Do religious school teachers take their faith to work? Research evidence from the United States, D Sikkink

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Content: Theo-Web. Zeitschrift fьr Religionspдdagogik 9 (2010), H.1, 160-179. Do Religious School Teachers Take Their Faith to Work? Research Evidence from the United States by David Sikkink Abstract This review draws on research on U.S. schools, especially religious schools, to understand the importance of value orientations for teaching practices, and the various ways that values and religious identities and cultures influence the professional lives of teachers. It finds evidence that religious and value orientations influence teachers to sacralize the teaching profession through a sense of religious calling to teaching and the use of classroom space. To a limited extent, these orientations influence pedagogy and curricular emphases. Value orientations seem most clearly to contribute to an ethic of personalism, including an extended teacher role, and a commitment to holistic relationships and the school community. 1. On the importance of researching teacher value orientations The lack of research on the relationship between value orientations of teachers and teacher practices is surprising given the potential impact of teacher value orientations on educational outcomes, such as student effort and academic achievement. One reason to consider value orientations of teachers is the importance of teachers and teaching styles in influencing student engagement. Whether students are engaged in school and like school depends on their relationship with teachers as well as on teaching practices.1 Value orientations may shape how teachers approach their work, as well as their teaching styles, which may in turn strongly influence the academic success of students. A second reason for the importance of teacher value orientations is the potential for understanding how schools can promote the success of the disadvantaged. There has been considerable debate about whether Catholic schools are better able to educate disadvantaged students.2 Explanations of the "Catholic school advantage" have primarily focused on a constrained curriculum, which ensures that all students receive fairly similar subject content and teaching quality.3 Value orientations of teachers may play a role as well. Teachers in Catholic schools play a more authoritative, multi-dimensional role in the lives of students. Rather than the shopping mall high school,4 in which students make educational choices with little guidance, effectively reproducing social stratification,5 Catholic school organizational culture places the teacher in the role of looking out for educational success of all students. Part of the Catholic "common school" effect, the finding that academic outcomes in Catholic schools are relatively egalitarian across socioeconomic and racial groups, may result from this orientation of teachers. In this way, particular value orientations of teachers may generate more egalitarian expectations for students. These "common school" commitments may also increase the ability of teachers to overcome barriers between disadvantaged students, parents, and the school. 1 See HALLINAN 2008. 2 See BRYK / LEE / HOLLAND 1993; COLEMAN / HOFFER 1987; GREELEY 1982; MORGAN / TODD 2009. 3 See BRYK / LEE / HOLLAND 1993. 4 See POWELL / FARRAR / COHEN 1985. 5 See GRANT 1988. 160
Theo-Web. Zeitschrift fьr Religionspдdagogik 8 (2009), H. 2, 160-179. This claim may apply more generally, since the nature of teaching seems inherently linked to teacher value orientations. Some have argued, for instance, that a teacher's spiritual or "inner" self is inevitably drawn into the classroom.6 The whole person of the teacher is engaged in the transformation of the whole person of the student.7 If true, we would expect a greater role for value orientations in the classroom. Other work argues that a moral dimension is necessarily expressed in the role of the teacher. For many teachers, teaching is a way of life that is focused on moral and spiritual values.8 As one teacher explained, "My faith in God, and thus in people as individuals uniquely worthy to be treated fairly, underlies everything I do as a teacher."9 For this teacher, religious commitments lead to particular value orientations that may influence teacher practices. A rationale for research into value orientations of teachers, then, is that nearly every aspect of teaching, from the character of relationships with students to decisions about how to organize the classroom, involves issues of Moral education. It would be surprising, therefore, if value orientations did not affect teacher roles and classroom practices. An example of how deeply intertwined are moral orientations and teaching is the specific way that the Holocaust is handled in the classroom.10 Ethnographic work reveals that some teachers take an individualist approach to the Holocaust, which focuses on the dangers of prejudice. In this strategy, teachers appeal to the class as a moral community, attempting to use the moral consensus of the class to transform individuals' views of prejudice, including building commitment to overcoming forms of prejudice. The teacher in this case makes a values-based decision to use the Holocaust as an opportunity to transform student moral orientations through the expression of community moral sanctions. This approach grants little relevance to the Holocaust per se, mostly ignoring historian's assessments of the sequence of events and social and political structures that led to and shaped the Holocaust. Reflecting value orientations of teachers, this strategy privileges the view that teaching should be an occasion to transform individual moral commitments. A second approach is a form of experiential learning. In this approach, students take the role of particular actors or groups, and are asked to make choices within the constraints of the historical situation. The goal is to generate student empathy, anger, or disgust, under the assumption that the emotional shock value of the experience will generate personal moral transformation. Again, however, the teacher's decision to use experiential learning reflects values that privilege emotional experiences over a more comprehensive historical understanding of the events and causes of the Holocaust. A third moral stance provides an "objective" account of the Holocaust that sets the events in historical context of social and political forces, but lacks opportunities for normative discussion and development of empathy. In this case, the teacher may not explicitly make instructional choices based on value commitments, since the goal is a morally neutral account of Holocaust history. But in fact the presentation takes a moral stance that presents the events as inevitable outcomes of larger social forces. Ethical issues are submerged; the implicit message downplays individual responsibility.11 6 See PALMER 1993; 1998. 7 See LAWRENCE-LIGHTFOOT 1978; 1983; LORTIE 1975. 8 See PAJAK / BLASE 1989; BUCHMAN 1986. 9 PAJAK / BLASE 1989, 299. 10 See SCHWEBER 2004. 11 See SCHWEBER 2004; SCHWEBER / FINDLING 2007. 161
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Since values are tightly linked to instructional decisions, extending to concrete, everyday pedagogical decisions, a natural next step is to understand whether and how particular value orientations or religious commitments are correlated with pedagogical decisions. Do value orientations of religious school teachers influence these kinds of moral decisions within the classroom? Would each of these teachers link their decisions regarding teaching practices to their value orientations? How would they talk, if at all, about the relationship between their value orientations and the classroom? What is different about the religious school teacher that may reflect value orientations that are embedded in the individual teacher or the school as an institution?
