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Signs of Quality in Religious Education: What are the key indicators that a school is providing good RE? As HMI concentrate on SMSCD, and schools seem.

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Presentation on theme: "Signs of Quality in Religious Education: What are the key indicators that a school is providing good RE? As HMI concentrate on SMSCD, and schools seem."— Presentation transcript:

1 Signs of Quality in Religious Education: What are the key indicators that a school is providing good RE? As HMI concentrate on SMSCD, and schools seem to struggle ever harder to give the subject an hour a week, good teachers are determined to give pupils quality learning. What re its key features?

2 “I find myself, a 38 year old married man with two children, loving my job, reasonably content most of the time, with periods of ecstasy and spells of gloom, and yet for reasons both explicable and inexplicable I wish I could find a God to believe in. It ought to be simple – decide to believe, stop being a smart-arse, find a church, temple, mosque, woodland ritual, statue of a thing, special book or ritualistic dance, and get stuck in. I know a great number of people far cleverer than me who believe in God without any trouble at all. So why can’t I?” Copyright RE Today 2012

3 “Though I seek to express myself through comedy a lot of the time, there are some things I’m deadly serious about, and the desire for a workable and available Deity in my life is one of them... I wish there was a God. I wish for that God to exist now and for all time. I wish to be fully conscious of God and more importantly for Him to be fully conscious of me. I wish for God to be powerful, infinitely wise, kind, loving, fair....” How would God reply? Copyright RE Today 2012

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7 What makes it good RE? High quality real life stimulus Driven by a big question Open to pupils’ individual responses Demanding and challenging of their intellectual skills Fun Copyright RE Today 2012

8 Spiritual development – growth in understanding of spirituality and in skills and qualities of spiritual development such as hope, courage, reflection, compassion Moral development – increasing understanding of and commitment to what is good and right and rejection of wrong, bad or evil. Social development – engaging with relationships and community in increasingly empathic, dynamic and creative ways for the wellbeing of all Cultural development – developing wide and deep appreciation of my identity and its expression in arts, sport, dress, celebration et al. The same appreciation grows for the diversity of others’ cultures. Personal Development through RE: the subject makes an holistic contribution to spiritual, moral, social and cultural development Copyright RE Today 2012

9 The milk and the jasmine flower Guru Nanak believed that everyone is equal. Rich or poor, sad or happy, brainy or practical: God sees everyone equally. Nanak and Mardana were travelling to a new city in India 500 years ago. He was such a famous holy man that the news about his arrival spread, and before he even got to the city gates, the holy men who lived in the city were talking about him. They were worried! They knew Nanak was a truly good and holy person, and they had promised to try to be good like him. But they had actually been greedy and unkind. They were scared of Guru Nanak’s arrival. He might show them up! They decided to send a messenger with a bowl full of milk as a gift to say that there was no room for anyone else in the city: as the bowl was full, so was the city, and they were sorry that they could not receive Nanak and Mardana. Would the Guru and his companion please go somewhere else?

10 As Guru Nanak walked up the road to the city gates, the messengers met him, carrying the gift of a large bowl, full to the brim with fresh milk. “Our holy men send you this milk, and apologise that they cannot receive you’ said the messengers. ‘Our city is already too full of holy men. You could go somewhere else.” Nanak sat down with the messengers and the bowl. Before he drank any, he picked a jasmine flower from a wayside bush and floated it on the top of the milk. Not a drop spilled out. He looked around the group before he spoke, with a smile: “I think the city is not quite full” he said. “As the flower finds space in the full bowl of milk, so there is always room for more holiness in the world.” The flower floated on top of the milk and not a drop was spilt: there was room for it!

11 The messengers went back into the city and told the holy men what had happened. They suddenly saw the stupidity of what they had tried to do, and felt sorry that they had tried to send Nanak and Mardana away. They threw open the city gates and asked Nanak and Mardana to stay with them, and teach them how to fill their city with good things. Why did the holy men of the city try to stop Guru Nanak from coming? What makes people feel ‘shown up’? Have you had this feeling lately? (You could talk with a partner about this) Why do you think Guru Nanak did the experiment with the jasmine flower, instead of just marching in to the city? “The world is not full enough of...” Can the class think of lots of things that we need more of, in the world today?

12 These children have heard the story. What do you think they might be doing next?

13 “There is always more room in the world for...” Mess? Mod roc? Craft activities?

14 “There is always more room in the world for...” Crafty RE is usually fun and can be profound

15 “There is always more room in the world for...” Children had lots of good ideas about the qualities that will make a better world

16 Friendship Encouragement Hope Harmony Praise Justice Courage Co operation Love Wisdom Truth Patience Sharing

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18 Display of the bowls made by Charlotte’ White’s class: “There is always more room in the world for...” On the next set of slides, you will see the work the children wrote about this activity. They explain their spiritual words carefully. These children are all 8 or 9 years old, a mixture of girls and boys. Which one do you like best? What would you write?

