About the Summer Institute
The Religious Literacy Summer Institute for Educators is an annual intensive professional development program for in-service educators at the high school and community college level. Educators are introduced to methods for teaching about religion in ways that are pedagogically rich and constitutionally sound. This goes beyond simply introducing foundational concepts in religious studies. The RPL uses critical pedagogy to teach about religion, using religion as a starting point for broader conversations about power, justice, and peace. Summer Institute participants learn how to use discussions about religion to help students critically examine the cultural norms and social structures they take for granted, and to imagine new possibilities for building a more inclusive democratic society.
Update, 4/29/21: The 2021 Summer Institute will include only self-paced online components. These self-paced modules on foundational ideas in religious literacy and critical pedagogy will be available in early may. Due to challenges posed by the pandemic and as well as programming changes, we will not be holding live conversations on Zoom this year.
The Institute is open to educators teaching at the high school, and community college levels in any discipline. We encourage educators to consider how they can incorporate the study of religion to enhance what they already teach, rather than creating entirely new lessons or courses. One-to-one support from RPL staff and fellows is offered during the Summer Institute to assist educators in this process.
Thanks to a generous gift from the Once Here Foundation, the Institute is free of charge. Space is limited, and applications are highly competitive. Applications for 2021 are now open. For future institutes and other programming, subscribe to our newsletter for updates.
What teachers said about the 2020 Summer Institute
"This institute has changed the way I will teach all of my classes. The principles of the Religious Literacy Project and the cultural studies method will help me and my students make everything we learn in the classroom more meaningful to life outside of the classroom."
"I feel so prepared with tools to help my students critically engage in the world to develop their consciousness and connectedness to their own agency and creativity. I firmly believe because of these principles and ideas I have learned here my students will be more engaged citizens in the world that reproduce a democratic, justice-oriented society."
"Although this was the RLP's first year to hold the summer session online, the team created a robust learning environment and promoted interconnectivity among the educators. I have taught at a university for the last ten years, but have had few opportunities for this type of rich engagement and collaboration. The RLP conceptual framework promotes critical thinking and an understanding of the contextual nature of our cultural assumptions and behaviors, particularly with regard to religion. I have already begun to update my syllabus and assignments to reflect RLP methods."
"Thank you so much for doing what you do and providing a place where hope and optimism can still live (a small statement for a large sentiment). I felt so validated and encouraged and inspired and that is hard to come by these days. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
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