion document to the National Council for the Social Studies' influential C3 framework for state social studies standards.  The document includes essential guidelines for teaching about religion in the social studies classroom, as well as clear standards for sceondary students' understanding of the role of religion in social life.



The American Academy of Religion's Guidelines for Teaching about Religion in K-12 Public Schools in the United States

This practical guide for K-12 teachers was prepared by the leading scholarly association for the academic study of religion.  It introduces a range of approaches to teaching about religion, including historical, literary, traditions-based, and cultural studies.  Above all, it encourages all teachers to convey three central premises of academic religious studies: religions are internally diverse, historically dynamic, and embedded in sociocultural systems.  These core principles will help teachers develop academically and constitutionally sound approaches for teaching about religion in K-12 public and private schools.


The First Amendment Center’s Teacher’s Guide to Religion in the Public Schools

Millions of parents from diverse religious backgrounds entrust the education of their children to our nation’s public schools.  For this reason, teachers need to be fully informed about the constitutional and educational principles governing the role of religion in public schools.  This concise guide offers teachers a vision of religious liberty in public education based on First Amendment principles.  The First Amendment Center (and its successor organization the Religious Freedom Center) has been a leading voice on these issues since 1994.  Its teachers guide is essential reading for all American public school teachers.



The Society of Biblical Literature's Bible in Secondary Schools Project

This page of resources for teaching the Bible in public secondary schools has been assembled by the Society of Biblical Literature, the leading scholarly association for academic biblical studies.  It includes links to scholarly articles on biblical studies, curriculum guidelines and state standards for teaching the Bible in public schools, current and back issues of the SBL's Teaching the Bible newsletter, and a number of additional resources developed by the Bible Literacy Project, a non-partisan initiative to encourage the academic study of the Bible in public schools.


The National Council for the Social Studies Religious Studies Companion Document for the C3 Framework

This document reaffirms the longstanding position of the NCSS that study about religions should be an essential part of the social studies curriculum, in ways that are constitutionally and academically sound. It emphasizes that knowledge about religions is not only a characteristic of an educated person, but is necessary for effective citizenship in a diverse nation and interconnected world. It recommends that state departments of education work to ensure inclusion of study about religions in all social studies programs.  Also click here for more information about the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards, and the full text of the C3 framework.