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23 “We told the children they were going to read a story from the Sikh faith. We used the story of the Milk and the Jasmine Flower. Children had not done much study of the Sikhs before, so we introduced the religion using basic information through a PowerPoint slide show. I asked children to think about how the story can influence the way Sikhs live and behave. After hearing the story, we talked about these questions: Was the bowl full of milk a symbol of something else? Why did Guru add a Jasmine flower? What was his purpose in doing this? What effect did it have on the other people in the story? I introduced the craft activity we had planned to the children: each one had to make their own bowl out of mod roc, and an origami flower. I asked them to think about something that the world can always use more. Just as Guru Nanak taught there is always more room for holiness, goodness, generosity or kindness, so I wanted them to think of the wise word they felt there should be more of in the world – and the classroom. This was a key aim: to enable children to choose a spiritual virtue they really think matters.” Charlotte White, Year 4 Class Teacher

24 The children had to think of their own single spiritual word which they believed would have a positive impact on others. We spent some time talking about other symbols in story (there’s a literacy link to metaphor and symbolic language) before moving on to making origami jasmine flowers. This gives the children a practical time when they may also think more about the story. Then we matched up some ‘wise words’ with some common symbols: peace / dove / caring / holding hands / love / heart; I’d made a PowerPoint of internet images and asked children which wise word went with each symbol or image. Children discussed what they thought each image or symbol represented. When they had made the mod roc bowl, children decorated and painted these with paint and oil pastels, applying their own symbols and design ideas. They put their jasmine flowers into the bowl, and we encouraged them to share the reasons they had for choosing their spiritual word. We set up a writing activity for children to reflect on the reasons why they felt sure there is always room for more love, care or kindness in the world.” Charlotte White, Year 4 Class Teacher

25 What makes it good RE? Good RE sometimes... High quality real life stimulus Driven by a big question Open to pupils’ individual responses Demanding and challenging of their intellectual skills Fun Uses authentic simple material Sets simple and accessible activity Builds spiritual development into learning Opens minds Copyright RE Today 2012

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27 Guidebook for the journey of life: Notice the man selling guidebooks. These might be guidebooks for the journey of life. If you were asked to write the first page of the guidebook for the journey – what would you say? What advice would you give? Pick a route: Notice the starting point – the baby in the pram leaving the hospital. The baby is setting out on her life journey. If you could choose the route for her – where would she go? What would you include and what would you avoid? Why have you picked this route? Does a good life mean no suffering or do we need the stormy times too? Buildings: Notice the buildings on the journey. 8 shops, 2 sheds, religious buildings, a wedding chapel, a hospital – if you could take one thing from each building to help you on your journey of life, what would it be and why? Shopping: If you could choose something from only four of the shops to help you on your journey of life which would you choose and why? Put these four in order. Which matters most of all to you? Can you say why? Now think about someone who is a Christian, Muslim, Jew or another religion: what would they choose and why? Before and after: This map shows the journey of life – but what about what happens before we are born and after we die? Show your ideas using pictures / symbols / colours and words. Fold a sheet of paper diagonally. Bottom left: what you think came before this life? Top right: show what you think / believe happens after this life. Do the same for a Hindu or Christian. Copyright RE Today 2012

28 Emily, 7, has given us two great ideas about life before birth and life after death. The scaffolded structure enables her to put the ideas down in a controlled way. This shows some of the value of creative thinking in RE Copyright RE Today 2012

29 Thomas Butler has charted life’s journey as he sees it. Can he consider reflectively and sensitively some questions about life as a journey? Does he need to get some different viewpoints as well? Copyright RE Today 2012

30 10 year old Catherine from Meadowside PS gives her introduction to the guidebook to life. Copyright RE Today 2012

31 What makes it good RE? Good RE sometimes... High quality real life stimulus Driven by a big question Open to pupils’ individual responses Demanding and challenging of their intellectual skills Fun Uses authentic simple material Sets simple and accessible activity Builds spiritual development into learning Opens minds Relates to the child’s own life clearly Provokes deepening reflection on life and belief Creates time and space in which deeper thought can develop Connects religions with children in dynamic ways Copyright RE Today 2012

32 SACRED SPACES in RE Visiting the Place of Worship Deepening Encounter with the Natural World Better ideas for the church / mosque / mandir /synagogue visit in RE Can better enquiry learning boost RE? How do we use natural world ideas to deepen engagement? Do children have special spaces of their own? Can they express this as sacred?

