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Religious education for gifted and talented pupils.

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Presentation on theme: "Religious education for gifted and talented pupils."— Presentation transcript:

1 Religious education for gifted and talented pupils

2 Identifying pupils gifted in RE Range of levels within which the great majority of pupils are expected to work Expected attainment for the majority of pupils at the end of the key stage Key stage 11-3At the age of 72 Key stage 22-5At the age of 114 1: Academic achievement—majority expectations

3 Identifying pupils gifted in RE AT1: Learning about religion AT2: Learning from religion 6 Interpret/ informed account Express insight 5 Explain impactExpress views 4 Show understanding Apply ideas 3 DescribeMake links 2 Retell/identifyRespond sensitively 1 Name/recogniseTalk about 2a: Level descriptors used to assess attainment

4 Identifying pupils gifted in RE AT1: Learning about religionAT2: Learning from religion 3 Describe: e.g. label a picture of Shiva to show links with Hindu beliefs about God Make links: e.g. compare Jesus’ relationship with the disciples to their own with friends 2 Retell/identify: e.g can tell the story of the birth of Jesus; can identify some forms of worship Respond sensitively: e.g. to say it was ‘mysterious’ when God spoke to Moses 1 Name/recognise: e.g talk about the story of Divali, recognise a church, name a symbol such as ‘Star of David’ Talk about: e.g. talk about special feelings, happenings, what is important to them. 2b: Gifted and talented at key stage 1

5 Identifying pupils gifted in RE AT1: Learning about religionAT2: Learning from religion 6 Interpret/informed account: e.g. produce a booklet explaining symbolic acts in the life of a Buddhist monk or nun Express insight: e.g. produce a presentation on ‘war’ with reference to religious and non-religious ideas, including own conclusions 5 Explain impact: e.g.write about the Hajj, explaining why Shi’a Muslims would also visit the tomb of Ali Express views: e.g write a poem or short story which raises questions about ‘truth’ and relates to one’s own search for meaning 4 Show understanding: e.g.draw and label a religious building, indicating important features for believers Apply ideas: e.g. write an imaginary interview with a person, in which they describe their ethics and beliefs 3 Describe: e.g. label a picture of Shiva to show links with Hindu beliefs about God Make links: e.g. compare Jesus’ relationship with the disciples to their own with friends 2b: Gifted and talented at key stage 2

6 Identifying pupils gifted in RE 2d: Examples How would you assess this piece of work? The lost sheep—I've brought him home. The artist Emily Groome (aged 8) comments: “I knew this story very well from my literacy and RE lessons. My picture shows the Good Shepherd bringing home the lost sheep. It’s a turning point for the story because now the Sheep is safe and free from danger. I’ve made a collage from torn paper. We had been talking about the custom of well dressings* that are a tradition in Derbyshire where I live. I decided to make a collage to represent the well dressing, using torn paper instead of flower petals. It’s a good picture to make anyone feel safe.” Prize winning entry in Spirited Arts 2004 competition. Theme: the turning point of the story *Well dressing is a custom practised in rural England in which wells, springs or other water sources are decorated with designs created from flower petals.

7 Identifying pupils gifted in RE 2b: Examples The Next Step Consumed by fear, standing before the blazing red bush in the desert, Moses would never have believed he would soon lead an entire race to the salvation they had so long awaited. No—he had to concentrate on the present, on his mission. The burning tree flows into the manna, on which the Israelites were nourished: physically and spiritually, they depended on this strange dew from Adonai. The Israelites would feed on this as they skimmed the waves of sand to the Promised Land…but we aren’t up to that yet: Moses still needs to find the strength to follow Adonai’s will. As ever, in the midst of every step of the way to safety and sanctification, Adonai is ‘the one who is always there’. The words are engraved in Hebrew in the never-ending sky… and in the hearts of millions as they make their own steps in life. This piece of work was assessed at level 6 for interpretation and insight, level 7 for coherence, analysis and evaluation.