2. Aspects of Research
2.1. Religious and Public School Differences Although there is not extensive research that compares value orientations of religious and public school teachers, there is general evidence of sector differences that may be due to teacher value orientation differences. Differences between religious and public schools may be linked to teacher differences in value orientations, as these are shaped by different school organizational cultures. Research has shown that in religious schools students feel that teachers are more interested in them,12 and that their opinions are listened to.13 Teachers in religious schools are perceived as more fair by students.14 Teachers' motivation levels appear to be higher in religious schools, and their job satisfaction levels tend to be higher, despite the significantly lower pay in religious schools. Religious schools are also more effective in providing mentoring programs for teachers.15 In a meta-analysis of sixty-two studies, Jeynes finds that religious schools have lower levels of school violence and other crime, and lower levels of violence against teachers.16 Religious schools also have higher student engagement in learning. In sum, according to Jeynes, students regard religious schools as loving, safe, and enjoyable places to learn.17 Of course, these outcomes are not entirely due to teachers, and not all teacher effects can be chalked up to religious or value orientations, but these religious school differences seem for the most part consistent with what would be expected if value orientations of teachers varied by school sector.
2.2. Religion and Teacher Identities The educational literature consistently argues that teachers work hard to integrate personal and professional identities.18 Religion and specific value orientations are likely to matter for teaching roles and practices, then, since religion and moral stances play a central role in identity formation for many Americans. American "religious exceptionalism", when compared to many European countries, including Sweden and Germany, is primarily rooted in the relative vitality of "lived religion" in the U.S.,19 or the religion of everyday life. One important aspect of this religious form, especially among religious conservatives, is the sense of obligation to interpersonal relations-
12 See JEYNES 2003. 13 See SIKKINK 2009. 14 See JEYNES 2003. 15 See INGERSOLL 2004. 16 See JEYNES 2003. 17 See ibid. 18 See LAWRENCE-LIGHTFOOT 1983; BIKLEN 1986; PAJAK / BLASE 1989. 19 See NEITZ 2008.
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hips as one of the most appropriate expressions of religion in public life. In the U.S., this emphasis on interpersonal relations not only is expressed in religious homophily, the tendency of close associates to have a common religious background,20 but extends to beliefs about religious obligations for working towards caring relationships in various spheres of public life, such as the workplace.21 Since religion often plays a strong role in defining personal identities in the U.S., it is not surprising to find that many teachers meld religious identities and teacher identities. As one teacher put it, "... my identity would be a Christian. I'm just a Christian that's a teacher ... I'm a teacher that is a Christian so truthfully God is just a part of me naturally and there's no way that I could separate the two ... ." 22 Another teacher provides a spiritual foundation to the professional obligations of teaching: "One aspect of my personal life which impacts on my career has to do with my spiritual belief that all of us on earth are related and responsible for supporting each other's growth."23 The close connection of religious and teacher identities provides another reason to expect that religion and religiously inspired value orientations shape teacher practices. But is there empirical evidence for this relationship? The question remains whether the melding of religious and teacher identities has implications for teacher beliefs and practices regarding teaching. In theory, religious beliefs should have implications for teaching practices, especially regarding moral education or socialization of students.24 According to Feinberg, the major Abrahamic faiths create a distinctive moral universe.25 In these traditions, moral action is set in the context of a loving God who cares about individuals, and whose caring gives significance to human lives. A sense of dependency, awe, human frailty, and gratitude shapes believers' relation to others and the world. Caring for others is motivated by the believer's relation to God and God's relation to others. Feinberg finds some qualitative evidence that this worldview leads to differences in teachers' approach to moral education. The teacher's belief in a moral universe of naturalism, whether due to personal beliefs or the organizational culture of the school, for example, may approach an instance of student bullying by asking the perpetrator if they want to live in a world of bullies, of all-against-all, where power defines right. This socialization message, which places norms of reciprocity center stage, asks the student to take up a strategic understanding of the self in relation to others. In contrast, the moral universe of the Christian tradition may call a teacher, for example, to ask the student how Jesus would treat the weaker student. This approach asks the student to put the self in relation to a loving God, who cares for all, and in relation to a religious community which attempts to live within this moral universe. Feinberg uses this theoretical frame to interpret the differences he sees between the moral education of teachers in religious and nonreligious schools. Of course, his analysis raises the question of whether the individual commitment to a particular moral universe is decisive for moral education practices, or whether the organizational culture of the school is the most important cause, determining teacher practices. It seems likely that the interaction of individual and organizational level commitments must also be taken into account. That is, the distinctive expression of a Christian
20 See FISCHER 1982; MCPHERSON / SMITH-LOVIN et al. 2001. 21 See SIKKINK / SMITH 2000. 22 KANG 2009. 23 PAJAK / BLASE 1989, 299. 24 See FEINBERG 2006. 25 See ibid.
