Dr Mayer Hersch MBE paid his annual visit to Edge Hill University to tell gathered RE and History ITE students together with pupils from a number of parternship schools the story of his survival during the darkest days of the Nazi regime.
Mayer was only 13 when the Nazis invaded his homeland Poland and his epic story of survival against the odds, including slave labour, Auschwitz, death trains and marches had all listeners on the edge of their seats – as it has done for many years. Mayer was awarded and honourary Doctorate last year by Edge Hill and received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list in recognition of his work.
Following a lunch break pupils from a number of partner schools were helped to reflect on Mayer’s story by working with Edge Hill PGCE students. There responses and their questions were deep and insightful. We all hope that Mayer will once again return to Edge Hill next year.
Final Year Undergradaute students were delighted to spend the day in one of our Partnership Schools, Our Lady’s RC High School in Blackley, Manchester, where they were able to draw upon the expertise of the Professional and Curriculum Mentors in the areas of Assessment for Learning and Co-operative groupwork. The school is situated in a challenging area and the RE department has been judged to have Outstanding teaching and learning with lively exciting RE lessons.
The first session of the day was led by Nuala Buckley, The Head of RE at the School who outlined in a very practical way some of the Assessment for Learning techniques that the department uses – including Meta-courses, the Stuck-O-Meter and the lightbulb moment!
Following this students were able to watch Nuala and two former Edge Hill students (Terry Hart and Loretta Robson) who are now working in the RE department at Our Lady’s putting the AfL techniques into practice. Students commented that pupils and staff were at ease with the techniques because they were embedded into the regular practice of the department.
After lunch, RE students were joined by Edge Hill colleagues from English and MFL courses to draw on the expertise of Michelle Rathor the school’s Professional Mentor. She delivered a very engaging and interactive session showing how carefully planned interactive group work could enable pupils to make good progress both socially and academically through co-operative learning.
The feedback from the students was overwhelmingly positive and there was a real determination from the students that they would embed the practices they had seen in their final secondary placements. They said that the day was full of fun and had made a real impact on them.
Sue Phillips visited Edge Hill university to invite PGCE and Final Year KS2/3 Undergrauate students to spend a day in the Theatre of Learning. Sue has pioneered this exciting and experiential form of RE over the past few years and was delighted to share her pedagogy with the students.
Students were shown the famous ‘Island’, and a variety of religion neutral exercised. Evaluation, spirituality, assessment, and even quantum physics all featured in the day, whilst the session ended withstudents being invited to don bin bags and empathise with the experience of a homeless person.
Students were inspired by this day and are eager to put Sue’s ideas into practice on their final teaching practice.
Year 3 RE Undergraduates visited the Gurdwara Sri Harkishan Sahib Ji in Manchester to hear about Sikh beliefs and history and experience Langar. On a cold morning we entered the gurdwara, removed our shoes and covered our heads. ‘Abs’ a young member of the congregation gave us a talk outlining many elements of Sikhism and answered many questions that the students found helpful in their developing knowledge of the faith – and in answering their assessment.
We were then treated to a reading from the Guru Granth Sahib Ji and shown how the Guru is treated with respect. The final treat was the Langar, a potato dish and a lentil dish with bread and a drink.