Educators could be overlooking one resource for helping students develop. That is religion. Millions of young people worldwide gain stability, support, and direction from religion. Synagogues, churches, mosques, and other religious institutions frequently provide ethical guidance to these young people. Can schools use these organizations’ support to raise student confidence and resiliency? In short, the answer is YES!
To be clear, I am not advocating imposing one’s beliefs on others; this is not about attempting to make one faith more prevalent than others. Finding the organizations that help provide children with a solid foundation for positive identity development is vital to improving those students’ success rates. When society discusses ethics, she often turns to the legal system, judges, lawyers, and the courts to determine the minimum a person can do before breaking the law. Religious institutions can offer a different approach, one that encourages students to engage the two worlds in which all people live: the world of their dreams, how they hope the ideal world would be, and the world of reality, what they experience daily.
Guidelines For Successful Partnerships
How can we improve community support for the students while fostering a positive relationship between religious institutions and schools?
Creating Positive Partnerships Between Schools And Religious Organizations
To ensure students build confidence and resiliency, schools might partner with religious institutions and their multi-faith leaders to work with educators in interdisciplinary lessons focusing on value content living. Further religious leaders could volunteer their expertise with educators in the following way: Help sponsor a read-a-thon where students raise money by the number of pages or books they complete in a particular period, say one month. The students then can use the funds raised to learn practical math skills. Lastly, teachers and religious leaders can guide students in identifying toys and gifts they would like before Chanukah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. However, with the money they raise, they can purchase these items for other children less fortunate than them.
Exchange Of Social And Educational Capital
Religious educators are frequently skilled in interacting with children to make them feel safe, loved, and unique. Teachers and administrators know how to impart academic knowledge to make students feel secure and motivated. In addition, teachers could collaborate to share knowledge and skills to help students feel supported in the classroom and capable of succeeding academically. Another idea is that schools could invite faith-based clergy to participate in workshops for teacher professional growth.
Religious groups cannot support or oppose specific political candidates but can use their combined influence to fight for children. Religious educators can mobilize their congregations to write lawmakers, participate in policy discussions or host policymakers for speeches. In addition, communities and groups can let candidates know they will vote for candidates that promote equity and expand opportunities for all kids.
Supporting Religious Educators
Many educators consider their faith to be a part of their selves. The law forbids them from sharing in a way that would give the impression they are imposing their beliefs on students. Teachers who find strength and inspiration in prayer might feel more prepared to succeed in the classroom if they can communicate with other educators who share their beliefs.
Getting Over Barriers
We vary significantly between our thoughts and how we live out those ideas. We can all agree that too many children in this world live in challenging developmental environments. One way to assist these students is through learning and developing virtue-based ethics. Children may have a higher chance of succeeding if diverse religious communities concentrate on helping children with their needs rather than the disparities in their practices or beliefs. This approach could be one little step toward starting to create communities across boundaries.
All religions have their central tenets: love, justice, peace and grace, excellence and accomplishment, and learning and growth. These fundamental values are necessary to succeed in this competitive world.