Literary analysis and the Catholic optic in Catholic high school English classes
The ways that English teachers in Catholic high schools incorporate religion into their teaching of literature were investigated. After observing six English teachers at five Catholic high schools, findings were studied, compared, and contrasted for their theological content as it pertained to the Catholic religion. The ways that teachers engaged the powers of students' souls (intellect, will, memory, imagination, and emotions) during instruction were noted. The results indicated that the teachers planned lessons that integrated religious and moral topics into their class discussions, improvised and shared comments about the literature reflecting their personal Catholic perspectives during instruction, or avoided all religious topics that arose during class. Engagement of the powers of the soul other than the intellect was rarely planned, but at times evolved during instruction. Further research is warranted in order to consider the ways that literary topics manifest themselves for consideration in Catholic high school religion classes. Cross-curricular efforts between religion and English teachers could be considered as well. Studies of students' attitudes concerning reflection of literature from a Catholic perspective would assist English teachers in preparing lessons that would encourage adolescents to apply Catholic teachings to the topics of literature that include metaphysical themes and considerations.