Theo-Web. Zeitschrift fьr Religionspдdagogik 8 (2009), H. 2, 160-179. worldview in teacher practices may be conditioned by the organizational culture of the school. At this point, the literature is not clear on whether and to what extent teacher roles and practices in religious schools reflect the distinctive moral education that Feinberg attributes to the Abrahamic faiths. But Feinberg does give us reason to think that this causal relationship exists, either through value orientations of teachers, of schools, or the conjunction of the two. A parallel argument about religious effects claims that teaching practices reflect the belief that persons are created in the image of God.26 The imago dei commitment implies that students are not objects of teaching but subjects--"Thous" in Buber's I/Thou conception.27 This belief may have pedagogical implications. According to Hartwick, progressive, student-oriented learning is consistent with the respect accorded to persons involved in dialogical relationship.28 One teacher seems to express this view when discussing the relation of personal and professional lives: "It's good to remind myself that as I'm looking out at kids, that I should really be seeing Jesus sitting in those seats. And many times I don't consciously, but that's the reality. All people need to be treated with respect and love ... It makes all the difference in the world as far as how you react to that, realizing you know it's not just for me, it's not just for the kids, it's not just for the parents, but God cares about the whole thing. He cares about them more than anybody."29 The imago dei religious belief may generate particular value orientations that lead to different Types of Relationships with students and different commitments to the educational tasks of the teacher role. 2.3. Structural Constraints and Opportunities Despite the cultural promise of religion for moral education, there are potential constraints on the extent and manner that teachers bring their faith to work. The first constraint emerges from neo-institutional theorists, who argue that institutional isomorphism limits variation in a particular organizational field, since organizations tend to conform to operative definitions of legitimacy in a particular field.30 If secular models of schooling, perhaps symbolized by or institutionalized within public schools, dominate the cultural landscape of the primary and secondary educational field in the US, then the religious factor may be muted at both the school and individual level. Religious schools and teachers may implicitly or explicitly respond to cultural models of what it means to be a school, they may conform to the specific sources of legitimacy within the educational field. For example, religious mission may be muted or reshaped as organizational field pressures extend the focus on high scores on standardized tests to religious schools and teachers. That pressure may come from parents who have particular expectations about school legitimacy, from accrediting agencies, or from the ubiquitous discussion and media publicity surrounding state level standardized test scores for schools in the area. Cultural models of schooling that emphasize preparing students for college or a job may also impinge on the extent and ways that teachers take their faith to work. The effect of legitimate cultural models of schooling may extend to the meaning and impact of teacher professionalism. It is possible that secular professional norms seep into the expectations of parents and accrediting agencies as well as the identities of 26 See HARTWICK 2009. 27 See BUBER 1937. 28 See HARTWICK 2009. 29 NELSON-BROWN 2007, 123-124. 30 See DIMAGGIO / POWELL 1983; MEYER 1977; MEYER / SCOTT 1992; SCOTT / MEYER 1982. 164
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religious school teachers. Perhaps the cultural legitimacy given by subject matter expertise, and secular models of pedagogy and curriculum fostered in university schools of education, orient religious schools and teachers away from religiously distinctive education. These norms may in particular insist on establishing boundaries with parents and students that limit the possibilities for interpersonal relations and community building that may otherwise be generated by religious value orientations. A second significant constraint on the expressions of religion in teacher roles and practices is the financial pressures of the market. In the U.S., nearly all religious schools rely substantially on tuition fees for survival. The actual cost of operating a school demands tuition rates of $8-10,000 per school year. But most religious schools risk crippling under-enrollment without subsidizing tuition through donations from churches and individuals. In response to these constraints, conservative religious schools move toward a more generic religion to expand market appeal beyond a narrow niche.31 Responding to financial pressures, religious schools downplay denominational distinctions; religious instruction and socialization messages may be generalized to avoid offending parents of diverse Christian faiths. A third constraint arises from the cultural influence of the legal sphere, especially the construction of individual rights. Whatever constraints the law actually places on teachers, and despite the fact that the actual threat of successful legal action is low, beliefs and assumptions about the possibility of legal action impinges on studentteacher relationships in public schools.32 Students are more likely to conceive of their relationship to teachers and schools in terms of individual rights rather than collective responsibilities, which challenges the authority of the teacher and school. This may place limits on the expression of value orientations in schools. For example, cultural beliefs about the legal sphere may constrain the extent that teachers are willing to express value orientations that would lead to a strong in loco parentis role. The privatization of religion in the U.S. may create a fourth constraint on the expression of teacher value orientations in the classroom. Despite high levels of religiosity in U.S., the public expression of religion is contested. The differentiation of religion from public spheres is fairly well-established.33 Public schools are considered secular spaces.34 Consistent with the differentiation of religion and public life, individual conservative Protestants conceive of their participation in the public sphere in terms of interpersonal relationships. Evangelical Protestant parents often talk about their involvement in public schools not in terms of institutional transformation but of interpersonal relations as the primary form of religious presence in public life.35 Mainline Protestants tend to favor a quiet public presence, a "Golden Rule" religion,36 that focuses on interpersonal ethics in public life. It is possible that these orientations to public life also constrain how teachers in religious schools express their religiously grounded value orientations. Rather than a distinctive pedagogy, religious school teachers may focus on interpersonal relations, such as a caring relation with students or a helping or advising a colleague. These constraints are perhaps balanced by structural opportunities for teacher commitments to influence roles and practices in religious schools. First, the holistic orientation of many religious schools, often expressed in mission statements in terms of training the body, soul, and mind, opens up opportunities for teacher value orientati-
31 See WAGNER 1997. 32 See ARUM 2003. 33 See CHAVES 1994. 34 See NORD 1995. 35 See SIKKINK / SMITH 2000. 36 See AMMERMAN 1997; WUTHNOW / EVANS 2002.
