In addition to visiting the Princes Road Synagogue, trainees were able to further develop their understanding of Judaism thanks to a wonderfully engaging session led by Becky Scott, one of our amazing Partnership Curriculum Mentors. In addition to building on their experiences at the Synagogue, trainees were able to look at the differences between Orthodox and Reform Judaism, the nature of Covenants in Judaism and undertook some lively discussions about antisemitism in the UK. As an experienced RE practitioner, Becky was also able to share with them some practical strategies and activities for them to use in their teaching.
The group took a trip to Liverpool as part of their ongoing subject knowledge development course to look at the differences between the Jewish and Christian places of worship.
First stop was the very grand and ornate OrthodoxJewish Synagogue. Trainees were able to hear about the history of the Jewish community in Liverpool, the features of the synagogue and the way an Orthodox synagogue would differ from the Reform. Our host was able to share with us a number of Jewish artefacts and demonstrate the significance of the Torah Scrolls in worship.
After a quick bite to eat, we moved onto the Anglican Cathedral, just down the road from the Synagogue and made from the same sandstone. After outlining the role of the Cathedral in Christian worship and the extensive outreach programmes the church runs, trainees were taken on a tour, learning all about the building and development of the Cathedral, enjoying the Whispering galley and finding the Derby Mouse.
On Thursday we ventured up the M6 to visit the Gujurat Hindu Temple and Preston Buddhist centre as part of developing our subject knowledge about the Dharmic traditions.
At the Gujurat Temple, we were able to learn about the importance of the temple in Hindu puja (worship) and the significance and stories of some of the many gods that live there. Students ejoying asking lots of questions on everything from Hindu attitudes towards homosexuality to the belief in reincarnation and karma. Some were eagle-eyed enough to spot an image of the Buddha – raising interesting questions about the links between Buddhist and Hindu belief.
It was lovely to see Pagba on our visit to the Vajravarahi Kadampa Meditation Centre. As always, he was able to offer real insight into what it means to be a practicing Buddhist and how he was drawn to Buddhism and made the choice to become a monk. Some very deep philosophical discussions about the nature of ‘the mind’ were had!
We all enjoyed a visit to the Sri Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara in Chorlton as part of our Sikhism development on the SKE. We were treated to a tour of the Gurdwara, lots of discussion and questions with our host, Sukhbir, before enjoying the free meal given to all visitors, the langar.
This week we launched our Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course for all those joining us in September. Students come from across the range of RE courses; PGCE, School Direct, Undergrad QTS and for the first time, BA (Hons) Education & Religion. As you can see, they are a happy bunch and very proud of their team teaching on Islam!
Giving us a flavour of experiential RE, Sue Philips delivered her usual creative and engaging approach to RE to some Yr2 UG and PG trainees this week. Trainees were able to experience her work on experiential pedagogy, religion-neutral exercises, life as a homeless person and of course, her work on ‘The Island’ as a way to engage and connect young people to their RE learning. Thanks Sue!
ICT Guru Paul Hopkins paid a visit to the RE PGCE trainees in the final week of their course, to talk through some of the gadgets they can use in their classrooms. We forget to take photos of the session but as it was our last day together before some trainees began their new posts – we did pose for a final group shot! Best of luck to those of you starting your new posts this week!
As part of their pre-NQT enrichment week, RE PGCE trainees visited Bradford as part of an interfaith visit to a number of places of worship.
The day began with a visit to the Gurdwara Singh Sabha where trainees were given a tour of the worship hall and able to see the rituals and practices associated with the Sikh Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib. Trainees enjoyed asking questions and experiencing some of the sounds of Sikh worship.
Next it was onto the Shree Laxmi Narayan Hindu Temple where trainees were able to observe the daily Aarti worship and meet with Seema, who discussed her experiences and beliefs as a Hindu. Ready for a rest, we thoroughly enjoyed our vegetarian lunch!
Before making our way back to Ormskirk, we ended the day with an insight into Reform Judaism at the Bradford Reform Synagogue, learning about the history of the Jewish community in Bradford and some of the differences between reform and orthodox practice.
A wonderful (very hot!) day and a lovely end to the PGCE course.
On 20th March, Year 2 students enjoyed a visit to the Manchester Synagogue and Schul, led by David Arnold. The visit was part of the fieldwork for the module on Judaism. David Arnold is an ambassador for the Jewish community, working with schools and universities. During the morning, David gave a talk on the Jewish ‘way of life’, explaining how being Jewish is more than religion. Lunch was enjoyed at a local kosher restaurant, and students visited the local Jewish bookstore. The afternoon session with David offered plenty of opportunity for questions before heading home to complete their assignments!