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Secondary teacher candidates’ experiences teaching about religion within a history curriculum

Sarah B. Brooks (Millersville University of Pennsylvania, Millersville, Pennsylvania, USA)

Social Studies Research and Practice

ISSN: 1933-5415

Article publication date: 13 August 2019

Issue publication date: 20 September 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

The National Council for the Social Studies (2014, 2017) has called for increased attention to religion in social studies curriculum. A small but growing body of research has examined the preparation of social studies teacher candidates to teach about world religions, but critical questions remain. The purpose of this paper is to explore the question: what is the experience of the secondary social studies teacher candidate as he/she teaches about religion in a high school, world history course?

Design/methodology/approach

This study employed a phenomenological approach to examine the experiences of six teacher candidates as they endeavored to teach about world religions through a two-semester, intensive internship.

Findings

Findings, drawn from individual interviews with the candidates, suggest that their efforts to teach about religion were marked by fears, worries and concerns. Additionally, candidates understood their personal religious identities and experiences as significant influences on their experience teaching about religion. Finally, candidates experienced several features of their internship as key supports in their efforts to teach about religion.

Originality/value

This paper concludes with a series of recommendations for strengthening the preparation of social studies teacher candidates to teach about religion in public school settings.

Keywords

Citation

Brooks, S.B. (2019), "Secondary teacher candidates’ experiences teaching about religion within a history curriculum", Social Studies Research and Practice, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 180-191. https://doi.org/10.1108/SSRP-05-2019-0032

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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