During their enhancement week, the PG trainees took part in a session led by Owen and Barbara from CND Peace Education. Trainees considered how to tackle issues such as Weapons of Mass Destruction and Just war in RE and then partook in a mock trial of President Truman and his actions of dropping the hydrogen bomb during WW2. After some very tense court room clashes (and very bad Perry Mason impersonations) – trainees found him not guilty of war crimes, concluding that his actions had been justified. The afternoon was a much more peaceful affair with trainees making peace cranes and some uncovering a talent for origami that they didn’t know existed!
Sue Philips brought ‘The Island’ to the PGCE and UG trainees in an interactive session on experiential RE. Sue demonstrated with them how to lead ‘religion neutral exercises’, engage pupils in values and empathy and the power of pupils being able to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ in their learning. They all enjoyed getting in to the character of someone who is homeless to consider how to develop pupils’ empathy!
PGCE trainees excelled at the opportunity to explore the links between pop culture in the media and RE, creating strategy posters which showed how contemporary films, songs and TV shows can be used in the classroom to engage pupils and deliver high quality RE. They created a whole range of resources and lessons which included; Groundhog Day (Buddhist Samsara), Futurama (attitudes towards homosexuality), Million Dollar Baby (Euthanasia), Friday night dinner (Reform Judaism), The Terminator (Christian Premillenialism) and Stormzy’s Blinded by your grace (Holy Spirit). They then developed their critical evaluation skills and give formative feedback on those strategies they liked, would change or would steal.
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!
RE PGCE trainees were tasked with creating a collage on either their vision of RE or on creating a new world – Things they would leave in the world included chocolate, hugs, friendship, Game of Thrones, equality and unicorns whilst stepping on Lego, inequality, wars and terrorism were left out. As you can see, very creative bunch!
Paul Smalley and a small number of Year 1 Undergraduate RE students were recently invited to take part in the Cheshire West & Chester SACRE Primary Pupil conference. This two-day event, funded by a generous grant from NASACRE and organised by Naomi Anstice, was held at the Forest Hills Hotel in Frodsham and brought together over 100 primary school children from a range of primary schools
The session we had been invited to deliver was an experiential Hajj. Pupils from Years 5 and 6 began by hearing about how Muslim pilgrims enter a state of Ihram before the begin their pilgrimage. Pupils then washed their hands, promised to themselves that they would enter into the activities as much as possible and try to do their best, before donning a sheet of white flipchart paper. This made us realise how pilgrims get a real sense of unity when all are dressed the same.
The children circled the Ka’ba, before hearing a story and replicating Hajar’s desperate seach for water as they looked for a hidden bottle of ‘Special Zam-Zam Water’. Before bedding down for the first (rather noisy!) night, pupils used iPads to record the first of their video diaries.
I enjoyed the Hajj acting and learnt that Muslims get to go to sleep on pilgrimage
The video diaries helped me to remember what we had already done
The pupils held their hands up on the Mount of mercy whilst thinking about what problem they would want solving in the world, or what they had done wrong and might need to put right. They listened to the story of Ibrahim’s sacrifice and then, before the second night’s video diary and ‘sleep’, they each collected seven post it notes from around the room.
I liked learning about the story of Ibraham and how he sacrificed a sheep instead of his son
Today I learned about the pilgrims going on Hajj and I enjoyed acting the different parts and using the ipads to record our family diary
The next morning the pupils thought deeply and wrote on their post it notes seven things that they might be tempted to do, even though they know they are bad, before scrunching them up and throwing them at a jamarah, like the pillars representing Shaytan in Makkah.
I really enjoyed the pilgrimage today
Then to celebrate Eid-ul-adha, a sheep (cake) was sacrificed and shared out by each family, before compleing Hajj with a final Tawaf and a last video diary.
I loved sacrificing the sheep cake
I loved making a film and sacrificing a sheep
We liked the practical way to introduce Hajj to children
Good ideas for teachers to take back to schools. Our children partically enjoyed the experiential Hajj and it was good to hear then reflect about our RE lessons back in school.
Part time primary trainees have recently been thinking about what education is for. They made this video as part of their work. Maggie said,
“I love it and made me realise that they will never be sheep”
Primary RE trainees were asked to consider what characteristics a person who is ‘religiously educated’ would have. Would they be spiritual, practising a religion, respectful of others, have intra-personal intelligence or something else? Trainees worked in groups to create a visual metaphor out of plasticine and presented their ideas to the class. This type of activity could be used with young children as it helps communicate their thoughts in a more personal and creative way – so much more interesting than worksheets, writing and colouring in don’t you think?! 😉