Another Temple Visit

As part of the Second Year Undergraduate Buddhist Dharma module course students travelled to the Lake District to visit the Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre.

This is the head centre for the movement around the world and as described by our guide for the day it is where many Buddhists live together as part of their retreat. The New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) believe in the basic concepts of the Buddha and the traditional story that has been passed down through the generations. We were told that overall the original Buddha Siddhartha Gautama have over 84,000 teachings.  The NKT are adamant that these teachings are still, if not more, important in today’s modern society.

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The Preston England Temple

Year 3 Secondary RE undergraduates recently visited the Preston England Temple as part of their Religion in the 21st Century module.

One of the students, Sadie Parish, wrote this blog post:

As soon as we approached the centre we were immediately taken back by its beauty! It almost felt as if we were in another world. We started the morning by meeting Sister Hunt in a chapel, who gave us a brief introduction to Mormon beliefs, such as their belief in their founder/prophet Joseph Smith.  who lived in the early 19th Century in North America.  He discovered the text of the Book of Mormon, buried in New York state, where he was directed to by the Angel Moroni.

Sister Hunt also introduced us to the Mormon belief in serving a mission and we actually got to see some real life missionaries! there are around 85,000 missionaries serving at any time, mostly males aged between 18 and 26. We got to explore their quarters and training centre, were we learnt that missionaries can come from all over the world and have to spend two years away from their families. I was taken away by the devotion and commitment of the missionaries.

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Sadly as the temple is only exclusive to Latter Day Saints (even at weddings!) we were unable to enter the temple. However, we did get to take a walk around the temple. We were all certainly taken back by how breath taking it was.

As a result of the trip we have now developed a new understanding of Mormonism. Something that previously most of us had very little knowledge of. I myself now feel prepared to answer basic questions about Mormonism if presented with one in the classroom.  As a whole the visits to the Mormon temple has been my favourite so far and I look forward to learning more about other 21st century expressions of religion.

Looking to the East (Manchester!)

Undergraduate Third year students are currently learning about two Dharmic religions: Jainism and Sikhism.  As part of this we visited two temples in Manchester, the Jain Samaj and the Sikh Gurdwara.

17.11.15 © www.philtragen.com JOB REFERENCE - Religious Knowledge Field Trip - Jainism Temple, Longsight PO P165688

The first visit of the day was to the Jain temple.  Housed in converted building the main room is a sports hall, which is used for a variety of activities. Next to this is the actual Temple itself – sculpted from white Indian granite it features statues of Mahavira and two of the other tirthinkaras.  It really was a beautiful sight.

Suresh spoke to us about the history, beliefs and ethics of the Jains, and how the community in Manchester practise their faith in the 21st Century.

In the afternoon we went to the Gurdwara to hear about the Sikh faith.  After washing our hands and covering our heads we went into the Diwan Hall.  Here, Reeti talked about the background to the religion and then we heard a portion of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji read. We also got to see the Guru’s bedroom.

Finally, the highlight was to go into the Langar Hall and sample some of the wonderful food that they had prepared for us.

17.11.15 © www.philtragen.com JOB REFERENCE - Religious Knowledge Field Trip - Gurdwara, Manchester PO P165688

Thanks to Phil Tragen for the photos!

Deanery Day

Final year Undergraduate students recently spent a Day in Deanery High School in Wigan.  Renya has blogged about the visit:

It was an interesting day as there were many things to learn whilst we were there.

A level

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First we watched an A level lesson with Taco Michiels, the Head of RE and a former Edge Hill RE PGCE student, about the cosmological argument. Taco got us all involved and we had to write down what we know about the cosmological/causation argument.  It was interesting to see how he used a silent debate to encourage students to contribute.  It was also useful as it showed me that I have gaps in my knowledge when it comes to Philosophy and Ethics.  Whilst I am preparing for my next placement I will update my knowledge of Philosophy and Ethics. I learnt that the A level is much more rigorous and difficult to teach as it is very vague in the way that the exams are marked.

Applications and Interviews

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Leanne Turner, Assistant Head and former Associate Tutor in RE at Edge Hill then spoke to us about some common mistakes that people make when applying for RE jobs, as well as giving us some tips for interview days.  I now feel much more prepared to start applying for an RE teacher job, when I see one that I want.

Yorkies

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Over lunch some of the pupils in Key Stage 4 talked to us about how they enjoy being part of the Archbishop of York’s Leadership Award Programme.  It was interesting to hear how this citizenship scheme could be a useful way of getting pupils more involved in the life of the RE department.

Being a Church of England School

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After lunch the chaplain of the school spoke to us about the challenges of being a faith school. The chaplain’s role within the school is a pastoral role. He takes care of the emotional needs of staff and students. He explained that this is not necessarily done from a Christian perspective but through giving advice from his own experience.

The school has a weekly Eucharist service in which every pupil takes part. The chaplain said that he feels that is important to educate the pupils on the meaning of the Eucharist as he feels that some pupils are disinterested and he would like to see them treat the weekly service as a special event.

It was fascinating to see how the support network works in the school. The chaplain showed that the school really cares for its students’ and staff-members’ wellbeing and mental health. I was very impressed with the level of support The Deanery has.

Teaching A Level

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To finish off the day, Taco talked about the joys of teaching A level.  He enjoys the small classes, and the way that he can make the teaching very flexible to meet the needs of the students. A levels are a blend of giving students the knowledge and skills to be able to pass the exam and be prepared for University. We also discussed the

Overall it was a very productive and interesting day at The Deanery, I learnt some useful things and was able to understand the way a faith school operates.