Year group and subject. Year 2. National Curriculum, PSHE, KS1, 2c, 2f, 4b, 4c and 4d. Religious Education – Sikhism. The Traditions of a Sikh Wedding. The joining of 2 souls and 2 families.
Why its important to have multicultural resources in school Raises childrens awareness and empathy towards other faiths (Brown. 2001, p.110-111) Use of Persona Dolls (Brown. 2001, p.114) Visual environment brings learning alive (Edwards. 1998, p.28) Always consult with parents and other community members (Brown. 2001, p.110) Helps children celebrate together the similarities and differences in their lives (Knowles and Ridley. 2005, p.19)
Why its important to have multicultural resources in school Libraries, posters and displays (Edwards. 1998, p.25) Multicultural resources support diversity – which must be embedded in a whole school ethos (Knowles and Ridley. 2005, p.19) The mention of the religious festival Diwali or colouring Rangoli patterns in an attempt to be multicultural is tokenistic if these example are used in isolation. (Browne & Haylock. 2004, p.189) Avoid tokenism – teachers have become very aware of the dangers of tokensim:sometimes characterised as the 3S approach, saree, samosa, and steel band, in the UK (Edwards. 1998, p.25)
Activity 1 Compare and contrast a typical Christian wedding in a church, with a traditional Sikh wedding in a Gurdwara. This will include all areas of the wedding, from food to what you would wear (Pierce. 2003, p.125). This will allow the children to make a comparison between the two traditional events, making children aware of how religions, events and festivals can be dramatically different. This direct comparison is essential in a predominantly white classroom environment, especially at a young age, as children may have a limited knowledge of the differences in religious festivals, and this is needed for diversity in learning. This will provide the children with a bridge from the familiar, to the unfamiliar, developing understanding of the two religions (Jacques and Hyland. 2007, p.156)
Activity 2 Children are asked to bring in pictures of a member of their family, carer or friends wedding, as children are naturally curious about differences about themselves and their friends (Browne and Haylock. 2004, p.191) These can be used to compare with the other children in the class, to show how diverse weddings can be, even in the same religion or culture. Something that needs to be addressed here is that not all children will be able to access a wedding photograph for many reasons, and so if this is the case, they may be able to draw a picture representing a wedding, or get a picture from the internet or magazine. These pictures could then be compared with pictures of Sikh weddings, noting all of the differences that they can think of between the pictures. In a predominantly white setting, it is possible that many of the pictures brought in by the children will be of a very similar nature, and so the teacher could supply some more diverse examples of weddings, so that the children have a wider understanding of this area.
Activity 3 Construct a time line in pairs, of the events of a Sikh wedding. For this they would need to cover from the agreement of the parents, to the large meal after the marriage ceremony. (Pierce. 2003, p.125) To do this children could use a computer, or a more artistic way, using pictures to represent what is happening at each stage. This will make the children see the full length of a Sikh wedding, and how it is not like a traditional British wedding, as it goes on for a much longer period, and there is a much more traditional feel to it. This is extending the childrens learning of differences of festivals and traditions across different regions.
Activity 4 For the final activity, the children can divide into groups of 4 and produce their own still images from one aspect of the Sikh wedding. For this the children use their own bodies to create a three dimensional still photograph (Woolland. 1993, p.50). For example the family giving them gifts of money in their lap or them walking round the Sri Guru Granth Sahib worship book, or a family member giving the groom marital advice as done at the end of the ceremony (Baldwin. 2007, p.100). This will make the children think more about what it would be like to be involved in a Sikh wedding and pick an area that they think would be important to a couple getting married at a Sikh wedding and it also shows the children have understood the key concepts and traditions of a Sikh wedding.
