FC: How Children Understand Religion By: Rachael Duff, Jess-Marie Gracia Pamela Dimovitz, Anthony Cintron, and Travis Frantz (Learning Community)
1: The Early years in a child's life are pivitol. during these years, the child begins to develop. For instance, he or she learns to walk, speak, and read. Religion is an overlooked aspect of child development. This book looks at five learning theories and their impact on how children learn religious concepts from a psychological perspective.
2: We observed children learning religion first hand at the following 3 services: first; a Roman Catholic service in Palmerton, pennsylvania (saint john neumann), second; a Jewish service in a synagogue (temple israel in lehighton, pa), thrid; an Evangelical Christian service in trexlertown, pa (faith evangelical free church). these are our findings.
3: Symbols, rituals, and social interactions were used in the service to convey value. The use of symbols is prominent in all three religious services. For instance, The roman catholic service and the evangelical christian service included the cross, which is a symbol if god's selp-sacrificing love. In addition, catholics prayed on their knees, bowed their heads, and folded their hands which symbolized their humbleness to god. Finally, Catholics shook hands with people during the service and used the phrase, "peace be with you". This act symbolized the teachings of jesus. Jesus taugh his disciples to love their neighbors as he loves mankind. Some additional symbols observed in the catholic church and the evangelical chruch included the lighting of the candles and the blessing from the holy water. the sacrament of reconciliation symbolizes god's forgiveness of all sins.
4: However, the meaning of symbols varies depending on the religion at hand, such as the Jewish service in a synagogue. for example, each of the candles on a menorah represents the seven days of creation and The cross signifies jesus' death to save humanity. During a prayer, kneeling and folding hands shows respect for god. Many other symbols are presented throughout the rest of the book.
6: The services were memorable to the child because of these certain things discussed. The bright banners on the wall proclaiming religious truths (obedience, the armor of god, etc.) are attractive to a child. children may notice the actual pieces of fruit used in the service to explain the fruit of the spirit. In addition, the child will remember the audience's motions that were performed, with the songs, to teach biblical truth. the chalkboard is utilized to illustrate visual representation of the book of joshua during the service. This gives the child experience with using visual to picture ideas inside his or her mind. In addition, puppets were used as visuals. The puppets show a real experience, which stimulates memory. a bible verse painted on the wall, in color, charms a child's mind. The verse was repeated often so that a child would remember it because repetition is a key part of the learning process.
7: During our three observation, the chilren witnessed and participated in the worship of god. This includes being involved in prayers, songs, offerings, communion, memory verses, and the lighting of the menorah. for example, the children participated in the worship of god at the Evangelical service. At Nine o' clock in the morning, Children sang songs of praise to the lord. They stood and sang out of repesct to their parents and peers around them. The children prayed together at the end of the service, they gave an offering or "money" to the church, and They also memorized Scripture. In these ways, children learn at a young age that rituals and tradition are central to many religions.
8: these religious symbols make abstract concepts concrete for followers. An example of an abstract concept is the concept of god's love. Children cannot fully understand the idea because it is not tangible. God's love can only be shown through the scripture. However, The teacher talked about jesus and his love through stories to help children have a better understanding. The gospel, which is basically jesus' biography, told by Mark, Matthew, luke, and John and made it easier for children to understand. THe bible takes an abstract idea such as God and allows humans to make sense of it. A specific example that is used to teach children the concept of the trinity involved an apple. The trinity is a crucial catholic belief. When Jesus refers to the father, the son, the holy spirit in the scripture, he is talking about one god. The teachers explain this complex concept to the children by comparing the idea to an apple, which is a tangible object. The apple has the skin, the fruit, and the core. All of these parts are different but, they are still characteristics of one apple. This allows children to understand the difficult concept of three different things as being part of one unified thing.
9: During our observations, the children paid attention to the service but, they were easily distracted. Pastors, parents, worship leaders are Individuals in the service whose behaviors are likely to be imitated by children. These people are highly respected and some small children recognize this. As a result, children look up to them so they know how to participate in service. For example, the children play or sing when their parents or a priest prays or sings. Also, most of these people are kind, generous, and funny. The children obtain some, if not all, of these characteristics from spending time with individuals in the service.