Theo-Web. Zeitschrift fьr Religionspдdagogik 8 (2009), H. 2, 160-179. ons to influence the relationship of teacher and students, particularly in terms of taking on parental roles and conveying religiously-inspired socialization messages. This multi-dimensional approach to the student-teacher relationship may spillover into classroom practices, shaping other aspects of school organization. Second, the relative lack of bureaucracy and hierarchy in most religious schools creates opportunities for teacher value orientations to be expressed in school organization or classroom practices. One of the key differences between schools in the religious and public sector is decentralized governance.37 This may enhance the ability of schools to develop a collective identity that is value-oriented, and therefore encourages teachers to take their faith to work. Lastly, structural opportunities for teacher value orientations to influence teacher roles and practices emerge from the decoupling of organizational goals and teacher practices.38 That is, teachers are effectively isolated in their classrooms, and it is difficult for higher level organizational directives to reach inside the classroom door. Of course, this would mean that organizational encouragement for incorporating value orientations into teacher practices would not have a strong mechanism for influencing what happens in the classroom. But it seems more likely that the isolation of teachers in the classroom allows teachers to make it up as they go along, which most likely would mean relying on their own value orientations to guide roles and practices. 3. Evidence from Public School Research There is some evidence that the structural opportunities for incorporating teacher value orientations overcome the constraints. Studies have provided general evidence that religion matters for the professional lives of teachers.39 Many teachers in the U.S. view their teaching as a religious ministry or vocation. In a Wisconsin sample, 59 percent of teachers reported that God had called them to teach, and 25 percent of teachers in this sample strongly agreed that teaching was a personal calling.40 In qualitative interviews, teachers reported that the experience of divine love and grace provided a motive for being sympathetic and helpful with teachers and students.41 This included reported instances of praying for other students and teachers, and providing practical support, such as visiting teachers who were sick or taking on some of the workload of a teacher struggling with family or other personal problems. One study found a positive correlation between teacher's sense of religious calling and teacher self-reports of more warm and personal relationships with students.42 As one teacher put it, "I want to teach in a way that respects the individuals' spirits, and enhances a positive, caring community. Most of all, I want Jesus' love to be felt through me."43 In addition, one study found a correlation between a traditional conception of God and the decision to use textbooks rather than other types of instructional materials.44 It is difficult to know exactly why this is the case. It may be that more conservative religious teachers select into the types of schools that emphasize textbooks. But it may indicate that for some teachers there is an analogy between religious belief and 37 See BRYK / LEE et al.1993; CHUBB / MOE 1990. 38 See MEYER / ROWAN 1977; WEICK 1976. 39 See HARTWICK 2009; KANG 2009. 40 See HARTWICK 2009. 41 See KANG 2009. 42 See HARTWICK 2009. 43 Teacher interview, NELSON-BROWN 2007, 142. 44 See HARTWICK 2009. 166
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practice, and teaching practices. The textbook as an authoritative source of knowledge may be seen by some teachers as consistent with their traditional view of God, which includes a strong view of God's authority and, most likely, a strong view of the authority of God as codified in the Bible or Church teaching. Viewing the Bible as a textbook for life may have a parallel in textbook approaches to authoritative knowledge. These are only speculations, however, and the evidence on this score is only preliminary. There is other general evidence that spirituality matters to teachers' professional lives. A related study has asked teachers to write about the relation between their personal and professional lives.45 In these reflections, many teachers report that religious values or belief in God changes their relation to their professional roles as teachers. One said that, "Religion is very important in my personal life. I pray daily for guidance in my personal life and to be an example to my students."46 Value orientations rooted in religion are here connected to role modeling in teaching practices. In this same study, teachers report that their religious identity leads to a different relation to the self, including feelings of love, joy, peace, and persistence in their teaching roles. Their religious selves change their relation to students; teachers report that their religious commitments are important sources of increased caring, accepting, patience, and trusting relationships with students, as well as providing motivation for role-modeling for students. In their relation with colleagues, teachers report that their religion leads to increased belonging, sharing, helping, and giving. In relation to principals, teachers report that their religious identity results in increased loyalty, commitment, and trust. Teachers overwhelmingly mentioned positive effects of their personal religious lives and their professional lives, though a few males did mention that their religious commitments lead to feelings of anger, guilt, and conflict with their professional role. The negative mentions included conflicts between the time and energy necessary for maintaining involvement in religious communities while also putting in the time necessary to teach well. Religious teachers mentioned that their religion led to conflict in relation to student misbehavior, and created tensions with the curriculum, other colleagues, and intrusive parents.47 Teachers in public schools report that their spirituality helps them cope with jobrelated stress. But religious coping often involves "letting go and letting God work"--a strategy that seems to foster an inability to directly address change that is necessary for improvement as a teacher. Religious coping seemed to keep teachers from squarely facing the need for change in oneself or other teachers.48 On the whole, the teachers overwhelmingly point to a positive impact of religion on professional lives. But in the end does this lead to better teaching? There is little evidence to answer the question. Among public school teachers, however, there is limited evidence that more religious teachers have higher efficacy scores in classroom student engagement, classroom management, and instructional strategies.49
4. Evidence from Religious School Research The existing literature provides some direction on the relationship between religion, values, and teaching orientations. But most of the evidence discussed so far has focused on religious teachers in public schools. Another strategy is to consider diffe-
45 See PAJAK / BLASE 1989. 46 PAJAK / BLASE 1989, 299. 47 See PAJAK / BLASE 1989. 48 See KANG 2009. 49 See ibid.
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rences across religious school sectors. In this section, we investigate religious school teachers and value orientations through extant literature on various types of religious schools. We would expect that the relation between religious teachers, value orientations, and teaching practices differs by religious tradition. Differences between Catholic and Protestant schools may matter, of course, but also differences within the Catholic sector, such as between parish, diocesan, and religious order Catholic schools. In addition, as discussed later, there may be differences in the relation of religion and teaching practices between traditionalist, modern, and liberationist Catholic school cultures. Important differences are likely within the Protestant sector as well. Protestant schools associated with fundamentalist Protestantism, such as many of the independent Baptist schools, are likely to differ from other Protestant schools. Evangelical Protestant, such as the Christian Reformed, Seventh Day Adventist, Missouri Synod Lutheran, some Southern Baptist, and many non-denominational schools are likely to be much less separatist than fundamentalist schools.50 Interestingly, although the evangelical Protestant category is useful in understanding other social outcomes,51 it remains to be seen whether this grouping is meaningful regarding value orientations and teaching practices. For example, individual Missouri Synod Lutherans may be similar to Christian Reformed adherents on issues of abortion policy, but each may have very distinctive schooling organizations, and perhaps also different effects on how teachers incorporate religious values and teaching practices. Mainline Protestant schools, such as the schools of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and United Methodist schools, may be less distinctive than more conservative Protestant school varieties.
