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What Do Teachers Need to Know About Religion? Describing Pedagogical Content Knowledge About Religion

Sat, April 18, 10:35am to 12:05pm, Virtual Room


Increased teacher education and knowledge about religion are critical for improving the understanding and treatment of religion in U.S. public schools. Drawing on Shulman’s (1987) concept of pedagogical content knowledge, this paper introduces a framework to describe the domains of knowledge about religion necessary for teachers to confidently respond to religion in the curriculum and to religious diversity in the classroom. The five domains—legal and civic literacy; religious studies knowledge; instructional approaches; cultural competency and responsiveness; and self-reflection—are applied to the analysis of a mixed-methods study of professional development courses about religious diversity for K-12 educators. The study revealed that learning about religions across these domains was valuable for teachers in all content areas and grade levels.