Giving us a flavour of experiential RE, Sue Philips delivered her usual creative and engaging approach to RE to some Yr2 UG and PG trainees this week. Trainees were able to experience her work on experiential pedagogy, religion-neutral exercises, life as a homeless person and of course, her work on ‘The Island’ as a way to engage and connect young people to their RE learning. Thanks Sue!
ICT Guru Paul Hopkins paid a visit to the RE PGCE trainees in the final week of their course, to talk through some of the gadgets they can use in their classrooms. We forget to take photos of the session but as it was our last day together before some trainees began their new posts – we did pose for a final group shot! Best of luck to those of you starting your new posts this week!
As part of their pre-NQT enrichment week, RE PGCE trainees visited Bradford as part of an interfaith visit to a number of places of worship.
The day began with a visit to the Gurdwara Singh Sabha where trainees were given a tour of the worship hall and able to see the rituals and practices associated with the Sikh Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib. Trainees enjoyed asking questions and experiencing some of the sounds of Sikh worship.
Next it was onto the Shree Laxmi Narayan Hindu Temple where trainees were able to observe the daily Aarti worship and meet with Seema, who discussed her experiences and beliefs as a Hindu. Ready for a rest, we thoroughly enjoyed our vegetarian lunch!
Before making our way back to Ormskirk, we ended the day with an insight into Reform Judaism at the Bradford Reform Synagogue, learning about the history of the Jewish community in Bradford and some of the differences between reform and orthodox practice.
A wonderful (very hot!) day and a lovely end to the PGCE course.
On 20th March, Year 2 students enjoyed a visit to the Manchester Synagogue and Schul, led by David Arnold. The visit was part of the fieldwork for the module on Judaism. David Arnold is an ambassador for the Jewish community, working with schools and universities. During the morning, David gave a talk on the Jewish ‘way of life’, explaining how being Jewish is more than religion. Lunch was enjoyed at a local kosher restaurant, and students visited the local Jewish bookstore. The afternoon session with David offered plenty of opportunity for questions before heading home to complete their assignments!
After successfully completing a module on Hindu Dharma, on 12th March, Year 1 students received a warm welcome at the Gujarat Temple in Preston. Students were greeted by receiving a tilaka. This is part of the Hindu ritual of marking someone’s forehead with a fragrant paste, as a welcome and expression of honour when they arrive. During the guided tour of the temple, students were able to see the visual richness of the dharmic tradition by looking at the statues and images of the Hindu deities, as well as observe puja worship from individuals visiting the temple. Students also experienced a guided meditation, yoga style.
As part of their journey of learning how to be Secondary RE Teachers, Year 2 students planned a series of five lessons on Judaism and the Holocaust which they delivered to Year 8 pupils in one off-timetable day.
It was a great experience for the students and the pupils – the feedback from everyone was hugely positive and has set up the students for their teaching placement in high schools at the end of the academic year.
You can see photos from the day on flickr
You may have seen the television series Educating Greater Manchester. The Director of Inclusion at the school Miranda Rathmell is a former PGCE RE trainee from Edge Hill.
We were delighted that she was able to give up a day to help our Year 1 QTS Undergraduate RE students understand SEND and spend some time helping pupils at the school with additional needs.
We were also able to tour the school and meet a few od the stars (both staff and pupils) of the TV series, which is returning for a second series later in the year.
Trainees on the PGCE took the opportunity to share some good practice and celebrate their successful T&L strategies with the group as they approach the end of their first placement. Whilst Andy subjected us all to his pie-puns to discuss a numeracy strategy, Becky presented an ‘FBI: Confidential’ task for investigating the miracles of Jesus, Rosemina wowed us all with her WAGOLLs and Amy flashed the cash with ‘RE Millionaires’. In addition to some fab ideas from Morgan, Lauren and Becky, everyone was able to steal some great ideas to use for PP2. Well done team!
One of our fantastic Curriculum Mentors (and Ex-Edge Hill alumni!), Ruth Taylor from Burnley Hugh School, delivered an effective and engaging session for PGCE students on teaching GCSE RS. Using her own experiences of delivering the new Edxcel RS curriculum, Ruth was able to give practical strategies on differentiating, planning and assessment in GCSE RS. Trainees also got an opportunity to plan their own RE curriculum, thinking about the importance of embedding skills and content in KS3 for KS4 study. Thanks Ruth, you’re welcome back anytime! 🙂
We were welcomed to Haslingden High School by Sally Finney who is the director of teacher training at the school. Then Ben Wood, the Head of RE and Vice Chair of NATRE met us and explained the day.
The first class we observed was a Year 12 class.
Welcomed the class as ladies and gentlemen,
Homework collected in.
Revision questions – as part of the routine. Worked in silence. Numbers are 1,7, 13, 25, 30
Targeted questions by name, can you give me more? Still want a bit more. Did allow others to help fill out the answer….
Work is a continuation, looking at Augustine’s teaching. Last two this week, following on from Prior learning.
Students begin by reading through a source sheet (holes already punched for easy insertion into folders), making notes and drawing to a conclusion.
Students work informally in groups, to put the sources into for or against columns. Ben circulates and is called on by some for help. He is able to ask challenging questions and is clearly expert. He observes what some students are writing, and challenges some to write in more depth or ensure their conclusions are firmly evidenced. He is trying to get them to think beyond the obvious answers. Having already taught the knowledge in previous lessons he is helping to prepare for exam essay questions by debating.
When students have completed their work, they move on to the second question independently. The atmosphere is relaxed with a buzz of on-task chatter.
Work is not completed, so this will be returned to next lesson. Homework is to do 17 revision questions on body, mind and soul.
Ben then explains to us that at A level he is not interested in opinions which are short term, and easily changed. He is interested in conclusions based on evidence.
He outlined our task which is to read about Wittgenstein and language games and think about how they would teach the Year 13 lesson later. We did this, enjoying some breakfast pastries and struggled with both the subject content, and how we would present it to a Year 13 class.
Next we watched Ben actually teach it. As with the Year 12 class, the lesson started with 5 revision questions from the selection the students had done for homework which they first handed in. They have a short amount of time to do this on their own in silence, and they are given a one minute warning. These answers are shared, Ben selects a students to say their answer and rewords the correct answers to emphasise correct terminology. He further questions incorrect or incomplete answers.
The last two questions about Heaven, hell and purgatory being symbols or metaphors directly relates to today’s lesson. Ben begins with a mindmap on the board asking students prior knowledge of Wittgenstein. He uses the two Ideas they remember to draw out the difference between logical positivist, and Wittgensteinl’s later view. He asks if Wiggenstein can be described as a cognitive st or a non-cognivist.
He turns to the prepared information sheet. He stresses that the meaning of a word depends on its use. Words have no fixed meaning. Using Wittgenstein’s chess analogy he shows that meanin depends upon context.Students add to the printed notes.
He compares chess and football are different games and therefore have different rules. In the same way religious language has different rules from other forms of language. This means that the criticisms of the verification principle are irrelevant for the language game of religion.
To illustrate the key term lebensform, the students discussed ‘offside’ in football, rugby and driving, and then the changing meaning of ‘literally’. The understanding of this concept is enhanced and developed by discussion; students are free to answer or ask questions as they wish.
The lesson then turns to reading and interpreting a quote form D. Z. Phillips, suggesting that ‘eternal life’ has a meaning other than an infinite extension of living after death. Pupils are asked to write a paragraph exemplifying this idea. Ben offered help and challenge to students who requested it, or who he noticed needed help.
At the end of the lesson, students were given another set of revision questions to work on at home.
We then had lunch and then spent an hour discussing the theory of how to teach A Level RS.