4.1. The Catholic Teacher Anthony Bryk and colleagues have made the strongest and most noted case for the distinctive ethic of personalism embodied by Catholic teachers. Bryk et al. argue that Catholic schools embody an ethic of personalism that is grounded in belief in imago dei and the incarnation52. Within this religious setting, teachers approach to students is holistic and multi-dimensional. Teachers relate to students as persons, not only in their academic role. The Catholic theological commitment also leads to high academic expectations for students, regardless of background. This egalitarian emphasis, according to Bryk et al., emerges from the view that each student is created by God with the ability and responsibility to learn about God's world.53 The Catholic school ethic of personalism extends to active engagement in the educational career of the student. Essentially, teachers play a parental role in regard to educational careers of students. They are more likely than public school teachers to take an authoritative role in the child's life, including promoting a student with ability that lacks guidance or support from his or her family. The "common school" effect of Catholic schools is rooted in an organizational culture based on particular theological commitments, which is most likely also generated through the resulting value orientations of Catholic school teachers. The role of the Catholic school teacher is not only authoritative in student's lives, but is distinctive in scope. Bryk et al. argue that Catholic school teachers take on an ex-
50 See SIKKINK 2001. 51 See SMITH / EMERSON et al. 1998. 52 BRYK / LEE et al. 1993. 53 See ibid.
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tended teacher role, which includes an extended time commitment to students and the school community.54 Catholic school teacher responsibilities extend beyond the classroom to encompass sacrifice for the collective good and for individual students. For example, Catholic teachers actively participate in extracurricular activities,55 and faithfully attend school functions, including school retreats, athletic events, and school gatherings. The Catholic school teacher role embeds a value orientation that is concerned with student behavior and welfare outside the classroom and school walls.56 This contribution to the common good57 includes a very practical commitment to a quality education for all students. Committed to the school community and its values and mission, the best Catholic school teachers teach the range of advanced to less advanced courses. This contrasts with the career value orientations of public school teachers in which career advancement is linked to teaching the highest level classes with the most academically advanced students. Rather than a "career ladder" orientation, Catholic school teachers make concrete moral commitments to egalitarianism within the school community. Finally, the Catholic teacher takes up a civic orientation that is less common in the public schools and in many conservative Protestant religious schools. Catholic school teachers participate in school-wide community service or volunteering projects, and Catholic schools are more likely to facilitate Student Participation in civic life.58 Catholic school teachers are more likely to incorporate civic engagement in coursework. For example, more service learning classes are available in Catholic schools, and Catholic school teachers incorporate discussion of these experiences in their classes, as well as writing about these service experiences.59 Although not widely addressed in the Catholic school literature, Catholic school teachers may vary in role and practice depending on their religious orientation. Feinberg argues that Catholic school teachers' approaches to moral education vary.60 Within Catholic schools that have a traditionalist orientation, teachers tend to emphasize the fixed nature of doctrine as defined by the Church. In contrast, the modernist Catholic teacher emphasizes the importance of personal conscience in how students approach Church teachings. Teachers attempt to guard the self-esteem of students by softening the fixed and universal claims of Church teaching. In moral education, the liberationist or feminist Catholic teacher views doctrine as flexible and open. They tend to interpret religious tradition with the goal of personal transformation, especially instilling a commitment to justice for the poor and oppressed. Although the ethic of personalism and the extended teacher role are normative in most Catholic schools, there is some concern about Catholic school trends that would change the expression of value orientations in teacher practices and roles. Under market pressures, many Catholic schools have drifted away from their original mission as they become more focused on high academic standards.61 The communal organization gives way to a college preparatory organizational culture. This trend is partly the result of laicization: religious men and women have only 4 percent of administrator positions in Catholic schools today, compared to 94 percent in 1920. This
54 See ibid. 55 See BRYK / LEE et al. 1993. 56 See MCCLOSKEY 2008. 57 See BRYK / LEE et al. 1993. 58 See PetersON / CAMPBELL 2001; SIKKINK 2009. 59 See SIKKINK 2004. 60 See FEINBERG 2006. 61 See BAKER / RIORDAN 1998.
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obviously puts new financial pressures on Catholic schools, and may reduce supports for the traditional Catholic theological view that undergirded the communal organization of many Catholic schools. In terms of governance, the role of school boards has grown, and these are often dominated by laity. The market pressures may also constrain Catholic schools through parent expectations. Despite the generally high levels of religiosity in the U.S., it is possible that religious authority has less sway over parent expectations, leaving parents more open to linking child educational careers with socioeconomic mobility (i.e., "getting ahead"). In this college preparatory organization, perhaps there is a loss of the distinctive practices of Catholic teachers. The inspirational ideology that shapes teacher practices and orientations in Catholic schools may lose force in the face of the secular concerns of teaching technique, subject knowledge expertise, and other dominant forms of legitimacy.
