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Challenging Religious Education: Poverty and Social Inclusion as European Issues Brugge August 2010 Dave Francis:

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Presentation on theme: "Challenging Religious Education: Poverty and Social Inclusion as European Issues Brugge August 2010 Dave Francis:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Challenging Religious Education: Poverty and Social Inclusion as European Issues Brugge August 2010 Dave Francis:

2 What’s the Problem? 1. Poverty & RE 2. Social Inclusion & RE 3. Justice, Europe & RE 4. Challenging RE? 5. ????

3 What’s the Answer? Ask the President

4 1. Poverty & RE Poverty: can be absolute or relative. Lack of basic human needs such as clean water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. 2 USD is called ‘moderate poverty’: almost half of the world’s population. 6 m children die of hunger every year, 17,000 per day. Paulina Parhiala: ‘suppose you saw a child drowning’ See for examples of how this ‘distorts the map of the world.www.worldmapper.org

5 Poverty & RE: raising issues in the classroom  Varieties of Poverty: physical, spiritual, moral, social and cultural; poverty of ambition and expectation; access to IT; power and experience;  Climate change, land reform, economic inequalities, down-shifting, population growth;  The well-being and rights of fragile states and individuals: listening to their voices;  Religions: part of the problem or part of the solution?

6 Poverty & RE: factors to include in classroom strategies Active citizenship, inspired by faith and people of faith, such as Sister Adele Euphrasie Barbier. Engaging students to support charitable and justice initiatives. Social concern > positive action. Sensitivity to pupil poverty and exclusion. Chris Callus: ‘justice & charity for others’

7 Variety of meanings of ‘poverty’. Using art and film to stimulate thinking and debate about attitudes to poverty across the ages. Unpacking stories behind the art. Using students’ own questions. Hugo Verkest: ‘fishing, not shooting’ Poverty & RE: factors to include in classroom strategies

8 Visits to illustrate how provision for the sick and poor was started by the church and supported by wealthy patrons. Importance now of working with the municipality. Our Lady of the Potterie: ‘fighting with demons’

9 2. Social Inclusion & RE: raising issues in the classroom Freedom of religion & belief: plurality. Tolerance of difference > valuing diversity: Council of Europe. Knowledge and understanding of the beliefs and values of others, including non-religious beliefs. Democratic principles: the pupils’ voice. Bob Jackson: ‘link research, policy and practice’

10 Social Inclusion & RE: factors to include in classroom strategies Engaging students in controversial issues. Mutual respect. Teachers model how to talk about religion. Including all in the discussions through, e.g. paired work, line-ups, walking debates and scenarios. Norman Richardson: ‘dialogue among equals’

11 Diversity of religious expression within the school. Religious dress, food, symbols, etc. Religious observance in school or on visits. Reacting to the different and the new. Lesley Prior: ‘How much tolerance do we tolerate?’ Poverty & RE: factors to include in classroom strategies

12 Social Inclusion & RE: factors to include in classroom strategies Relationships at the core. Spiritual discernment. The ‘foot washing’ challenge. Turning the tables: who is helping whom? Stories of transformation. L’Arche: ‘Led by reality’

13 Inequalities  The more unequal the society, the more crime, teenage pregnancy, drugs, high prison population etc.  Our culture doesn’t leave us time to be with those we love, instead… Wilkinson & Pickett, 2009, The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, Allen Lane

14 Us and Them  Identity: being inclusive of all traditions.  Respect: for all backgrounds.  Democratic and creative pedagogies.  Power of religion.

15 3. Justice, Europe & RE Times Education Supplement, 30 Sept 2010

16 3. Justice, Europe & RE Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, 2008, Islam and the Secular State: negotiating the future of Shari’a, Cambridge, MA & London: Harvard University Press, p.1. ‘In order to be a Muslim by conviction and free choice, which is the only way to be a Muslim, I need a secular state. By a secular state I mean one that is neutral regarding religious doctrine, one that does not claim or enforce Shari’a – the religious law of Islam – simply because compliance with Shari'a cannot be coerced by fear of state institutions or faked to appease their officials.’

17 Civic Reason Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, 2008, Islam and the Secular State: negotiating the future of Shari’a, Cambridge, MA & London: Harvard University Press, pp.39,43,44. ‘Religion is an important force that competes with other life philosophies in the sphere of civic reason to influence policy, whether operating through organised religious groups or in the domain of personal views and beliefs… ‘Politics and religion do not operate in distinct realms, because each continually informs and is informed by the other… ‘The principles of constitutionalism, human rights, and citizenship,… can only work when they enjoy sufficient cultural and religious legitimacy to inspire and motivate people to participate in organised and sustained political and legal action.’

18 Amartya Sen ‘The direct penalties of a famine are borne only by the suffering public and not by the ruling government. The rulers never starve. However, when a government is accountable to the public, and when there is free news- reporting and uncensored public criticism, then the government too has an excellent incentive to do its best to eradicate famines.’ ‘No famine has ever taken place in the history of the world in a functioning democracy.’ The Idea of Justice, 2009, London: Allen Lane, p.343

19 Thank you!

20 Dank u wel!


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