As part of developing their confidence and presentation skills, the PGCE trainees all presented a collage which reflected either their ‘new world’, their journey or their vision for RE. Despite a very busy couple of weeks, they all really engaged with the task and as you can see, produced some fantastic work! Well done guys!
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!
Term has started early at Edge Hill, with our annual Subject Knowledge Booster Course. This course was originally funded by the TDA to help those with non-Theology or Religious Studies degrees enter RE PGCE courses. We at Edge Hill found these courses to be so useful that we have continued them after the central funding has stopped – so that Edge Hill PGCE students can have an advantage at the start of their course. These free courses have proved so popular that even graduates with Theology degrees now attend and find them hugely beneficial. This year was another first as two students who will be joining our Undergraduate Secondary RE course via our fast-track route have taken the course to improve their subject qualifications.
This nine day course is jam-packed with a day focusing on each religion, beginning with a lead session in the morning led by academics from Edge Hill or other institutions such as Paul Walsh from Newman University College and Professor David Waines of Lancaster. The afternoons entail a period of paired research and a final plenary session. The highlight of the course is a field trip to Preston where students visit a Hindu Mandir and a Buddhist Centre in the morning and in the afternoon a Mosque and Muslim High School. The final assessment is a portfolio of research notes and a paired presentation on one of the six major world faiths.
We’re glad to say that everyone found the course fantastic fun, as well as a great way to Boost their subject Knowledge before starting their QTS courses!
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.
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.