4.2. The Fundamentalist Teacher Much of the literature on Protestant schools focuses on the fundamentalist schools, the more separatist and counter-cultural religiously conservative schools. In these schools, there is little doubt that teachers perceive a spiritual significance in teaching. Fundamentalist teachers link religious identity and teacher roles through a "sense of calling." That teachers see their work as a religious vocation is evident in the oftrepeated phrase that they are "doing the Lord's work"62. Beyond this, however, according to one study, teacher discourse about their reasons for teaching and the meaning of their teaching role is similar to public school teachers.63 Even more distinctive for the fundamentalist teacher is the educational mission of saving souls. Salvation is the foremost goal, according to the fundamentalist way of thinking, and academics has meaning in relation to this ultimate goal. One interesting example is the fundamentalist school report card that includes a separate assessment of social and moral development, including whether the student shows "reverence for God and His Word," respect for authority, and respect for property.64 The emphasis on salvation is linked to academic tasks through an emphasis on the Bible. Teachers would commonly report that they "teach everything in light of God's Word." They use the Bible in class at every opportunity. Some type of connection is found between biblical precepts and readings across the curriculum.65 Although most researchers consider the emphasis on the Bible as an expression of the antiintellectualism of fundamentalists,66 some argue that fundamentalist teachers emphasize engagement and questioning as an outgrowth of their concern that the Bible become relevant to students' daily life, and as consistent with their view that the Bible demands fresh attempts to understand and follow it rightly.67 It would be hard to divine a well-worked out fundamentalist philosophy of education or pedagogy. But certainly the fundamentalist teacher emphasizes the importance of informal socialization messages that reflect a fundamentalist worldview. Teachers attempt to integrate spiritual messages into socialization of students, such as using biblical verses to quietly encourage a struggling student,68 including the favored King James Version of Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Another common example, a biblical version of the emphasis on work
62 PESHKIN 1986. 63 See ibid. 64 See ROSEN 2005. 65 See ROSEN 2005, 38-39. 66 See DARNELL / SHERKAT 1997. 67 See ROSEN 2005. 68 See ibid.
Theo-Web. Zeitschrift fьr Religionspдdagogik 8 (2009), H. 2, 160-179. ethic in public schools,69 is, "Work as unto the Lord." Value orientations of fundamentalist teachers are naturally expressed in informal socialization messages, which are deeply indebted to the Bible, even if very similar to many public school teacher socialization messages.70 Beyond the informal socialization messages, it may be possible to discern an implicit religious pedagogy favored by the fundamentalist teacher. Some argue that fundamentalist schools embed a strong authoritarian emphasis, which is seen as an outgrowth of fundamentalists' literal view of Bible and absolutist morality.71 It is possible that this is expressed in fundamentalist teachers favoring teacher-centered learning.72 Since the fundamentalist views knowledge and wisdom as received rather than discovered, they may tend to avoid a pedagogy that encourages student questions and independent thinking and learning. Some fundamentalist schools perhaps are taking this to its logical conclusion in the "teacher-less" Accelerated Christian Education curriculum, which consists entirely of workbooks and seat work.73 But other researchers argue that fundamentalists' literalism and moral absolutism is very unevenly translated into the classroom pedagogy and curriculum. Some argue that there is not a stark contrast between the pedagogy of fundamentalist schools and most public schools.74 Another more definitive argument is that the fundamentalist teacher, acting on religious convictions, emphasizes the role of structure and discipline in the classroom. We commonly think of this as discipline of the body, which certainly is an important part of what it means to be a fundamentalist school. The fundamentalist's school is noticeably quiet, including the student lines in the hallways and the lunchroom.75 Perhaps less well-known are the pedagogical emphases that arise out of the fundamentalist concern with structure and discipline. For example, memorization becomes a central educational strategy, including memorizing Bible verses, President's names, and poetry.76 A second example is the emphasis in fundamentalist schools on upholding absolute grading standards.77 The fundamentalist teacher is likely to avoid grading on a curve, since that would seem to violate the fundamentalist belief that there are absolute standards established by God. A third example is the tendency of fundamentalists to favor reading instruction that emphasizes phonics and avoids whole language strategies for teaching children to read. For the fundamentalist teacher, phonics instruction seems more consistent with a well-structured and disciplined form of learning. I would be remiss not to mention that the fundamentalist teacher has particular curricular choices that emerge from the fundamentalist worldview. In particular, the fundamentalist science class spends more time on philosophy of science compared to public schools. Some form of creationism or intelligent design is certainly given pride of place in fundamentalist classes. These creationist views will be closely connected with particular interpretations of the Bible. Fundamentalist science teachers make a strong symbolic point by beginning science class with Bible verses.78 Beyond scien- 69 See BRINT / CONTRERAS et al. 2001. 70 See ibid. 71 See APPLE 2006; PROVENZO 1990; ROSE 1988. 72 See PARSONS 1987. 73 See ROSE 1988. 74 See PESHKIN 1986; WAGNER 1990. 75 See PARSONS 1987; SIKKINK 2001. 76 See ROSEN 2005. 77 See ibid. 78 See ibid. 171