10: An observation took place, in sunday school, at the Faith evangelical free church. The teacher, Mrs. Allegra, discussed the Book of Joshua with the class. Once she summarized the Book of Joshua, she asked the children a variety of questions and they responded with answers. THroughout the whole discussion, each child was rienforced by operant conditioning, which is "a process where reinforcing or punishing consequences of a childs action affect behavior" (Cook, 2007, p. 18). An example of operant conditioning was when mrs. Allegra used encouraging words such as "good try" and "great job" to reinforce good behavior after each child answered different questions. But during the class discussion, there were other children who were easily distracted by their peers. Mrs. Allegra used a form of negative reinforcement to decrease their behavior. When the boys became disruptive by talking to their friends, Mrs. Allegra put her hand on the boys head. WHen she did this, the boys' knew they had to quiet down and pay attention.
11: Indigenous Religions and Social Learning Theory
12: The Explanation of Indigenous Concepts and Their Connection to Social Learning Theory in David Wisniewski's Rain Player
13: Indigenous religion deals with connecting or joining together all sacred things. For example, in the Rain Player, the young man connected with many wild animals on his journey. He used the animals, that were very powerful, to help him conquer the impossible. Most people would overlook this, but the indigenous people believe that every plant, animal, person, and living things has its place in the world. This religion believes that the ultimate goal in life is harmony. It's not about what they believe in but more of why they believe in it. THey find a reason for being in every life form, even the simplest of creatures. Throughout generations, many stories are used describing great mythical creatures and also the great adventures that the individual encounters along their way. They give each creature its own personality and use that animal to describe themselves as a person. They also believe that everything is based on the tribe, as a whole, and that individualism does not occur. FOr instance, if something is wrong with one person, the entire tribe is at risk. They work together to devel0p the understandings of sacred phenomenons. The indigenous people believe that their tribes are important for the good of the community. The Social Learning THeory allows children to observe and imitate people's behavior. This theory mainly focuses on learning mainly language and cultural influences. Bandura states that "children do not always need reinforcement or punishment to shape their behavior; sometimes they act in imitation" (Cook, 2007, p. 16-17).
14: The indigenous religion is based on the book Rain Player, Children are more likely going to imitate Pic. Throughout the book, pic defeats the rain god Choc at Pak-A-Tak in order to bring rain to the people. WIth the help of his friends the jaguar, the quetzal, and the cenote he was able to defeat Choc. Pic's faith in him allowed him to help the community by giving rain back to the villages during the great drought.
16: Hinduism Religion and Behaviorism
17: Hindu's place a strong emphasis on karma, which is the idea that every cause has an effect. The better one's karma, the higher s/he will be born in the next life. Behaviorism implements a system of rewards and punishments by a change in external behavior, as illustrated in One Grain of Rice by Demi. | Examples of How Roni and the King's External Behavior Affected the Outcome of the Story: --- Because the King was selfish and kept all of the grain for himself, he was later punished for being greedy and lost all he had (negative karma). --- Roni was rewarded because of her patience and selflessness when she helped to feed the entire community (positive karma).
18: Judaism and cognitive development theory (Piaget)
19: Abstract thought allows a person to think about things that are not real or things that are only possibilities such as courage, self-sacrifice, deception, and trickery. Abstract thoughts such as those listed, are applied in the story of Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. In the book, Hershel exhibits those abstract qualities to defeat the goblins and light all seven candles. | Examples of Judaism and its Relation to Cognitive Development Theory | Abstract thought is applied in multiple ways. One ways is when Hershel exhibits courage when he stands up to the goblins in the house. The second way is when he exhibits self sacrifice when he volunteers to light the candles because no one else wanted to do it. Lastly, when Hershel exhibits deception when he lies to the goblins to get what he wants in order to light the candles.
20: Connections between judaism and cognitive development | Cognitive Development Theory is "a theory that focuses on how children adjust their own understanding as they explore and learn about the world" (Cook, 2007, p. 17). This is related to Judaism in many ways. There are many concepts in Judaism that a child will not fully understand until they reach a certain age, such as the concept of The Golden Rule. Children cannot understand meanings such as this "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." With time, however, as the child grows wiser and see's this idea in practice, The Golden Rule becomes ingrained into his or her behavior.
