For the last three years the second year KS 2-3 RE Trainees have attended the Autumn Holocaust Conference at the Imperial War Museum of the North. The Conference is organised jointly between the Museum and the Centre for Jewish Studies at Manchester University. As part of their Judaism studies the conference give a unique and valuable opportunity for our trainees to explore different aspects of the Holocaust.
This year the theme was Hiding, Flight and Rescue under Nazi occupation.
Scholars from Britain, Europe and the USA presented their research on how despite the odds some European Jews managed to survive the relentless onslaught of the Nazis.
Perhaps the highlight of the day was hearing the personal witness of Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines who shared her memories of the Kindertransport and her escape from Czechoslovakia as a nine year old with her younger sister. Despite the great odds stacked against her family, once she and her sister were settled in Britain, she was reunited with her Father and then later her Mother who had managed to escape through Sweden.
An inspirational day that brought home the complexity of the human responses to the Holocaust and of the power of the human spirit to endure the most dreadful persecutions and yet not be crushed. As always following days like this I was left pondering what I would have done if faced with such persecution and hatred?
The New RE syllabus for Catholic Primary Schools ‘Come and See’ requires that pupils gain an insight into the major world religions. For the mutual benefit of the school and our undergraduate Trainees we were invited in to Blackbrook St Mary’s Primary School to deliver an assembly on the Story of Rama and Sita to years 5 and 6 and then to deliver 4 lessons on Hinduism across the two year groups.
Suited and booted !
Matthew H said:
The Year 1 Undergraduate class paid a visit to Blackbrook Primary School, under request from the Head Teacher, Mrs Ashton. It was there that we had a go at teaching the primary school children about Hinduism. We had been divided into a groups, I had been paired up with Emma, Matthew, and Lauren. We had been tasked with creating an assembly that would introduce to the children about Hinduism. We chose to create a fun / daft play which told the story of Rama and Sita. I played Sita ( Rama’s Wife), Lauren played the part of Rama, and Matt played (Hannuma and The Golden Deer that appears, and Ravana the ten headed demon) Emma narrated the play.
Sita, Hanuman and Rama
On the last day of November, (Friday 30th) our RE class were given the opportunity to perform and teach to year 5 and 6 pupils about Hinduism. This was an exciting day for us because what we had been learning in lessons, we were now passing on that knowledge to a classroom of students. There was some preparation to organise because a small proportion of our class decided to reinact the story of Rama and Sita in an assembly to the majority of the primary school. I thought this to be a very effective method of teaching because it was very entertaining. After the assembly we were divided into groups and sent to individual classrooms and during that time we were teaching Hinduism again. As a group we organised bingo and a quiz activity were the winner(s) won sweets. I think that’s why the pupils liked us the most.
Today I taught a primary school class for an hour about the Hindu Gods. We had to produce a starter, main and plenary for the class to complete thinking about the time we had and what activities we were going to be doing.
Hayley and I worked together to deliver the lesson. Our starter activity was used to find out what the children already knew about Hinduism, we gave them a sheet with the Hindu Om symbol on it; they then had to mind map any knowledge they already had on Hinduism. This knowledge was then fed back to the whole class so we could see what they had been learning about already. Once we had begun the main part of the lesson we asked the children to use the small bit of play dough they had been given and create their own version of a Hindu God, we told them to think about the assembly they had just seen and we put some images on the board as a visual aid for them. We then asked them to leave the play dough and we went onto the main part of the lesson where we showed a Power Point on the Trimurti and the Gods included in that. We then asked them had they seen the film ‘Avatar’ and asked what they though an Avatar, most of the class had seen it and were able to explain very well what they though one was, this led onto how we had created our own Avatar with the play dough and how we were about to paint Hindu masks of the Gods. Whilst the children were painting the masks we supervised them whilst asking and answering questions about the Gods. At first I was really nervous about teaching a primary class because I didn’t know how they would respond to the different activities and if they would get bored easily. However everything seemed to work out OK and the children seemed to enjoy what they were learning.
Friday 30th November my RE group went to St. Mary’s School, and led a lesson for an hour, I was partnered with Andrew and the lesson was about the Hindu God’s, but before this 4 other people in my group did a 10 minute assembly enactment of the story of Rama and Sita which the kids loved, then the children went to their rooms where we taught the lesson, Andrew and my lesson started with the children writing everything they know about Hinduism, and then a power point on the Gods with comparison to some things in Christianity so that it would seem less alien to them.
The visit concluded with a a tour around the school, which was very good. Blackbrook Primary School is a brilliant school to develop any ones intellectual needs.
All in all a brilliant experience of teaching and learning for all involved.
As part of their study of Judaism the Year 2 RE Trainees enjoyed a ‘Joy of Judaism’ day at Stencourt Shul, Prestwich Manchester. The day was led by David Arnold an old friend of the RE team who made us all really welcome. David gave us an insiders view into the vibrant Jewish community of North Manchester.
After a tour of the Synagogue we discussed Jewish belief and practice in detail. David had brought a specially baked Challah loaf for us and it was devoured in record time by the group. The significance of Kosher food and the role that food in general plays in Jewish family life became somewhat a theme for the day.
Holding onto the food theme, perhaps the highlight of the day was the delicious Kosher meal that we enjoyed at J.S. Restaurant, chicken soup all round, seemed to be the order of the day. Despite the lovely challah bread that the group had eaten just beforehand, some brave souls also managed kosher ice cream sundaes.
After lunch there was also time for a quick visit to the Judaica shop across the road for all those artefacts that every trainee RE teacher could wish for.
Good company, good food and all in all a very good day. I am already looking forward to next year’s kosher fish and chips!
Year 2 Undergraduates who have been studying Judaism this semester took their knowledge and skills into school for two days recently.
Lathom High School held a two day conference for their Year 10 pupils. On the first day Staff from the school were joined by RE undergraduates from Edge Hill as the whole year was taken off timetable to work in small groups to study the religion. Staff from the school were grateful for the help of the students and commented very favourably on the way they were able to work with pupils who they had not met before.
This groupwork was to prepare pupils for the highlight of day 2 – when Edge Hill trainees helped to supervise the Year 10s as they met firstly David Arnold and then Jack Aizenberg – a survivor of the holocaust.
This was an excellent opportunity for the students of Edge Hill to put their Jewish Studies into perspective, gain more experience of working with a diverse range of Key Stage 4 pupils and to hear Jack’s story.
Almost a dozen Mentors, Lecturers and consultants were able to attend the RE Subject Network’s recent twilight session held at Byrchall High School.
We were privileged to have the input of Emma Mcvittie who explained how her ME! resource was helping pupils develop spiritual literacy in both primary and secondary settings nationwide. This was followed by a general discussion of good practice from around the partnership led by Gill Robinson of Rose Bridge High School.
Waqaus Ali spoke to us about the work of ThinkBrite Services who can lead Inset for staff, provide visitors to schools or create a tailored day visiting a local Mosque. Edge Hill Students have benefited from Waqaus’ expertise for many years.
Gill concluded the evening with some national updates, around many issues including the RE Council’s consultation report on the proposed New National RE Framework. It was a while before people left, though, as people spent time with our visitors exploring the possibility of doing further work together.