Theo-Web. Zeitschrift fьr Religionspдdagogik 8 (2009), H. 2, 160-179. ce, there are likely to be distinctive curricular emphases in history class. In general, fundamentalist teachers take their faith to work by viewing and teaching history as a record of God's work in the world.79 This is often expressed in teaching certain aspects of history, such as the founding of the United States, as providential. At best, this approach puts a providential gloss on top of what is traditionally taught in history class; at worst, it leads to a very selective and sanitized version of religious and American history.80 It is important to note one alternative view. Wagner finds in conservative religious schools an amalgam of cultural themes from the Bible, American culture, educational fads, and secular education philosophies.81 The biblical distinctive of fundamentalist teachers are perhaps mostly window dressing. The question remains, however, whether Wagner's findings apply to fundamentalist schools, or only to the more moderate, evangelical schools. 4.3. The Evangelical Teacher American evangelicalism is noted for avoiding the separatism of fundamentalism in favor of "engaged orthodoxy", which melds conservative doctrine with an openness to engagement with the secular world.82 Religious and professional identities are easily connected for evangelical teachers. Qualitative evidence from interviews with Baptist school teachers reveals that evangelical teachers believe that their religious identity influences their approach to the teaching profession and why they stay in it.83 Evangelical teachers also report that their religious identity influences their relationships with staff and students. This raises the question of whether fundamentalist and evangelical teachers differ on the role of relationships in moral education. It is plausible that fundamentalist morality is primarily seen in terms of a concern with individual discipline, self-control, and respect for authority, while evangelical teachers are more focused on building evangelical norms and values in relationships between students. Right relationships, rather than an absolutist and individualistic morality, may primarily orient moral education in evangelical classrooms. A relationship emphasis may extend to relationships with other teachers in an evangelical school. An evangelical teacher's religious orientation to their work may be reflected in increased social capital, the networks of trust and reciprocity, among faculty. Catholic schools have high levels of teacher social capital,84 which likely also applies to teachers in evangelical schools. Evangelical teachers may have a strong commitment to discussing school community and student issues with other teachers. They may see their religious obligation as worked out in simple strategies of comparing notes on individual students and developing joint strategies for student moral and academic development. Some research finds that the evangelical teachers see their religious identity as a teacher expressed in actions of practical support for other teachers in and outside of school.85 This may be structured by teacher's participation in teacher prayer group meeting before or after school.86 79 See CARPER / HUNT 1984. 80 See DIAMOND 1989; 1995; 1998; PROVENZO 1990. 81 See WAGNER 1990. 82 See SMITH / EMERSON et al. 1998. 83 See NELSON-BROWN 2006. 84 See BRYK / LEE et al. 1993; HILL / FOSTER et al. 1990. 85 See KANG 2009. 86 See INGERSOLL 2004. 172
Theo-Web. Zeitschrift fьr Religionspдdagogik 8 (2009), H. 2, 160-179. The evangelical emphasis on a religion of everyday life leads to teachers who find God in the everyday details of teaching. Evangelical teachers will spiritualize teacher practices through prayer, praying about what they will cover in the upcoming week, or what specific message to put on the bulletin board.87 They pray about teaching challenges, and pray to become better teachers. In doing so, according to some Qualitative research, they express humility through dependence on God when faced with problems rather than assuming that problems can be solved alone.88 Evangelical teachers will also spiritualize the much lower teacher pay through the concept of blessings: God blesses religious school teachers with minor financial miracles in response to faithfulness to teaching "ministry".89 The evangelical teacher perhaps typifies all conservative religious school teachers in their attempt to create religious space to educate soul and mind. The religious identity of teachers is expressed in socialization messages beyond the formal curriculum. Posters, bulletin board materials, and decorations are chosen to convey faith-related messages. For example, one teacher displayed a thermometer with the message, "How warm is your friendship with God?" One of the expressions of teacher value orientations in religious schools is the extent and choice of socialization messages in public spaces within the school hallways and classrooms. In contrast to the fundamentalists, the evangelical teacher may embed value orientations into teaching more explicitly through a religiously-inspired educational philosophy. These teachers may think of their work in light of the evangelical orientation of engaged orthodoxy,90 in which evangelicals attempt to meld aspects of dominant culture with religiously orthodox beliefs and doctrines. Engaged orthodoxy may be expressed through phrases such as: All truth is God's truth; Integration of faith and learning; Exploration of created reality; Group interaction to develop leadership, cooperation, and the desire to respect different types of persons.91 It is possible, then, that the evangelical teacher seeks not separation from world but engaged spirituality modeled in the classroom. This orientation may have pedagogical implications. Evangelical teachers may see experiential learning as a faithful outgrowth of attempting to bring religious orthodoxy together with engagement with the world. Perhaps engagement in the local community is part of general emphasis on engagement with the created world. Secondly, evangelical teachers may emphasize student-centered learning, and be more open to include teaching practices that foster discussion, questions, persuasion and debate. Evangelical teachers may also see the creation of a functional community as an implication of engaged orthodoxy.92 The functional community combines value consistency across family, school and community with intergenerational network closure, in which, for example, parents know the parents of their child's friends.93 Some have argued that the functional community is an explicit religious commitment of Christian 87 See WAGNER 1990. 88 See KANG 2009. 89 See ibid. 90 See SMITH / EMERSON et al. 1998. 91 See VRYHOF 2004. 92 See ibid. 93 See COLEMAN / HOFFER 1987. 173
Theo-Web. Zeitschrift fьr Religionspдdagogik 8 (2009), H. 2, 160-179.
Reformed schools.94 In these schools, an alliance between parents and school is assumed, a strong partnership is expected. Teachers are hired not only for academic expertise and teaching abilities, but also for membership in a community in which teachers are expect to be role models for students.95 The evangelical school, and perhaps religious schools generally, become a place in which not only values but vision and memory are an expression of religious commitments.96 The context of history and traditions of the school community makes possible the embedding of meaning and purpose in the educational task. The creation of a community of memory in which teacher roles and practices have meaning may provide a context in which value orientations brought into the classroom are more consistent across teachers rather than varying across teachers in the same school.
