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Date of Award

Spring 2017


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Document Type

Thesis: EWU Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA) in English: Teaching English as a Second Language




While cultural and ethnic diversity has been widely accepted and encouraged in the English classroom, training teachers in addressing religious beliefs and values has not been widely addressed. As a significant percentage of students and teachers alike identify with deeply-rooted beliefs, this thesis attempts to answer the important question of how we might incorporate such beliefs in a manner that promotes thoughtful dialogue and critical reflection for both teachers and students alike. This thesis includes a personal exploration of both spiritual and academic identities, and offers suggestions for how the two may converge rather than diverge in the classroom, which is found in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 reviews relevant literature about incorporating religious beliefs and values into pedagogical practices in both composition and TESL. Chapter 4 is a critical reflection on the author’s experience teaching at a small village school in rural Ghana as a novice ESL teacher. Chapter 5 offers example lessons for utilizing religious discourse in the English classroom, while also sharing the author’s experiences teaching such material in ENGL 112, a college-level course designed for multilingual learners. Lastly, this thesis concludes with the author’s final reflections and recommendations for further research in Chapter 6.