Misconceptions The childrens understanding of other beliefs may be minimal. Making sure year 2 children are not given too much information to process. across age phases, teachers gave clear guidelines for children about the tasks they were asked to do; staff provided explanations and invited questions before each activity began. (Blair & Bourne. 2000, p.200)
Misconceptions Parents understanding plays a vital part, if the parents don't fully understand they may not want their children learning about Sikhism. Staff need to be patient, caring, tolerant, flexible and need to be able to communicate effectively with parents. (English & Newton. 2005, p.26) Respecting other religions – Making sure children are aware that some people have different beliefs to their own. We have to extend childrens identity as learners and break down stereotypes. (English & Newton. 2005, p.8)
Teachers Issues You must never make assumptions about the potential achievement of children based on stereotypical views of group identity. (Cole. 2002, p.155) All teachers now and in the future, need to be well equipped to meet the demands of inclusive education. (Cheminais. 2006, p.1)
Teachers Issues Worries over saying the wrong thing I feel very self-conscience about talking about issues of migration and the ill-treatment received by immigrants in front of a Pakistani born woman (Pearce. 2003, p.283-284). To celebrate both similarities and differences in children's lives. (Brown. 2001, p.111)
Teachers Issues Parental notification and parental consent. Inclusion of cultural and linguistic differences, help children to develop their identity and self esteem (Siraj-Blatchford and Clarke. 2001, p.67). The little boy who, seeing Panjabi on the computer in his nursery, called out in disbelief Look, thats my language on the screen (Edwards. 1998, p.25)
All effective teaching begins from a positive attitude and a desire to achieve what is best for all pupils in a class (Rose & Howley. 2007, p.13)
Bibliography Bashir, B. Sikh Marriage, Bradford, UK: Nabwood Grammar School, http://www.ngfl.ac.uk/re/sikhmarriage.htm. (accessed 7/10/08) http://www.ngfl.ac.uk/re/sikhmarriage.htm Blair, M. & Bourne, J. (2000) Making the Difference: Teaching and Learning Strategies in Successful Multi-ethnic Schools. Case Study 3, London, UK: DfES Brar, S. (1998) A Sikh Wedding, http://www.sikhs.org/wedding/. (accessed 7/10/08)http://www.sikhs.org/wedding/ Brown, B. (2001) Combating Discrimination: Persona Dolls in Action, Staffordshire, UK: Trentham Books Browne, A. & Haylock, D. (2004) Professional Issues for Primary Teachers, London, UK: Sage Publications. Cheminais, R. (2006) Every Child Matters: A Practical Guide for Teachers, London, UK: David Fulton Publishers. Cole, M. (2002) Professional Values and Practice for Teachers and Student Teachers, London, UK: David Fulton Publishers.
Department for Education and Employment (DfEE). (1999) National Curriculum for England, London, UK: HMSO. DfES. (2003) Aiming High: Raising the Achievement of Minority Ethnic Pupils, Nottingham, UK: DfES. Edwards, V. (1998) The Power of Babel, Staffordshire, UK: Trentham Books. English, E. & Newton, L. (2005) Professional Studies in the Primary School, London, UK: David Fulton Publishers. Knowles, E. & Ridley, W. (2005) Another Spanner in the Works: Challenging Prejudice and Racism in Mainly White Schools, Staffordshire, UK: Trentham Books. Markham, I. (1996) A World Religious Reader Second Edition, Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing. Nesbit, E. (2005) Sikhism A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Pearce, S. (2003) Compiling the White Inventory: The Practice of Whiteness in British Primary School, Cambridge Journal of Education. Vol.33, No.2, p.273-288. Pierce, E. (2003) Multi-faith Activity Assemblies, London, UK : RoutledgeFalmer Publishing. Rose, R. & Howley, M. (2007) Special Educational Needs in Inclusive Primary Classrooms, London, UK: Paul Chapman Publishing. Senker, C. (2005) Weddings, London, UK: Wayland. Sikh Missionary College (1998) Sikhism: A Faith for the Modern Man, Jalandhar, India: New Verma Printing Press. Sikh Missionary College (1999) Basic Principles of Sikhism, Jalandhar, Inida: New Verma Printing Press. Singh, G. (2003) Religion & Ethics-Sikhism: Sikh Weddings, http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/sikhism/ritesrituals/weddings. shtml. (accessed 7/10/08) http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/sikhism/ritesrituals/weddings. shtml Siraj-Blatchford,I. and Clarke,P. (2000) Supporting Identity, Diversity and Language in the Early Years, Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.