World Religions Syllabus

US186: Survey of World Religions
Syllabus 2013
Meeting: T,R,O,J, A/N days, 18 weeks
Place: Rm. 106
Time: Period 5: 12:11-12:58
Period 6: 1:02-1:49
Period 7: 1:53-2:40
Instructor: Danielle Kelleher
Office Hours: 3-3:30 T/W, and by
“Religion is an inseparable part of every people’s culture. To misunderstand a people’s religion is to
misunderstand the people. Such misunderstandings have often led tragically to prejudice, persecution,
and even war. But in the understanding of one another’s religious tradition, we take a great step forward
towards tolerance and a peaceful coexistence.” –Rev. John Monestero, Sacred Journeys
Course Description:
In this day and age, globalization enables people to communicate and interact with people of varied
cultures and backgrounds. A key to understanding others is recognizing their beliefs and values about
life. A deep and informed awareness of world religions will allow students to be respectful of the many
people they will come across in the course of their lifetime.
Beginning the with the world’s earliest known religious traditions, students will go on to study Hinduism,
Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. After a brief review of Judaism and Christianity, students will
complete their study world religions with Islam. Within each of these religions, students will examine
beliefs, practices, sacred texts, and art.
Course Objectives:
Through participation in interactive lectures, class discussions, and collaborative small group activities,
students will be able to:
 Identify the geographical regions of world religions
 Explain the roots of beliefs of various world religions
 Analyze sacred texts of world religions
 Describe practices and rituals of world religions
 Make connections between aspects of world religions and their own religious convictions
 Compare and contrast facets of world religions
 Partake in varied prayerful experiences, such as yoga and meditation
Course Materials:
Brodd, Jeffrey. World Religions: A Voyage of Discovery. Winona, MN: St. Mary’s Press,
2009. Print.
Binder (any size) filled with college ruled paper and a divider tabs OR
(OR!) Notebook with college ruled paper
Blue or black pens
A pack of post-it notes (any color)
Course Schedule:
We will cover each world religion in roughly two to three weeks, or 10-12 class meetings. These will be
presented in interactive lectures and discussed in further detail through related assignments and
activities. Each unit will include a written test at the end as well as a performance assessment (a related
project or extended writing activity). Most units will also include a quiz mid-way through the unit to
encourage students to begin reviewing material early on.
The religions will be studied in the following order:
The nature of religious traditions: religious questions and the seven dimensions of religion
Early religious traditions (Australian, African, North American, Mesoamerican)
Confucianism and Taoism
Judaism and Christianity
Respect: The best learning environment is one that involves a high level of respect of every person in
the classroom, be it a student, teacher, or staff member. This includes respecting others, their property,
and their contributions to classroom discussions. In such an environment, students feel comfortable to
speak their mind, discuss topics openly, and work collaboratively, enhancing the learning experience.
If a student threatens to disrupt the respectful learning environment, by interrupting others or by causing
other distractions, appropriate steps will be taken to re-direct him or her. These are described on page 10
of the Walsingham Academy Student and Parent Handbook. Students will receive a warning and parents
will be notified. If the student persists in being disrespectful, the student will receive a detention and use
the time to work out a written plan to re-direct his/her energy. Continued warnings may result in a
lowered Citizenship Assessment score, which can affect Honor Roll eligibility (Handbook, 7).
Responsibility: High school is an integral time for developing personal responsibility. Students will be
expected to act responsibly in the following areas:
1. Timeliness and Attendance: It is imperative that students attend class regularly and arrive on
time. Absences and tardiness can interrupt the learning process of the student and the class
as a whole.
2. Make-up work: It is the student’s responsibility to contact the teacher to see what work
needs to be made in case of an absence. If a student is absent, the teacher may ask him/her
to write a short analysis or reflection of the day’s topic in lieu of participation in the discussion.
Students must also meet with the teacher to re-schedule missed tests.
3. Late work: Late work will be reduced by 10% per day, regardless of whether or not the
student has world religions class that day. Students should strive to plan ahead and turn in
assignments on time.
4. Honor Code, Dress Code, and cell phones: The Handbook will be strictly enforced. Please refer
to p. 12, 16-21 for details.
Participation: 10%
Class work: 15%
Homework: 15%
Quizzes: 20%
Tests: 40%
Participation: The participation grade involves contributing to class discussions and working goodnaturedly with others when in small groups. It also involves arriving to class on time. If a student arrives
to class on time the entire semester, she/he will receive a ‘homework pass’ to be used on time in the last
two weeks of the semester. If a student arrives late to class more than three times in a semester, each
time the student is late, a half of a percentage point (from the final grade) will be deducted each time,
from the participation category.
Quizzes: A quiz will be given in the middle of most units, to encourage students to begin reviewing
material. Although unlikely, a pop quiz is a possibility if students do not keep up with readings.
Tests: Tests are not limited to written tests, but may include performance assessments (projects or
extended writing assignments). Students will be informed of this with ample time. Performance
assessments will be assigned with a rubric to give students a clear idea of what is expected.
Final Notes:
---I am very excited to further explore world religions with you this year. I look forward to your thoughtful
insights and questions, which we will work through together. I also welcome your input regarding our
classroom community and learning.
---The study of theology offers an opportunity for not only intellectual development, but also spiritual
questioning and growth. I hope that we will seize this opportunity together.
--- Finally, please do not hesitate to speak with me if you have concerns or struggles at some point in the
year, school-related or otherwise.
Peace and Joy,
Danielle Kelleher
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Please sign and return this bottom portion by 1/16. Thank you!
I have read this document. I understand the expectation that students will speak and act respectfully and
responsibly in this course.
Student signature: _________________________________________________________Date:_______
Parent/Guardian signature___________________________________________________Date:_______
Best phone number(s) to contact parent/guardian:
Parent/Guardian email: _______________________________________________________________