22: religion and information processing theory
23: Information Processing Theory is "a theoretical approach focusing on how children perceive, store, and retrieve information, and on the strategies they use to solve problems" (Cook, 2007, p. 18). | One example of information processing is music. Songs and rhymes are taught to children to help them learn certain Biblical concepts (ie. songs teaching the Ten Commandments). | Some other examples also include the bright colors that grab the attention in the book, pictures relating to the story, and the actual book itself.
24: Sociocultural Theory (Vygotsky) and the Significance of the Story One Grain of Rice
25: Sociocultural Theory "focuses on how language and culture (values, beliefs, norms) influence cognitive development of children."
26: A major role in Sociocultural Theory is interaction. The child is able to grasp concepts of the major themes in One Grain of Rice by summarizing what the parent read to the child, predicting what will happen next, and answering questions with an adult figure. One example of stimulating social interactions would include the questions on the next page. Once the child is able to connect with the parents, they can learn different concepts from the book such as sharing, self-sacrifice, consideration, patient for others, and a sense of community.
27: What happened to the king because he was so greedy? | What could have happened to Roni if she hadn't returned the rice? | Did you like the book? What didn't you like about the book? What did you learn?
29: As illustrated, children can learn religion in a variety of ways. These five learning theories are just the beginning. A combination of these five theories work best, rather than issolating each and working with them separately. through the use of these theories, children develope and leanrn religios concepts from a young age to adulthood.
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31: Work cited continued... Picture on page 20: Judaism. (n.d.). Harvard College Interfaith Council. Retrieved March 14, 2009, from Progressive Jewish Alliance Web site: http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~hic/judaism.html Picture on Page 18: Jewish men Muslim children. (2009). Flickr. Retrieved March 14, 2009, from http://www.flickr.com/ photos/damonlynch/2071419523/ Picture on page 19: Hersehel and the Hanukkah Goblins. (n.d.). Amazon. Retrieved March 15, 2009, from http://www.amazon.ca/Hershel-Hanukkah-Goblins-Eric-Kimmel/dp/0823411311/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_i/ 191-4050945-6146013 Picture on page 21: Religion and ethics of Judaism. (2009). BBC Home. Retrieved March 15, 2009, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/judaism/
32: Work cited continured... The three picture on page 22: Pictures of Religion. (2009). Flickr. Retrieved March 15, 2009, from http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=pictures+of+religion&s=int The three pictures on page 23: Pictures of Music. (2009). Flickr. Retrieved March 15, 2009, from http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=pictures+of+music&s=int pictures The three pictures on page 24: Luong, Q. (n.d.). Islam. In Terra Galleria. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www.terragalleria.com/photos/?subject=islam The two pictures on page 25: Luong, Q. (n.d.). Caodai. In Terra Galleria. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www.terragalleria.com/photos/?subject=caodai Picture on page 26: pictures of rice. (n.d.). MSN Image live search. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://search.live.com/images/ results.aspx?q=large+pictures+of+rice+filterui%3aimagesize-desktop_w_1024+filterui%3aimagesize-deskto p_h_768&FORM=I6IR#focal=390275dd92a3e74d1438b3dc1d790462&furl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.brucelawson.co.uk%2Fpl ogger%2Fimages%2Fthailand%2Ffood%2Fimg_6243__large_.JPG
33: Work cited continued... Picture on page 27: Dogan Elementary Students Join National Effort to “Make a Difference” . (2007). Hisd Connect.Retrieved March 16, 2009, from https://www.houstonisd.org/HISDConnectDS/v/ index.jsp?vgnextoid=3c5a8236a92f5110VgnVCM10000028147fa6RCRD&vgnextchannel=b70aaf955fdef010VgnVCM1000 0028147fa6RCRD Pictures on page 28 and 5: Yahoo.com/Yahoo images Religious concepts presented throughout the book: Jameson, A., Dr. (2009, January 22). Religions. Lecture presented at Lehigh Carbon Community College, Schnecksville, PA. World of Children concepts presented throughout the book: Cook, J. L. (2007). The World of Children. MA: Pearson Education, Inc. Book references: Wishiewski, D. (1997). Rain Player. New York: Mifflin Co. Imprint. Demi.(1997). One Grain of Rice. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc. Hyman, T.S. (1989). Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.