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Religious education for gifted and talented pupils (secondary)

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Presentation on theme: "Religious education for gifted and talented pupils (secondary)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Religious education for gifted and talented pupils (secondary)

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 33-7At the age of 145/6 Academic achievement—majority expectations

3 Identifying pupils gifted in RE AT1: Learning about religion AT2: Learning from religion 8 Analyse/ contextualise Justify views 7 Coherent accountEvaluate 6 Interpret/ informed account Express insight 5 Explain impactExpress views 4 Show understanding Apply ideas 3 DescribeMake links Simplified level descriptors used to assess attainment

4 Identifying pupils gifted in RE AT1: Learning about religionAT2: Learning from religion 8 Analyse/contextualise: e.g. conduct questionnaire and produce findings re: whether religions have a good or bad effect on different local communities Justify views: e.g. write a dialogue between a Muslim and a Hindu on how religious insights might save us from environmental disaster; articulate own conclusions 7 Coherent account: e.g. using books and internet, investigate Sikh beliefs about the importance of the Guru, and do coherent presentation Evaluate: e.g. research Jewish and Humanist views on ‘faith’ schools; produce a report with recommendations regarding an application for a new Jewish school 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 Gifted and talented at key stage 3

5 Identifying pupils gifted in RE: example 1 “Consumed by fear”, by Hannah, aged 15 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. Secondary section winner of Spirited Arts Competition 2005, theme: “the next step” Note: This piece of work was assessed at level 6 for interpretation and insight, level 7 for coherence, analysis and evaluation.

6 Identifying pupils gifted in RE: example 2 God: He lies in you People say that the presence of God is everywhere, I think that includes us. I believe that each and every one of us possesses Him. … I have included a mirror as a centre piece, when one goes to look at this artwork, symbolizing God, they see their own face. The image will be broken, however, because it is hard to see that God is part of each one of us. … The design itself like a stained glass window, something in a religious building like a church often described as houses of God; I think this aspect of my design is quite significant. It is a very personal thing and I am sure that not everyone agrees with my opinion… The main message my picture carries is that we can only use our own inner power, and inner spirits, to guide ourselves to a happier life to one day be accepted in whatever world awaits us after death. Jennie, Spirited Arts Competition 2005, “Where is God?”

7 Identifying pupils gifted in RE 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.

8 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

9 Christianity’s first gifted and talented pupil? Christ disputing with the scribes (detail) Duccio di Buoninsegna, “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)

10 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 accomplish- ments 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

11 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

12 Gifted and talented responses to a specific task Where is God? Examples taken from: Spirited Arts Competition Gallery

13 Response: “Hope reigns eternal: changing ideas about God” Jasmine, age 13: When I was younger I went to a church school where we celebrated harvest festival and lots of other occasions at the local church. We read from the Bible, sang a hymn and said a prayer every morning in assembly. I used to fully believe in God but as I got older and more mature I looked at the world around me and wasn’t so sure. My picture shows how I feel… I have chosen to have the lettering in letters from a newspaper because when…tragedies happen they are all over the news but people either don’t care or even if they do it soon becomes yesterday’s news. The title’s background is green because almost everyone believes that it’s greener on the other side. And most of those people believe that it’s God that takes you there… These things happen all around the world and are all very sad and mysterious…. Centre piece: the girl. She is surrounded by darkness and all the feelings that are written beside her. She may be troubled but the hope that is inside us all prevails over everything else. She has a thin line of light around her, protecting her. This symbolizes the hope. She is crying and her blue eyes symbolize a sea of tears. Her hand is on her heart, where God is…

14 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..”

15 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…”

16 The ‘twice exceptional’ Stewart Freshwater, a young man with Down’s syndrome, recently had his first solo exhibition sponsored by the Arts Council of Britain. Stewart started working with clay in 2003, when he attended the “15 Days In Clay” project. This Dorset-based project aims to inspire and nurture the creative development of disabled adults, in a professional ceramic art environment. Each person attending the “15 Days in Clay” project is encouraged to make their own decisions about what they want to make, and actively encouraged to explore all methods of construction and decorating processes. Through taking part in this unique project individuals find their practical knowledge of ceramics and creative skills developing as they progress towards becoming artists in their own right. Ceramic peacock by Stewart Freshwater

17 The special needs of gifted and talented pupils with learning difficulties or disabilities include: Help in coping with failure. Help in understanding that they are valued and not seen as a ‘problem’. To be involved in negotiating and setting their own targets. To be protected from undue pressure from parents or teachers to succeed. The necessity for a secure environment. Teaching strategies that help with the development of self-esteem, as they are likely to suffer twice-over from being ‘different.’ It is worth noting that these children are likely to display peculiar or disruptive behaviour, as well as signs of a fragile self image caused by increased self-criticism.


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