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W HO ’ S SCARED OF S ACRED SPACE ? Joyce Miller Lancashire primary RE conference, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "W HO ’ S SCARED OF S ACRED SPACE ? Joyce Miller Lancashire primary RE conference, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 W HO ’ S SCARED OF S ACRED SPACE ? Joyce Miller Lancashire primary RE conference, 2009






7 S ACRED SPACE Sacred space is any space - within the school grounds, the local community, the region, the nation, the world - where children can explore religious, spiritual and moral questions...

8 L EARNING OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM - LO T C Major government initiative to promote learning outside the classroom Eight separate sectors working together ‘Out and about guidance’ Health, safety, risk and benefit So, who’s scared............?

9 R ELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES ? Confidence and competence Visitors’ expectations ‘Representation’ – religion as it is, warts and all.

10 T HE QUALITY BADGE SCHEME FOR LOTC There are six quality indicators for ‘providers’: has a process in place to assist users to plan the learning experience effectively; provides accurate information about its offer; provides activities, experience or resources which meet learner needs; reviews the experience and acts on feedback; meets the needs of the users; has safety management processes in place to manage risk effectively.


12 B ENEFITS FOR ‘ PROVIDERS ’ Contacts with community members Links with local (and other) schools Contributing to children’s learning Sharing of outcomes – pupils’ work displayed Money!

13 A RE THE C HILDREN SCARED ? Fear Prejudice Boredom

14 B ENEFITS FOR CHILDREN (1) Children can engage first hand with religious communities: visits, interviews and research- i.e. Engage in ethnographic research Enables study of real people and breaks down stereotypes They can become ‘skilled cultural navigators’

15 B ENEFITS FOR CHILDREN (2) ‘Edification’ - the application of experience to their own lives Opportunity for reflection and the development of empathy Spiritual moral social and cultural development Aesthetic experience

16 A S IT SAYS ON OUR WEBSITE... ‘... getting pupils outside the classroom and into sacred space can not only improve the quality of religious education but contribute to pupils' spiritual development as well as giving many opportunities for exciting cross-curricular learning.’


18 P ARENTS ? Fear Prejudice Withdrawal clause Advice on how to pre-empt problems see

19 B ENEFITS FOR PARENTS Gives their children knowledge of the outside world Contact with difference in a safe space

20 T EACHERS ? Confidence Competence Bureaucracy

21 B ENEFITS FOR TEACHERS -1 Contribution to pupils’ cognitive development Understanding of religious concepts Interpretation of religious language and symbols Cross - curricular learning opportunities See this term’s RE Today for 10 tips on LOtC in sacred space

22 B ENEFITS FOR TEACHERS - 2 1. Contribution to duty to promote community cohesion 2. Appreciation of difference and awareness of commonality 3. Opportunity to explore key concepts of identity and community

23 1. C OMMUNITY COHESION - CHARACTERISTICS A common vision and sense of belonging for all Diversity is appreciated Similar life opportunities Strong and positive relationships are developed

24 C OMMISSION ON INTEGRATION & COHESION Shared futures – an emphasis on articulating what binds communities together A new model of rights and responsibilities A new emphasis on mutual respect and civility – strengthening social bonds within groups Visible social justice – prioritising transparency and building trust

25 2. C OMMONALITIES AS WELL AS DIFFERENCES Through exploration and engagement, find what is held in common between religions and beliefs Avoid focusing on the different and the ‘interesting’ The shared heritage of Judaism, Christianity and Islam should be explored.

26 3. I DENTITY ( IES ) AND COMMUNITY ( IES ) Key concepts They are organic, fluid and multiple They are not fixed and unchanging Explore what they mean with children and young people

27 F INALLY.... Two reminders and words of warning:

28 A VOID ASSUMPTIONS... Learning about religions will not necessarily promote community cohesion. At worst, it will increase alienation by focusing on ‘otherness’ Pupils bring their own preconceptions, prejudices and misinformation to the classroom. If they are not challenged, they will remain.

29 A ND REMEMBER THAT... Teachers are not defenders of faiths Don’t sanitise or homogenise religions Respect is not synonymous with indiscriminating tolerance Not everything religious is worthy of respect


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