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Secondary School Religion Teachers at AAR
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This annual, one-day meeting brings together nationally recognized scholars and secondary school religion teachers from around North America to make contacts and hear about new developments in the study of the major religious traditions of the world.

When: Friday, November 22, 2019
Where: San Diego, California 
United States

Online registration is closed.
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EARLY BIRD!  Register before September 20th and receive $25 off registration for event. (Note to members: the early bird price when registering will reflect your member savings and early bird savings combined).

CSEE Member Schools: $200

Non-Members: $250


Note: It is possible to attend this event remotely. CSEE will live-stream the presentations for those who are unable to attend in person. Please select the "Online Stream Ticket" option at check out.


Target Audience

This event is for upper school world religions teachers and others interested in teaching world religions.


About this Event 

This annual, one-day meeting brings together nationally recognized scholars and secondary school religion teachers from around North America to make contacts and hear about new developments in the study of the major religious traditions of the world. Scholars will share their latest research, and secondary school teachers will share information about projects they are working on and classroom activities. 


Attendees at this event receive a discounted rate ($90) to attend the proceeding American Academy of Religion Meeting (this event takes place on Friday, and AAR runs Saturday, Sunday, Monday). Once registered for CSEE's meeting, a link will be emailed to register for the reduced rate at AAR. Please call CSEE with any questions: 800.298.4599.


This event will take place Friday, November 22nd from 9am-4pm in San Diego. Please check back this summer for the room assignment. 

Presenters / Presentations

Dr. Natalie Williams is a Religion Teacher at Saint Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, NJ, a Jesuit high school for boys. She received her PhD in Christian Social Ethics from Drew University with an emphasis on sexual and familial ethics. Her first book, For Better, For Worse: The Ethics of Divorce After Marriage Equality is forthcoming from Lexington Press. In addition to teaching classes in Christian Ethics and New Testament, Natalie co-founded and leads school-wide, grade level specialized programming on gender justice and leads the Yoga Club at Saint Peter’s Prep.


Purposeful Change in the Religious Studies Classroom: Tips with Big Impact from James Lang's Small Teaching

This workshop will explore how aspects of James Lang’s Small Teaching techniques can be applied to the high school religious studies classroom. I will reflect on the usefulness of these tools in my own teaching of Christian Ethics at an all-boys Jesuit Catholic high school, particularly their effectiveness for structuring activities that explore race and gender. Attendees will have an opportunity to think through how select techniques from Small Teaching may be useful in their own classrooms.

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Dr. Nathan McGovern is Assistant Professor of Asian Religions at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He received his PhD in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2013. In addition to those two institutions, he has also taught at Franklin and Marshall College and Dalhousie University. His most recent publication is The Snake and the Mongoose: The Emergence of Identity in Early Indian Religion, which was published by Oxford University Press.

See more about his work here:


Protestant Presuppositions in the Coverage Model for Teaching Buddhism

The introductory Buddhism course is a staple of undergraduate Religion programs and as such a course that I have taken as an undergraduate, TAed as a graduate student, and taught as a professor. The typical way of teaching this class is to teach the three “vehicles” of Buddhism that developed in India (Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana) during the first half of the semester, followed by a survey of the three major regions of Buddhist Asia (Sri Lanka and SE Asia, East Asia, and Tibet and Mongolia) in the second half. In the AAR Buddhist Pedagogy Seminar on Sunday, I will be presenting a paper explaining how I teach Buddhism differently so as to avoid a “coverage model” of teaching and instead guide students to thinking more intelligently about religion in general. During the CSEE meeting, I will share my approach to teaching Buddhism, which I hope will be useful to those who teach religion in secondary schools. I will begin by explaining the theory that goes behind the way in which I teach the class. Central to the theory is the increasing recognition by Buddhist Studies and other Religious Studies scholars that the study and perception of Buddhism and other Asian religions in the West has been profoundly shaped by certain Protestant presuppositions about the nature of religion. Then, I will explain how the theory informs the way in which I teach the course: by having students read Thich Nhat Hanh’s Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching in the first half and then having them do independent research to critique it in the second half. Finally, since I do not have experience in teaching secondary school students myself, I will open the floor to questions and discussion so that together we can explore how this approach to teaching Buddhism at the undergraduate level might have implications for the teaching of religion at the secondary level.

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Dr. Kate E. Soules is an education researcher and curriculum developer specializing in religious literacy and teacher education. Dr. Soules recently completed a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at the Boston College Lynch School of Education and Human Development. Her most recent research focused on the impacts of professional development courses on public school teachers’ understanding of religious diversity. She is a 2019-2020 recipient of the Religious Literacy Fellowship from the Foundation for Religious Literacy. As a faculty member and curriculum specialist with the Religious Freedom Center (RFC) of the Freedom Forum Institute, Dr. Soules has developed graduate-level online and blended learning courses on religious liberty and religious literacy as well as an on-demand professional development platform for K-12 educators. Dr. Soules is the co-founder and director of the Religion and Education Collaborative (REC), an interdisciplinary network of scholars and practitioners interested in questions related to religion and schooling, which convenes regularly for members to share work and resources and to build community. She holds a Masters of Theological Study from the Boston University School of Theology and a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from Wellesley College. 

Unpacking the Components of Religious Literacy for Educators

Religious literacy is a very broad concept and can become even more complicated when applied in the classroom. This presentation will introduce a framework to break down religious literacy into five components specific to the K-12 classroom context. It will also discuss the findings of a longitudinal study of 120 educators participating in professional development courses about religious literacy and the ways in which this study shaped the development of the framework. Drawing on research in pedagogical content knowledge and religious literacy, the framework is applicable to educators in multiple subject areas and grade levels. Participants will have the opportunity to explore a self-assessment tool to assess their own strengths and areas for growth within each of the components of religious literacy. The presentation will leave participants with a deeper understanding of what it means to be religiously literate in a school context.



There are several hotels in the area. If you are attending the AAR proceedings, AAR has worked out great rates for hotels, as they are a big operation and can get good bulk deals. Here is the link to their hotels / rates:

And here is a link for more information on making reservations:



  • The best thing about this event? “Looking at new ways and pedagogical tools to teach World Religions.”
  • “Many perspectives from true experts in each field. Loved the variety of pedagogy, philosophy, and model syllabi.”




Please see CSEE's Event Policy to learn more about cancellations and refunds.


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