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Teaching as Jesus Making: The Hidden Curriculum of Christ in Schooling


by Kevin J. Burke & Avner Segall — 2015

Background/Context: The ideas of teaching as salvation and teacher-as-martyr are not new concepts. Prior research, however, has largely failed to explore the historical and cultural religious roots that continue to inform the ways in which teachers are constructed. That is, though prior work has engaged with thinking about religion and thinking about teachers as saviors, little work has been done to uncover the hidden curriculum of teaching that positions teachers as versions of Christ in the public school classroom.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: Here we highlight the fact that certain elements inherent in the act of public teaching have their roots in Christian, particularly Biblical, thinking. Such connections highlight the religiosity in teaching, regardless of whether a teacher is a Christian believer.

Research Design: The work is an analytic essay, drawing on critical traditions in cultural studies and curriculum theory.

Findings/Results: We illustrate that although we think of teaching as a secular activity and assume that religion has been expunged from public, including teacher, education, the sediments of religion remain present in how the teacher learns to imagine, construct, and enact his or her work as teacher as savior and martyr.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 117 Number 3, 2015, p. 1-27
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17809, Date Accessed: 6/24/2017 11:31:12 AM

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About the Author
  • Kevin Burke
    University of Notre Dame
    E-mail Author
    KEVIN BURKE is a faculty fellow with the Institute for Educational Initiatives at the University of Notre Dame. His interests center on the ways in which religion, gender, and sexuality become the curriculum of schooling. His most recent book, with Palgrave Macmillan, is College Student Voices on Educational Reform: Challenging and Changing Conversations; other recent work includes the article “Toward a Theory of Liking” in Educational Theory.
  • Avner Segall
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    AVNER SEGALL is interim chair of, and associate professor in, the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University. His research and teaching interests focus on critical theory/pedagogy, cultural studies, teacher education, and curriculum studies, with a particular emphasis on history/social studies. Recent work includes “Revitalizing Critical Discourses in Social Education: Opportunities for a More Complexified (Un)Knowing” in Theory & Research in Social Education, as well as “Reading the Bible as a Pedagogical Text: Testing, Testament, and Some Postmodern Consideration About Religion/Bible in Contemporary Education” in Curriculum Inquiry.
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