8 Identifying pupils gifted in RE 3: Practical tips Talent in religious education is not quite the same as general talent: it may be specific to RE. Gifts and talents in RE come in a variety of shapes, from logical to spiritual, critical to creative. All deserve to be noticed and nurtured. Showing an RE talent is often—but not always—congruent with language skills. Evidence of achievement may be spoken, creative, dramatic, or written, and overall a balance is desirable.

9 Very able pupils…Exceptional pupils… Easily provide the right answers Are highly interested in big questions Often offer good ideas Work hard at RE Work well in the top group Listen keenly and learn easily Grasp meanings of faith and belief Finish assignments quickly Are receptive to teaching Absorb information Use language in sophisticated ways Retain a lot of information Enjoy presenting ideas clearly Are alert Are pleased by their RE learning Ask more questions Are driven by insatiable curiosity Have wild and improbable ideas Test well, but also mess about Are beyond the group Know already and show strong opinions Draw new inferences from religion Initiate own work (i.e. may not do as asked) Are intense Manipulate information and ideas Inventive and creative with religious language Guess a lot, with style! Thrive on complexity and quirks Are exceptionally observant Are self-critical (i.e. appear perfectionist) Based on ideas from “Able Pupils in Kirklees’, LEA 1999

10 Christianity’s first gifted and talented pupil? Christ disputing with the scribes (detail) Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1308-11 “When he was twelve years old, [Jesus and his parents] went up to [Jerusalem for the Passover]. After the feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind … Thinking he was in their company, they travelled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.” (Luke 2: 42-47)

11 Sikhism’s first gifted and talented pupil? “Nanak appears to have continued to attend school for some time. One day he was observed to remain silent, and not apply himself to his books. The schoolmaster asked him why he was not reading. Nanak inquired, ‘Art thou sufficiently learned to teach me?’ The schoolmaster replied that he had read everything. He knew the Vedas and Shastars, and he had learned to cast up accounts, post ledgers and daybooks, and strike balances. Upon this Nanak said, ‘To your accomplishments I prefer the study of divine knowledge.’” (From The Life of Guru Nanak, Max Arthur MacAuliffe, Oxford University Press [1909].) Guru Nanak’s father takes him to school, From an illustrated Janamsakhi (‘birth story’), 1733

12 A spectrum of gifts Gifts and talents in RE come in a variety of shapes, from logical to spiritual, critical to creative. All deserve to be noticed and nurtured. Imaginative use of symbols: e.g. Jesus speaking in parables Empathic understanding of religious experience: the ability to go into that quiet inner space and ponder, e.g. Muhammad meditating on Mt Hira Development of critical thinking: e.g. the long history of Jewish exegesis (“explanation of scripture”) found in the Rabbinic literature Logical insight: e.g. the Buddha’s exposition of the four noble truths Creative expression: all of the above

13 Gifted and talented responses to a specific task Where is God?

14 Task: “Where is God?”Response: “God as Colour” Sophie Ward, age 10, was in year 5 when she completed this task. In response to the assignment she wrote: “This picture shows God as colour. It means each different colour means a different feeling or mood. I liked this idea because if you group all the moods together it makes God. I used bright colours because they mean happiness, joy and fun.”

15 Task: “Where is God?”Response: “Where indeed?” Meredith, age 12, created a 3-D corridor in which, at the far end, a hunched figure sits. The words on the floor tell the story: “There was a man who suffered every day and night. His sadness radiated from him and his anger burned like fire. He sat in the dark at the end of the corridor. He asked: ‘Is there a God? If there is, why does he let me suffer?’ No answer came, only silence. He curled up and cried..”

16 Task: “Where is God?”Response: “Seek and you will find” Dannielle, Olivia and Katie (all aged 15) who submitted the above to the 2006 Spirited Arts competition commented: “We have not answered the question. But we have suggested how to go about answering it. Seek and you will find…”

17 Workshop task Brainstorm ideas for a 4-day RE summer school for G&T pupils Heaven: How we talk to God The artist, Lewis (age 7), comments: “Talking to God is like talking to a friend. Sometimes God sends angels to speak to people like in the Christmas Story. And sometimes God sends the ladder so people can go up to Heaven. The angels help Him a lot.” Lewis was one of the winners of the 2005 Spirited Arts competition, theme “Where is God?” (

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