4.4. Dimensions of Faith at Work Although the various religious sectors have some distinctive, there would likely be some similarities on issues of socialization messages and the extent of teacher social capital and functional community. Across the religious school sectors, it is likely that teachers share some similarities in other religious and value dimensions, such as sacralizing the teaching profession and an ethic of personalism. By considering these sector differences, we have seen some evidence that teacher value orientations influence pedagogy, social capital, and the formation of functional communities. Many religious school teachers, perhaps best exemplified by evangelical and fundamentalist teachers, are likely to construct sacred understandings of teacher roles and practices. Teaching may be seen as a calling or (religious) vocation. Teachers may routinely express spiritual interpretations of everyday teaching tasks and decisions. And teachers are likely to create sacred space in classroom, especially through informal socialization messages on bulletin boards and other public spaces. In addition, religious school teachers are likely to take their faith to work through an ethic of personalism. This is expressed as moral commitments to interpersonal relations in the school community. Teachers take on an extended teacher role, in which they commit to holistic relations with students that include a commitment to be involved in student and school life beyond the classroom. The religious school teacher may embody a commitment to the education of the whole person, rather than focusing exclusively on academic learning. The dimensions of faith at work may include pedagogical distinction. Moral strategies and commitments may have links to particular teaching practices. Some teachers may use religious analogies to direct teacher practices. They may see the authoritative and comprehensive voice of textbooks as analogous to their view of the Bible or God as omniscient and omnipotent. Teachers may also have commitments to the "common school" that arise from their religious value orientations. That is, they may be less willing to differentiate instruction for advanced learners, or to teach in a way that would leave the disadvantaged behind. Lastly, the value orientations of religious school teachers may lead to distinctive curricular emphases in subjects such as science and history. The dimensions of faith at work may be rooted in teachers' commitments to building social capital and a functional community at school. We might include here the in loco parentis orientation, which may lead teachers to be concerned about peer relations in class and within the school community generally. This commitment may also
94 See VRYHOF 2004. 95 See ibid. 96 See ibid.
Theo-Web. Zeitschrift fьr Religionspдdagogik 8 (2009), H. 2, 160-179.
call for open doors between classrooms and homes, between teachers and parents. And the value orientations of religious school teachers may be expressed through a commitment to building networks of trust and reciprocity with other teachers, which for many involves practical help as well as spiritual practices, such as prayer. Finally, at least with Catholic school teachers, we may find that the commitment to a functional community implies a positive and active orientation to civic life, including collective responsibility for volunteering and community service.
5. Directions for Future Research In terms of an overall assessment of the literature on religion and teachers in the U.S., the weight of the evidence supports the view that religion and moral orientations make a significant impact on teacher roles and practice. We should note, however, that much of the available evidence focuses on public school teachers. And often the religious school literature only indirectly addresses the impact of religion on teacher roles and practices. These works shed light on the dimensions of faith at work for teachers, but provide little research that is designed specifically to understand teacher value orientations and their impact in religious schools. The literature does provide several potential directions for research, which are not systematically addressed in the extant literature. What is the extent and impact of a sense of "calling" among religious school teachers? Is there a relationship between religion and an ethic of personalism among religious school teachers? To what extent is this ethic simply rhetorical versus actually shaping the structure and quality of social relationships in the religious school community? How does pedagogy vary according to religious and moral orientations of schools and teachers? How does the relationship of religion and teacher conceptions and practices vary by gender, social class, religious tradition, and the organizational culture of the religious school? Each of these questions deserves more attention than is currently found in the literature on religious schools. Several Research Projects would make strong contributions to the literature on value orientations and teacher practices. One seminal work,97 focused almost exclusively on public schools, has catalogued and weighed the socialization messages in public schools, providing a model of what needs to be done with a sample of religious schools. The research design attempted to outline the forms of value socialization in public schools,98 including the messages that are found in teacher-student classroom interactions. In religious schools, parallel research could investigate sacred time in religious school classrooms, such as devotions, prayer, and Bible reading. This research would also consider the informal socialization messages that are "hidden" in routine classroom practices--i.e., the "hidden curriculum"99. In public schools, the use of centers, versus "seat work" in which students work individually at their desks, as well as token economies, in which students are offered tangible rewards in return for good behavior or work, constitute the public school curriculum.100 What are the forms and distribution of various hidden curriculums in religious schools? How does this vary by religious school sector? Socialization messages are also found in the use of public space, including bulletin boards and school walls and displays. But we do not have systematic information on differences in these socialization messages across religious and public schools. Brint et al. also provide evidence on the distribu-
97 See BRINT / CONTRERAS et al. 2001. 98 See ibid. 99 DREEBEN 1968. 100 See BRINT / CONTRERAS et al. 2001.
Theo-Web. Zeitschrift fьr Religionspдdagogik 8 (2009), H. 2, 160-179. tion of value messages,101 but we lack a comparison with religious schools. What is the distribution of traditional moral virtues (e.g. honesty, fairness, courage, etc.) and modern values (individual uniqueness, respect for group differences, etc.) in religious schools? In public schools, the organizational control imperatives push teachers toward socialization messages that primarily demand work effort and orderliness from students. In religious schools, we need research on the extent that teachers emphasize the regulation of self and relationships, such as the values of respect, considerateness, participation, and self-direction. But we lack a careful study of socialization messages in religious schools. A final potential direction is research that searches for connections between value orientations of religious school teachers, the context of the religious school, and Effective Teaching practices. Other research has shown the importance of classroom management to successful teaching. The argument is that a warm but strict style of "disciplining" students as well as legitimate authority established by the teacher is a key mechanism for keeping students on task in a classroom. Perhaps religious resources at the teacher and school level could support effective teachers, since these resources may be supportive of an effective style of classroom management and teacher-student interaction. The functional community in religious schools may buttress teacher authority in a way that improves classroom management. Teaching may be improved, perhaps because time on task will be enhanced, when teachers combine commitments to personal relations with students and to addressing moral issues and upholding moral standards in the school and the classroom. This is one possible pathway from value orientations of teachers to more effective teaching that has yet to be explored.
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101 See BRYK / LEE et al. 1993.
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