Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Teaching Religion Resources

Here are resources that I have collected over the years for teaching religion.  They include both videos and websites.  Some, like the video series, My Life, My Religion and the Pluralism Project might be helpful to World History teachers who include the world religions in their curriculum.

I update this list here at my website about religion.

The Pluralism Project has terrific short essays for each religion, all suitable for student assignments. Click on Confucianism, for example, and you will see several essays about Confucianism today. Another essay reviews the growing popularity, or revival, of Confucianism.

Harvard Divinity School's Religious Literacy Project offers a terrific overview of the methodology we should use to study religion. I copied and adapted much of this methodology for my elective course. The methodology comes for Professor Diane Moore. Director, Religious Literacy Project and Senior Lecturer on Religious Studies and Education at Harvard. is an online platform of academic lessons based on 5 to 8 minute video clips. You have to create a teacher account and pay a monthly fee for which you can hopefully get your school to pay. Their courses on Religion 101, with chapters on each of the major religions, is terrific. Usually, college professors narrate the videos which all use animation. After viewing, students take and retake a five question quiz.

Generation Global is an education organization that puts together students from different cultures to discuss issues relating to religion and culture through online video conferences. My classes have participated in 15 or 20 conferences over the years and have enjoyed them. I wrote about a few of them in my blog. Here's a review of one about women rights and religion.

The CBC series, Little Mosque on the Prairie, is an excellent sit-com about Muslims in a fictional town in Mercy, Saskatchewan. It features a young Imam who has just moved to the town and confronts many stereotypes in a humorous way.

Not all episodes are suitable for the classroom but a few certainly are and help students to see Muslims as ordinary citizens. own's new Imam, Amaar Rashid.

Here is a review from the New York Times.

Unity Productions Foundation (UPF) is a non-profit film foundation. The mission of Unity Productions Foundation (UPF)" is to counter bigotry and create peace through the media." Their short film, Nadia's Ramadan, is a terrific nine minute overview of Ramadan from the perspective of a young American Muslim girl.

National Geographic's series, The Story of God, hosted by Morgan Freeman, has some excellent episodes suitable for class.

For example, one episode called The Chosen One, explores the founders of various religions from the current leader of the Lakota to a young Minnesota boy believed to be the reincarnation of an important Buddhist llama.


BBC Two made a series of short documentaries called My Life, My Religion. Each documentary is about twenty-eight minutes long and is shown through the eyes of a young teenager. The Hindu teenager is 14 years old, and the Christian and Muslim teenagers are 11 years old. The religious traditions included in the series are the three Abrahamic traditions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, as well as Hinduism, and Sikhism.

BBC Two has a terrific series about religion hosted by Pete Owen Jones called Around the World in 80 Faiths. You can stream the eight episodes here at Daily Motion and here is a link to the episode guide. Each episode focuses on a specific country or region like the Middle East or Australia and Pacific Ring of Fire.

Here's an interesting documentary about what it's like for a West Virginia Christian to live with a Muslim family in Dearborn, Michigan for 30 days.

Another episode explores what its like for an atheist to live with a Christian family.

Morgan Spurlock, who directed the documentary, was nominated for an Oscar in 2004 for a movie about McDonalds, called Supersize Me.

Finally, here's a link to a column I wrote for PBS about teaching religion along with the podcast below.

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