Islam in Preston

Year 1 Undergraduates at Edge Hill study a module on Islam and as part of that spend a day in the Muslim community in Preston.  One of the Year 1 students, Katie, reflected on the day.

We began the day with a talk about the aims of the day, and identifying what we already know, and what we would like to have found out by the end of the day. Everyone was so warm and inviting, I felt really comfortable asking questions, knowing that I would get a thorough response that would help me in my Islam module in university.

The highlight of the day for me, was crossing the road to Preston Muslim High School for Girls and being able to speak to actual students about Islam. I felt that speaking to a ‘normal’ person as opposed to someone who was extremely educated allowed me to identify basic points on which to develop my knowledge. All the girls I spoke to were really polite and answered any questions I had to the best of their abilities.

I also really enjoyed visiting the local Mosque and being able to sit and observe one of the daily prayers. It was such an amazing experience seeing a community come together to pray as one. It was also a good chance to see the diversity of Muslims that were in one small area. Their style of dress tended to show their heritage, and our speaker and guide was able to tell us where they were from based on their clothes.

After the prayer was finished, the Imam came to speak to us and answer anymore questions we had. He told us a little bit about what is was like for a child in Islam, and how they can attend a madrassa to help them learn more about Islam. The whole session was extremely informative and useful for me, as I am in the middle of writing my Islam assignment about Salah (the five daily prayers).

We were also lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to observe a man perform Wudu – the ritual cleansing and purifying a Muslim must do before praying. Again, this was more useful information to use in my assignment, as well  as just being really interesting to witness.

All in all, the trip was really eye-opening, and gave a great insight into Islam as both a religion, but also as how it is a way of life for its followers. It was such a worthwhile trip, I’m so glad I got the opportunity to go on it!

You can see more pictured from the day here

A full day teaching

As part of their Creative Medium Term Planning Module Year 2 Undergraduates work in groups to plan a small Scheme of Work.  We then go into a local school and deliver the scheme – in one day – to year 8 pupils.  One of the undergraduates, Joe, reflected on the day.

First I would like to thank those involved who placed their trust in us and made it possible for our class to go into the year 8 classroom and present our scheme of work regarding Judaism.

Preparation

A few months ago we were tasked with completing a group scheme of work that we would teach to year 8 students who had no or limited knowledge of Judaism. Our key focus within our group during the process of planning was the Shoah and thanks to our lectures, visitors and class trips we gained knowledge regarding how the subject should be approached when teaching. Some key points what our group focused on were the promotion of shared values before moving onto the idea of focusing on an individual story during the Shoah that would allow the students to connect more with the material when considering understanding and empathy.

Basic outline of scheme:

Basic beliefs and practices and shared values
Diversity within Judaism / challenging anti-Semitism
Shoah 1933 – 1945
Shoah part two
Why remember?
We hoped this scheme would first provide the students with the basics, before allowing them to explore the diversity within Judaism to challenge and negative stereotypes and myths. Next we would connect this to the idea that the Nazi Party rose to power presenting negative stereotypes and myths regarding Judaism and this is why it important to recognise and challenge these ideas. Finally we would enable to students to evaluate the importance of the previous lessons and why it is important to remember past events.

So….. How did it go I hear you ask?

Well on arrival as you can see from some of our faces, the plan changed a little. The lessons we had planned would have to be adapted, since there was a high possibility students would not necessarily be the same for each lesson. Straight away this created a problem since each of us planned to be teaching the same students one scheme of work allowing the lesson to flow and connect learning from each. Even though, this was a shock and essentially a problem it was also a blessing in disguise, because it made each of us revise our initial planning on the spot and adapt it were necessary, which we were assured sometimes can and will happen in school.

However the day overall was a success each of us gained valuable experience and confidence before beginning upon our Year 2 Placement.

A few things that went well and key lessons learnt for the future:

Preparation is key.

Making sure the student had the equipment and things as simple as pens and paper are essential in order to complete the tasks is essential. From my first placement I was advised always put every little thing on the lesson plan and make sure this is ready and available. This advice ensured each lesson during the day ran smoothly and the students began starter tasks as soon as they walked through the door. I observed and helped as a teaching assistant in one lesson and there was no paper in the classroom and this resulted in the lesson getting off to a rocky start and it was difficult to gain control of the class again. This was simply down to lack of organisation, since when teaching the same pupils in the next lesson, on arrival I had a starter task on the board and individual sheets laid out and they began straight away and it was like a completely different class. Therefore, an organised start with a stimulating starter task is essential, you have to keep them busy and give them no time to wait.

Talk Time/ Activity Time.

I admit sometimes I want to say so much I need to consider the balance between me talking and the pupils doing activities. However, there was only really one lesson were I felt I had to do this more and it was the introduction to the Shoah I wanted to give them a good understanding of the events that during 1933-1939. A way that I found effective to do this without the students switching off to me droning on was to give them a work sheet with information boxes with blanks to fill and arrows which they had to follow in connection with the slides. This worked well and all the pupils seemed engaged and completed the sheet whilst asking questions. This was evident since sadly I did make a mistake in one box and the students picked up on it straight away, therefore they had to have been listening. To get around this I told them that it was a test to make sure they were listening, I think most believed me.

I understand that my questioning techniques need improving when trying to engage a full class discussion, however throughout the day the discussion generally went well and comment were made by teachers who said certain pupils who don’t generally get involved were engaged and participated.

Overall I believe the day was a success for all of us, we all survived a full day of teaching and for me personally a key observation was that the second they walk through the door if your starter task is stimulating and organised you are off to a winner.

You can see more pictures from the day here