Date of Award

12-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Bailey, Beatrice N

Committee Member

Rosenblith , Suzanne

Committee Member

Green , Robert

Committee Member

Anderson , Paul

Abstract

This study used content analysis of selected documents representing the three dimensions of the field of English Education (curriculum, teacher preparation and development, and research) to ascertain how the field was responding to the larger societal problem that religious intolerance and ignorance pose, especially given the growing religious diversity of American society. Data from the documents were classified into four categories derived from various proposals for the incorporation of religious issues into the public school curriculum: religious literacy, religious concerns related to personal development, religious aspects of multiculturalism, and religious issues related to improved civic engagement.
The documents related to curriculum analyzed in this study included national standards, state standards, policy/position statements, and American literature textbooks. Documents related to teacher preparation and developed included English methods textbooks, curricular requirements of English teacher preparation programs, blog posts, and blog comments. The research dimension was represented by journal articles.
Data from the documents suggest that religious content is a part of the curriculum, but that, generally speaking, English teacher preparation programs do not well prepare teachers to handle religious issues. Where religious issues are raised, documents are most congruent with the aim of religious literacy. Multiculturalism is a concern of the field; however, religious aspects of multiculturalism are most often implied rather than explicitly stated. Personal development is a minor theme in the documents studied while the civic engagement approach was nearly invisible. This study has implications for a variety of constituencies, but in particular English teachers and English teacher educators. The results suggests that English teachers should be aware of the potential problems religious issues in the curriculum can raise. The work concludes with a number of possible options teacher educators can pursue to address this societal issue.

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