2 IB World ReligionsWelcome to the school year! Congratulations on choosing IB World Religions, a demanding yet exciting course which emphasizes the development and practice of the major religions of the world today.This is a college level class in which you will be expected to do extensive outside reading, detailed writing assignments, and independent research.
3 IB Related IssuesIB course grades are weighted to reflect a greater level of achievement in terms of GPA and rigor in course work. This means grade of a C in an IB class is equivalent to a B in a regular class due to weighted grades.This class is designed to help you pass the IB World Religions assessment given in May. You may be able to receive college credit for passing the test, however each university makes their own determination or what score to accept in lieu of college course work. Colleges do look carefully at transcripts.Taking IB classes and attempting to pass the test rank very high for admissions consideration, especially at competitive institutions.
4 IB Related IssuesMany religious and cultural values will be explored; however no particular view will be favored over the others. IB World Religions reflects a global perspective, and study will focus not on facts, but rather overarching themes of religions.The course imposes a heavy reading and writing load throughout the year, and the demands on the students are equivalent to a full-year introductory college course. Students and parents should expect that there is some work/reading to be done almost each school night, and study time should be planned for various assignments.Students also need to understand that it is always required to read the chapters that are covered in class. Failure to read will lead to poor results in the class and on the IB exam!
5 Course Textbook and Resources Our textbook this year will be:Hopfe and Woodward Religions of the World. 12th ed. New York: Pearson Longman, TextbookStudents are encouraged to access e-text and additional resources online at
6 IB World Religions Themes Humankind has been concerned throughout recorded history with religious questions, such as the existence of God, the meaning and purpose of life and death, and the sense we make of our lives. In the contemporary world, religion has a significant influence on individuals and societies across the globe.The power of religion to both unite and divide affects believers and unbelievers alike. Therefore, religion in its varied forms is a distinctive realm of human experience that demands academic inquiry.In the context of the mission statement of the IB it is most appropriate to study a number of living world religions in a scholarly, open-minded and objective way.
7 IB World Religions Themes The Diploma Program world religions course is a systematic, analytical yet empathetic study of the variety of beliefs and practices encountered in nine main religions of the world.The course seeks to promote an awareness of religious issues in the contemporary world by requiring the study of a diverse range of religions.The religions will be studied in such a way that students acquire a sense of what it is like to belong to a particular religion and how that influences the way in which the followers of that religion understand the world, act in it, and relate and respond to others.
8 IB World Religions Themes The course consists of an introductory unit, exploring five to nine living world religions that form the basis of the syllabus.This is complemented by an in-depth study of two religions chosen from six world religions. This part of the syllabus is guided by themes, key concepts and key questions.The final component is the investigative study, which provides opportunities for individual research of an aspect of the religious experience, practice or belief of a group and/or individual adherents. In the study of world religions, the experiential dimension to learning is of great importance, and it is hoped that the course will be a catalyst for interactions with members of different faith communities.
9 World religions and the International Dimension The Diploma Program world religions course seeks to promote respect for the diversity of religious beliefs, both locally and globally, with the aim of enhancing international and inter-religious understanding.The course provides a very different perspective in this area. Students are encouraged to look at contemporary national and international issues regarding religion and how these may impact on ethical and legal issues.
10 World Religions and Theory of Knowledge In the teaching of IB world religions, a number of issues will arise that highlight the relationship between theory of knowledge and world religions. Some of the questions that will be considered during the course are identified below:What is a religion? To what extent is religion distinguishable from culture or ideology?Are religions created, discovered or revealed? What are the implications for religious knowledge?To what extent is religious belief rational? Are reason and emotion necessarily opposed in religious belief?Do people of differing religious convictions necessarily have different world views?Does the concept of religion exist in every society? If so, what are the implications of this knowledge?Who claims to possess religious knowledge and on what basis?What implications do religious beliefs have for other areas of knowledge? How do these vary from religion to religion?What implications does Nietzsche’s statement pose for morality when he says “God is dead”?What might Einstein have meant when he said “Religion without science is blind. Science without religion is lame”?In what ways does religious language differ from everyday language, and what does this tell us about religious knowledge?What is the role of intuition as a source of religious belief?What is the role of empirical evidence as a source of religious belief?
11 World religions aims1. promote an inquiring, analytical and empathetic approach to the study of religion2. develop an informed understanding of the diversity of world religions3. foster a respectful awareness of the significance of the beliefs and practices for the faith member4. develop an understanding of how religion affects people’s lives5. encourage a global appreciation of the issues surrounding religious and spiritual beliefs, controversies and movements in the world today6. promote responsible and informed international citizenship.
