Religion refers to a compilation of beliefs and view that link human beings to spiritual forces. Religious differences amongst students in a classroom are intriguing. There is a wide array of religion in the world with religious practices varying in each division. This is the same case experienced in classroom setups. The teacher is usually faced with the challenge of upholding a pleasant, peaceful and effective studying environment in the multi-religious classroom. Teachers cannot disregard this area, they must identify and attend to religious differences in order to ensure that they converse effectively, so that the desires of all learners are met and misunderstandings evaded. The intent of this paper is to propose ways in which a future teacher can address the differences in religion in the classroom environment.
It is important as a teacher to ensure that all students in the classroom feel safe despite their religious differences and affiliations. There are a number of issues to consider in achieving this objective. First as a future teacher, it will be important to get acquainted with practical religious issues amongst the students in the classroom. This is important in ensuring that all students receive appropriate support from the teacher owing to their religious affiliations, without compromising the needs of other students. In a classroom composed of Muslim students for example, the Muslim students may tire easily during specific periods like the ‘Ramadhan’. This may be as a result of fasting by these students during this time, hence lower blood sugar levels in their bodies. Such students may therefore fail to actively participate in classroom activities unlike other students from other faiths. Also, these students may be required to eat at specific time hence a need for creation of an allowance for the same by the teacher. It is therefore important for the teacher to get versed with the practical religious issues among the students in order to accommodate the needs of various students from the diverse religious sects.
Although the first amendment allows for the teaching of religion as a discipline in classrooms, as a future teacher there is need to be more careful when doing the same. Classroom deliberations regarding religion must be performed in an atmosphere that is free of the teacher’s advocacy. Students from the diverse religious groups should be allowed to express their religious outlooks, as long as these ideas are relevant to the classroom discussion. When discussing religious topics, the teacher should watch against introducing personal religious beliefs in the classroom. This can be done by using attributions during the teaching process. The teacher can for example use phrases like “most Hindus believe..” or “with reference to the Hebrew scriptures.” In this way the teacher avoids directly associating himself to specific religious views and provides a scenario where each individual’s religious views are respected and appreciated in the classroom.
In addressing the religious differences in the classroom also, as a teacher, it is necessary to be very responsive to clothing-related matters. In a classroom composed of students with diverse religious affiliations, the teacher needs to respect the various dressing practices of each religion. Apart from the normal school uniforms for example, Muslim girls in the class may need to cover their heads as required in their religion. As a teacher it is important to take note of such concerns and encourage other students in the classroom to respect the perception of others with regard to clothing. In this way all the students in the classroom will feel safe and appreciated despite their religious differences. They will also freely participate in classroom affairs.