33 Friendliness, peace, thoughtfulness: Purposes of sacred space? Before the visit, ask pupils to think about the school building and grounds. Where in school is the friendliest place, the most thoughtful place, the most peaceful place? When the class rare agreed about this, take them to these three places, and do something friendly at the friendly place (Affirmation exercise? Group hug?), something thoughtful at the thoughtful place (Read out some poems? Ask big questions?) and something peaceful at the peaceful place (listen to music? Gaze into the clouds?). Record this activity in 3 photos with a digital camera – get the children to do this. Copyright RE Today 2012

34 Enquiry method: what, how, who, where, why? Questions: Plan the visit, to Mosque, Gurdwara, Church or Mandir, carefully with the pupils. Consider how the five enquiry questions can be used to get the most out of it that they can. Build in to the visit as many opportunities to answer the enquiry questions as possible. It is very valuable to have a member of the community present for the visit, to answer children’s questions (even better than having them give a talk). Senses: it works well to ask pupils to record what they see, hear, touch, taste, smell, feel and think during the visit. A recording sheet can be provided for this. Make space for them to notice the atmosphere of the building, for example by having them sit quietly, or lie on the floor, while a piece of sacred text is read, or a short piece of sacred music is played. Notice as well there are some things ‘not to touch’ and that believers might taste, but visitors might not. Copyright RE Today 2012

35 Purposes: make sure that the enquiry is not just into the outward features of religion. Remind the children of the friendly, peaceful and thoughtful places in school (above). Ask them to agree which places in the holy building are the most friendly, peaceful and thoughtful – this is about the reasons why worshippers come to the place. Ask them also to think: where would be the best place in the building for believers to feel close to God? How can you tell? Why? Again, digital photos of these four places are a great way to record what the children learned and thought about. Outcomes from the work done on a visit Time to follow up. Teachers might plan to use literacy, art and RE lessons creatively following the visit. Don’t let the experience go cold before following up the thinking. Creative, thoughtful, written: ask pupils to make a record / recount of the trip, but also encourage them in every way to do creative writing and artwork that draws on the experience of the visit. E.g: Suppose the place of worship was destroyed: what the community do? If you could choose four things from the place of worship to explain its importance, what would you choose and how would you explain? Imagine the building is personified (Y6 literacy) What story could it tell of ‘A week in my life’? Copyright RE Today 2012

36 “We chose the old font for a friendly place because it is where every baby is welcomed into church Copyright RE Today 2012

37 A thoughtful place. “Because when you look up to the top it makes you wonder if God is there.” Sam, 10. Copyright RE Today 2012

38 A peaceful place in the church: set up by pupils in year 5. They were asked: what seven words sum up what the church is trying to do for its community? They arranged harvest festival tins to show their idea. They said: This church makes Peace by: Sharing Action Responsibility Generosity Caring Giving The tins of food and the circle of chairs represent how people in the community share with people in need. This makes peace.” Copyright RE Today 2012

39 God’s presence: “You might feel close to God if you look at the candle because Christians think God is the light of the world” Aiden, 11. Copyright RE Today 2012

40 Design and create an image of your own sacred space – the space that makes you realise your own deep thoughts

41 The most spiritual place: House in the Tree by Daisy Timpson age 9 I’ve done spiritual space.The girl is to represent me. I put me in a tree house because I have a tree but not a tree house and I would like one. I think when I can’t get to sleep so I’ve done a bed. I hope people will notice that it’s a tree house because that is the main thing to do with my art work. Doing this picture has made me think in a different way to when I normally do art. What I like best about my work is my windows because I like animals. I have done plants to make it special in its own way. Some of the windows with animals show that the world is full of life. My tree house in my mind is a special space to me. Copyright RE Today 2012

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43 “My photo shows the view at dusk from the beach at Ryde on the Isle of Wight towards Portsmouth. I holiday on the Isle of Wight every summer. Being in Ryde in particular – my favourite place on the island – makes me forget my worries and responsibilities and I can just relax. I took this photo at around midnight, when my brother and I sat on the beach. The sea seemed so vast and mysterious: there are countless things about it that we do not know. It’s so powerful it’s almost alive. The lights reminded me of how far mankind has come: we started out with no knowledge of the world or how to survive and now we have huge cities and electricity. The night sky made me feel incredibly insignificant. The vastness of the sea and the sky is quite frightening, and makes me think that nothing so huge could come about by chance and that therefore there must be some form of God.” Joe Cook is 14 Copyright RE Today 2012

44 What makes it good RE? Good RE sometimes... High quality real life stimulus Driven by a big question Open to pupils’ individual responses Demanding and challenging of their intellectual skills Fun Uses authentic simple material Sets simple and accessible activity Builds spiritual development into learning Opens mindsRelates to the child’s own life clearly Provokes deepening reflection on life and belief Creates time and space in which deeper thought can develop Connects religions with children in dynamic ways Links AT1 and AT2 clearly Enables many teachers to ‘get it’ Requires pupils to be researchers or enquirers themselves Has spiritual depth Enables better knowledge of religions. Copyright RE Today 2012

45 High quality real life stimulus Driven by a big question Open to pupils’ individual responses Demanding and challenging of their intellectual skills Fun Uses authentic simple material Sets simple and accessible activity Builds spiritual development into learning Opens minds Relates to the child’s own life clearly Provokes deepening reflection on life and belief Creates time and space in which deeper thought can develop Connects religions with children in dynamic ways Links AT1 and AT2 clearly Enables many teachers to ‘get it’ Requires pupils to be researchers or enquirers themselves Has spiritual depth Enables better knowledge of religions. Copyright RE Today 2012


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