RE at Edge Hill

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Subject Knowledge gets a boost in Preston

Our 17 PGCE RE students have concluded their Subject Knowledge Booster Course with a visit to three places of worship in Preston.

First stop was at the Gujarat Hindu Centre, where Biku Patel spoke about the history of the Gujarati Hindu community in Preston and told students about some of the practices that take place at the centre.  There was plenty of opportunities to take pictures of the beautiful, ornate Mandir.

Only a short walk away was the Vajravarahi Kadampa Buddhist Centre where Kelsang Pagpa reminded students of some of the fundamentals of Buddhism and the distinctive nature of the New Kadampa tradition of Buddhism.  The questioning and discussion was deep and well informed.

Finally a quick drive across the city to the Madina Mosque in the Fishwick area for a quick sandwich before Zuhr prayers. Waqaus Ali then explained to the trainees the concept of Islam as a Deen – a way of life.

The trainees found the whole day, and in fact the whole fortnight,  illuminating, and an outstanding preparation for their PGCE RE course.

Booster Begins

The PGCE RE cohort have all started two weeks early so that they can benefit from the Subject Knowledge Enhancement Course which Edge Hill offers, free of charge, to all of its PGCE RE students.  The course which is an intensive introduction to the six major world faiths was originally intended for those who did not have a specialist Religious Studies or Theology and was funded by the TDA.  Because of the benefits to those from every degree background we now offer the course to all PGCE students, and this year everyone has been able to attend.

The course lasts for two weeks and includes an introductory day on religion and spirituality, a day on each of the six major world faiths, with guest lecturers from both academic and faith backgrounds, an experiential visit to Preston and a final day of student-led presentations.

Not only ‘Outstanding’, but ‘Exceptional’

The sun shone brightly on the stars of the BA(Hons) Key Stage 2/3 Religious Education degree course as they were awarded their degrees and celebrated their achievements.  As the self proclaimed ‘Best RE class ever!’ the 14 graduands were awarded their degree by the Chancellor, Professor Tanya Byrom, describing Edge Hill graduates as “not only ‘Outstanding’, but ‘Exceptional’!”

This indeed was our best year yet for Undergraduate RE students, with a third of graduates achieving a First class degree – and another half getting a II:i classification. One student, Chris Lawson, received a special award for the highest mark in the Faculty for a dissertation.  His study of primary to secondary transition in Catholic RE departments is likely to be published soon. Almost two-thirds of the group were judged to be ‘Outstanding’ in their final teaching practice and most have already secured employment for the next academic term – in primary and secondary settings.

You can watch the whole ceremony here:

 

PGCE Graduation success!

PGCE students from Edge Hill Celebrated their achievements with their Graduation Ceremony.  This year’s PGCE results were fantastic with everyone being rated at least ‘Good’ on their teaching practice and 94% ‘Outstanding’  Around three-quarters of the group already have Masters-level credits which they can take forward to their MA or MEd studies.

It was made an even more special occasion by two doctoral appearances – Mayer, a holocaust survivor who has been speaking to Edge Hill RE trainees since the first years of the course was awarded an honorary Doctorate.  It was also the first outing for Dr. Farrell’s Tudor Bonnet!!

You can watch the ceremony here!

Conferences Galore

Members of the RE team at Edge Hill have been busy presenting the findings of their research at conferences up and down the country.  Paul has presented his work on Using Twitter  with undergraduates at the SOLSTICE conference at Edge Hill.  At the CLIS Conference at Edge Hill Francis presented some of the early findings of his investigation into the attitudes and perceptions of boys in Skelmersdale and Maggie shared a paper on Learning through the socail media site Second Life.  Paul has also presented some collaborative work with Emma McVittie, on Using Guided Imagery to develop Spirituality at the International Childrens’ Spirituality Conference at UEA and the AULRE conference at St. Mary’s Twickenham.

Phil completed his PGCE in RE at Edge Hill in 2009.  He is now a Deputy House Leader at Our Lady’s RE Sports College.  He is a Curriculum Mentor and has worked with Postgraduate and Undergraduate students.

Subject Network Launched

The Edge Hill RE Subject Network got off to a flying start as over 20 Mentors, Lecturers and Advisers gathered from around the Partnership.

In the morning session Sue Phillips introduced attendees to the Theatre of Learning, which the Undergraduate and Postgraduate students had enjoyed and valued earlier in the year.

After a bufffet lunch there was an opportunity for colleagues from Rose Bridge, Wigan and Witton Park, Blackburn to share good practice from their Farmington Fellowship Projects.

Over the next Academic year, the network plan to meet three times:

  • 7th November 2012 Twilight 4-6pm Byrchall High School – focus on SMSC and Literacy & RE.
  • 28th February 2013 Twilight 4-6 Venue TBA  – focus on Assessing Progress in RE
  • 4th July 2013 All Day Main Summer Network Meeting

The Network is open to all RE teachers, so book the dates in your diary and further details will follow.

Invitation to join the Edge Hill Religious Education Subject Network

RE teachers and former students from around the partnership are invited to attend the launch of the Edge Hill University Religious Education Subject Network on 5th July 2012.

For further details of this event see the atached Flyer

 

Islam in Preston

As part of their third year undergraduate module on Islam, students visited Preston to hear first hand what life was like for a Muslim in the UK in the 21st century.  In the morning the trainees visited Fulwood Academy where they were able to interview a number of young Muslim students.  They found the youngsters to have widely varying ideas of what it meant to be a Muslim, from the very observant to those who seemed ready to challenge.

After a quick lunch we visited the Medina Mosque in the afternoon.  As well as a tour of the facilities and the opportunity to observe the zuhr congregational prayers students were given a very thorough presentation of Islam as a deen by Waqaus Ali of Thinkbrite Services.  Waqaus talked of how faith could be thought of as having three levels: Islam, Iman and  Ishan.  He also spoke about historical and contemporary issues surrounding Islam.

“it has brought the religion of Islam out of the textbook and into real life and society that we can now transfer into the classroom”

Here are a selection of photographs taken during the fieldtrip:

Islam in Preston, a set on Flickr.

A Day in the Theatre of Learning

Postgraduate and Final Year Undergraduate trainee teachers came together to spend a day in the Theatre of Learning with Sue Phillips.

As well as being introduced to the experiential pedagogy in theoretical terms, we were able to visit both ‘The Island’ and ‘The Cave’.  Sue showed how these approaches can yield huge benefits in terms of pupil development and motivation.  Ways of improving religious literacy at Key Stage 3 and Exam results at Key Stage 4 were explored.

We hope to welcome Sue back to Edge Hill later in the year as part of an event for RE teachers in Partner schools …. Watch this (web)space!

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