12 World religions aimsThere are four assessment objectives (AOs) for the Diploma Program world religions SL course. Having followed the course, students will be expected to do the following:1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of specified contentDemonstrate knowledge and understanding of five world religions chosen for the introductory unitDefine, understand and use concepts associated with particular world religionsDemonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of two religions reflecting different traditionsIn internal assessment, demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a specific world religions investigative study2. Demonstrate application and analysis of knowledge and understandingDemonstrate how the key concepts of a religion are expressed in the behavior of believersDemonstrate application and analysis of conceptsResearch, select and analyze material from both primary and secondary sources
13 World religions aims 3. Demonstrate synthesis and evaluation – Evaluate concepts associated with world religions– Synthesize by integrating evidence and critical commentary4. Select, use and apply a variety of appropriate skills and techniques– Select, use and apply the prescribed world religions skills in appropriate contexts– Demonstrate the ability to organize ideas into a clear, logical, coherent and balanced account- Evaluate the reliability of evidence and the chosen method of research for the internal assessment
14 Introduction to the study of religion The following questions should be considered as an introduction to the subject.What is religion?How do we study religion? Insider/outsider approaches.Which sources do we use and how do we interpret them?What makes an experience religious?
15 Chart of world religions Students will be introduced to a range of world religions reflecting different traditions, beliefs and practices, including religions in the following three groups:Group 1: Hinduism, Buddhism, SikhismGroup 2: Judaism, Christianity, IslamGroup 3: Taoism, Jainism, Baha’i
16 Fundamental questions The following three questions underpin the study of all world religions:What is the human condition?Where are we going?How do we get there?The syllabus specification focuses on core beliefs, but these should not be seen to exclude or restrict the diversity of beliefs and practices that are present within religions. When applicable, at least two different interpretations from different denominations and schools of thought will be applied to the questions in order for students to investigate the diversity of thought and practice that exists within a particular religion.
17 Course Activities A) Papers 1 and 2 (30%) Papers will be designed to simulate the IB Test. This will include both short answer and essay questions. Papers will include primary source documents and include analysis and evaluation. It is important to realize papers will cover assigned readings. Lecture topics are designed to supplement, not replace reading.
18 Course Activities B) Internal Assessment (20%) The internal assessment requires students to undertake an investigative study of an aspect of the religious experience, practice or belief of a group and/or individual adherents. Students are encouraged to plan visits to sacred places or buildings and make contact with religious adherents to stimulate an interest in the practice of a range of religions. These might well lead on to the selection of an individual study. Time will be spent with the whole class reviewing the nature of the internal assessment task, advising on the importance of a key research question, working on research methodology and explaining how the assessment criteria are applied to the task. Some individual time will be given to students to supervise the progress of their written analysis.
19 Course Activities C) Final (20%) Each semester will conclude with a cumulative final. Students will have an opportunity to show what they have learned over the entirety of the course, and should understand like a college course, can have a significant impact on their grade.
20 Course Activities D) Activity Packets (15%) Activity packets are due before the test covering the assigned reading. They include note cards and other activities from the chapters. Students are encouraged to do an historical inquiry or current event connection to get a higher score.
21 Course Activities E) Projects (5%) Both group and individual projects will be assigned to help review the course material.After the IB Test in May, enrichment projects will also be assigned
22 Course Activities F) Portfolios (5%) Students are required to keep their tests, essays, warm ups, essay and activity packets in a portfolio for each unit. These will be due at the end of each unit and should be kept throughout the course as they are very helpful in reviewing information for the exam.
23 Course Activities G) Participation (5%) Students are expected to participate at a high level in an IB class, both in answering questions and volunteering information for discussions. Students will be given warm-up questions at the start of class, and turn these in at the end of each week.
24 Course Structure The course will use the following grade scale; B: %C: %F: %
26 Course Structure Incomplete/Late work; Students with a verified absence must turn in work due and make up any assessment on the day they return to class in order to receive full credit. Students may make up work that is incomplete or below basic until the end of each unit for a maximum score of 3 (basic; 70%)
27 Course Expectations My main class rule is RESPECT. Be ready to learn. This means respect for me, your peers, and the classroom. No putdowns are allowed, even if you’re joking. Keep your hands to yourself. Use proper language and keep our room clean.Be ready to learn.This means stay in your assigned seat and work quietly. Pay attention and don’t use any electronic devices.Be ResponsibleThis means come to class and be on time. Make sure you are inside the classroom when the bell rings. The school attendance and tardy policy will be enforced, and grades can be lowered for missing too much class. If you miss class, find out the assignment.Do the Right ThingBe honest, have integrity. Do your own work. Stay positive; ask yourself how I can do better? Do whatever it takes to get the job done to the best of your ability. Don’t take shortcuts.
28 Course ExpectationsThe following consequences will be applied for rule violations;1st Warning: Verbal2nd Warning: Classroom Cleanup3rd Warning; Time Out/Detention4th Warning; Parent Contact5th Warning; Office ReferralYou are in an IB class; we work too hard for any distractions. If you can’t behave, transfer out!
29 Communication and Materials Course lectures, assignments, grades and other information are available on my website at;You may also contact me byor by voice mail (951) x3211Students will need a pack of index cards (100) and 3 folders to use throughout the year.
30 Thanks for taking my class I look forward to working with you this year!