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Education should be completely SecularUnless it is a class on religion there is no...

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cuyler | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted May 27, 2012 at 8:16 PM via web

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Education should be completely Secular

Unless it is a class on religion there is no reason for anything religious or religion related in the class room.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 27, 2012 at 9:53 PM (Answer #2)

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I don't agree.  I teach history and I talk about religion all the time.  You can't possibly study the history of a country like the United States without talking about religion.  That goes for the histories of countries in Europe where things like religious wars were so important.  

I agree that people shouldn't be taught to believe in a religion, but it is impossible to teach various subjects without talking about religion.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 27, 2012 at 10:31 PM (Answer #3)

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I agree with #2 above in that the religious belief of a people is important in gaining a complete understanding of that culture and their actions.  With that being said, it shouldn't be used to influence students in a public setting.

Kristen Lentz

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cuyler | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted May 28, 2012 at 6:07 AM (Answer #4)

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Sorry I do apologise I phased my statement wrong. I agree with what you are saying i know that certain subjects must incorporate religion to understand the teaching, what I was trying to put across is that is should not be used to influence a student, for example the singing of a religious hymn, yes the students can choose not to participate but it is still not fair on that student.  

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted May 28, 2012 at 7:01 AM (Answer #5)

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As an English teacher, I find that religious texts and an understanding of a variety of faiths is an asset to study. That said, now you have clarified your question, I agree that influencing students to favour any particular faith is not ethical.

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cuyler | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted May 28, 2012 at 12:40 PM (Answer #6)

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Sorry I do apologise I phased my statement wrong. I agree with what you are saying i know that certain subjects must incorporate religion to understand the teaching, what I was trying to put across is that is should not be used to influence a student, for example the singing of a religious hymn, yes the students can choose not to participate but it is still not fair on that student.  

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 28, 2012 at 2:28 PM (Answer #7)

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So cuyler, your argument is that advocacy for any particular religion is inappropriate in the classroom and the practice or presentation of religious rites, performance of religious music (for religious purposes) and things like that are also inappropriate. 

This is much easier to agree with than your initial argument, which you have amended. 

There is always going to be some grey area as to what constitutes religious advocacy, but beyond that I agree that if the school is a secular school the educational experience for students should be free of religious persuasion (which is not to say that religion won't be discussed in context, but that it will not be advocated in the classroom). 

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 28, 2012 at 4:08 PM (Answer #8)

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The restated basis of this discussion reflects the reasoning behind the separation of church and state, as included in the Bill of Rights - the first of the ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States. The Founding Fathers were so concerned about insuring that there was no development of a state religion that some individuals, and some states, ratified the Constitution only after it was agreed that a set of amendments would be promptly submitted for addition to the document, setting out specific concerns and procedures to absolutely guarantee individual rights.

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted May 28, 2012 at 6:26 PM (Answer #9)

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I agree that the public school classroom is not the place to sway students toward one religion or another.  As an English teacher, my classes learned about many different religions.  I tried to keep the topic relevant to literature and culture.  It is important to know about many religions to have a well rounded understanding of our world, but teachers should not show bias toward one religion over another.  I we have to be careful with activities that can be uncomfortable to some students, such as your example of singing a hymn.  I did sometimes show video or ask students to listen to religious activities (such as monks chanting) just for the experience of it, but I would never ask them to participate in a religious activity during class. 

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ammoorah123 | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:23 PM (Answer #10)

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sometimes it is good to discuss religion in class....many people have misconceptions about other religions and it is good to clear the air however one must not go into too much detail regarding it......however if someone wants to know more about the religion allow the discussion to take place.

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted May 31, 2012 at 11:14 AM (Answer #11)

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So far, we seem to be pretty much agreed that the secular discussion of religion in school is OK (it's history, art, writings, beliefs etc) but the promotion of religion as truth (or falsity is not.

:-) Which is exactly what the law says. 

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etotheeyepi | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted June 26, 2012 at 10:11 PM (Answer #12)

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I went to a pubic school for most of my schooling.  The history teachers taught a lot about Islam, Buddhism, the Hindu religion, Judaism, and Chinese Buddhism in the 7th and 10th grade. The 12th grade lit class included Omar Khayyam, Dante, and other nonsecular stories. The 11th grade lit and history classes included information about American religions. The biology class included the fact that pretwentieth-century biologists were creationists. The students in my class represented all the major religions from every continent, including Yorubans. We had a campus Christian Club. I was never a member because I was always too busy, but I was a member of a Best Buddies Club. One of my Best Buddies was a member of the Christian Club, so I attended some flag-pole prayer meetings.

I don't think I learned any of it in depth. For example, no one warned us to not draw a picture of Muhammad or sit with crossed legs in front of a Buddhist, both of which may result in Hamlet-like (Hamletonian?) criminal behavior.

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