Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The purpose of this project is to argue that in order for social and emotional learning (SEL) goals to achieve their intended outcomes for students and society, religious pluralism must be reflected in student instruction. SEL involves the use of evidence-based practices to provide opportunities to develop competencies related to self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making which are intended to enable students to demonstrate morally appropriate actions and ethical decisions, which I am calling "right behavior."

It is my argument that one's understanding of right behavior embodies both implicit and explicit moral beliefs based on one's worldview which reflects a certain conception of the good life and the good society. In many cultures this concept is shaped by the dominant, organized religion of the group. However, the religious diversity in the United States since its inception led to an American tendency to privatize religion and avoid meaningful public deliberation of competing views of the good life and the good society. However, I contend that this paradigm is no longer adequate for equipping twenty-first century students with the background knowledge, critical thinking, problem-solving, and ethical judgment skills required for full participation in the social, political, and economic spheres of society. Instead, I am proposing a SEL-religious studies model that values religious freedom, equality, and neighborly affection, and recognizes the presence of moral and religious pluralism in American society.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.