Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


Leadership Studies


Catholic Educational Leadership EdD

First Advisor

Ursula Aldana

Second Advisor

Walter Gmelch

Third Advisor

Michael Duffy


Scholarship has indicated that Catholic, secondary school religion teachers in the United States are often not adequately prepared pedagogically and theologically (Aldana, 2015; Ramey, 2014; Schroeder, 2013; Cook and Hudson, 2006; Cook, 2001, 2000; Lund 1997). Rossiter (2011, 2010, 2007) and Crawford and Rossiter (2006) described aspects of a pedagogy that can be summarized as “Critical Interpretation and Evaluation of Culture” (Rossiter, 2011), where a number of different criteria and examples are described that can serve as a relevant pedagogy for religious education.

In a researcher designed, online, cross-sectional survey, 18 questions from relevant literature using both binary “yes / no” questions and Likert scales measured the frequency and importance of pedagogical practices related to how to help students interpret and evaluate culture. From November 9, 2016 to February 1, 2017, 119 Catholic secondary school religion teachers participated from three different Roman Catholic Dioceses: Oakland (n = 24); San Francisco (n = 45); and San Jose (n = 50) and included select demographic information.

Results from the survey revealed a perception among teachers of a strong application of items relating to students examining the shaping influence of culture, but an inconsistent application of the overall pedagogical principles. Results examined by demographic information related to education found teachers with a background in theology were more likely to emphasize justice issues in their classes (and less likely to emphasize research), while teachers with a background in education were more likely to emphasize research in their classes (and less likely the emphasize justice).