Tag Archives: Hinduism

Doing Diwali

It has now become a tradition for Year 1 Edge Hill University undergraduate students who are studying teaching and RE  to visit Blackbrook St Mary’s Primary School.

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Again this year we were asked to visit and perform the story of Diwali. We had prepared the week before learning our lines and setting up the props that we needed, however I was still very nervous as this was the first time I have ever been involved in any sort of play production. I was playing the brother called Lakshmi and even though I didn’t have any lines I was still an important role within the play. In my opinion I thought the production went very well the children enjoyed themselves and were really interacting with ourselves by booing and cheering the other characters on the stage. The week before this play when we first began rehearsing I knew very little about the story and celebrations of Diwali, however now I am very confident when telling the story and moreover I enjoy talking and telling the story.

The second stage of the morning, we spilt off into our own small groups of two or three and headed into the classroom for the first time. I have to admit that I was looking forward more to this part than the play. I entered a year three classroom where the pupils were brilliantly behaved and really reacted well to the starter and plenary we had previously planned. For the starter we handed around a hat with various questions in it and when they pulled the question out of the hat they would have to try and answer it. The children were then involved in a carousel of art and craft activities linked to the Diwali story.  For the plenary which I created, there were various images that I uploaded, the children had the opportunity to guess if they didn’t know or if they did know to put their hands up and provide me with their answer.

 

Finally after playtime (for the pupils – not us!) we were given a tour of the school by the Headteacher.  She was able to explain some of the philosophy behind the school’s approach to educating their children – including the outside classrooms, lots of play-based learning and phonics.

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I felt that the whole visit: the assembly, classroom exercise and tour went extremely well and gave me confidence that I will be able to carry with me through to my placement next year.

Blog post by Luke Mythen.  You can follow his blog at lukemythenre.wordpress.com

 

Discovering the insider point of view

 

RE PGCE Student Claire Bartlett writes:

On 25.9.14 we had the pleasure to visit two key places of worship in Bradford, the Shree Lakshmi Mandir and Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara.

See Google story of our Bradford trip here:

From this trip we hoped to improve our understanding of these two religions; from an insider point of view and appreciate the methods of worship and practice within these traditions. This was a great opportunity for everyone to deepen their subject knowledge, in preparation for our new roles in school.

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Bradford Mandir

We arrived at the temple eager to experience Hindu worship first hand, we were politely asked to partake in the cleansing rituals that everyone (even the Queen!) would complete before entering a Hindu temple. After completing the absolution process; of removing our shoes and washing our hands, we were taken into the main room of worship. The main temple really was a beautiful sight, a long row of colourful deities surround by a pristine white structure in the style of a mandir.

Our host Seema explained her work in the community, highlighting the importance of how to educate young learners about Hinduism without causing confusion. After explanations of the various beautiful deities within the temple, we had the option to ask our own questions and experience the temple further. It was the first day of the festival of Diwali during our visit. This meant we got to experience families coming to place offering to the deities to mark the beginning of the festival.

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Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara

The next stop of the day was the Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara, here we were greeted by Narrinder with refreshments and enjoyed these whilst learning about the langar room and the importance of this room in a Gurdwara. This is a key Sikh practice and anyone visiting a Gurdwara would be greeted by free food or drink upon entering the temple, the refreshments offered are donated by the community. This is because of the Sikh belief in helping everyone (Sewa).

After our introductions and extra biscuits we were led upstairs to the main room of worship. Here, we sat and observed Narrinder  recite the  hymns around opening the sacred text and learnt about the process of laying the text to rest at dawn and waking the text from its bedroom, at the far corner of the room. After asking questions about how they would carry out different types of ceremonies such as weddings and funerals we moved into a separate room and talk about Sikhism away from the Gurdwara.

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Narrinder gave us a talk through the 5 K’s of Sikhism, allowing for you to experience these objects first hand whilst learning about the spiritual meaning from an insider view. At the end of our visit Narrinder was kind enough to play the sitar for us ending our Sikh experience nicely with an opportunity to appreciate the music of the Sikh faith which is so central to their worship.

After our lunch in a room of the Interfaith Centre in Bradford, we popped into Bombay Stores, UK’s largest Asian department store. Here we got to explore both ladies and gentlemen’s traditional dress, staring longingly at the large selection of jewelry and pick up some little bits and pieces that we could incorporate into our teaching. This was a great end to an enjoyable trip.

 

 

Raga and Puja in Bradford

Our subject knowledge trip to places of worship in Bradford is now becoming an annual feature of the RE PGCE giving trainees an invaluable insight into the dharmic traditions within our communities through experiential learning. This year was no exception and we were warmly welcomed by our colleagues in the Hindu and the Sikh communities.

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Our first visit took place at the imposing and impressive Shree Laxmi Narayan Mandir, visible from Leeds road by its distinctive Om symbol. Our faith tutor Seema welcomed us with the traditional Hindu Namaste greeting. Seema talked about the Hindu beliefs by sharing with us what Hindu dharma meant to her and we were able to explore the symbolism of the murtis through discussion. There were also rich opportunities to observe puja taking place and to meet the Brahmins based at the Mandir. Seema concluded the session with the sweet offerings of prashad.

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After a visit to Bombay stores to buy artefacts and resources, lunch at the interfaith centre, we moved on to the Gurdwara Singh Sabha where we were greeted by our faith tutor, Narrinder. We explored the religious significance of the five ‘K’s through Narrinder’s exposition of what living as a Khalsa Sikh meant for him.

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We continued our enquiry into the significance of the Gurdwara by exploring the prayer hall and the central feature, the living Guru, the Guru Granth Sahib with a beautiful display of the symbolism of Sikhism, the kirpan, and the khanda. Narrinder created a beautiful meditative atmosphere and treated us to prayerful ragas, playing his electronic sitar. Trainees gained a rich ethnographic experience and came away with a deeper understanding of Sikh dharma. Hospitality was, as always perfect and we were treated to biscuits and a drink before we left for the M62 and back to Edge Hill.

As always, trainee comments speak for themselves about the impact of the experience:

Danielle said:

“I really enjoyed this trip. I thought the visit to the Hindu Mandir was excellent and the talk was fascinating. The Gurdwara was equally excellent, providing us with some rare opportunities to delve into our curiosities and queries. I thought our guide was very friendly and informative, most certainly would like to visit again. The chance to shop in Bombay stores was another highlight of the trip. We could identify various symbolic artefacts and buy them, an excellent resource to use in potential lessons. Overall, I really enjoyed it and would love to return!”

Mike said:

“The trip to Bradford was superb. We got to visit a Hindu Mandir, a Sikh Gurdwara, and Bombay stores – were we all got to buy religious artefacts to use in school! It was great to experience different religions and cultures, and visit their different places of worship.  The experience enhanced my knowledge of different religions and I have used many pictures from the day in lessons since, which the pupils have really enjoyed!”

Enjoy the video and thanks again to Rob Duffy for his excellent pictures!

http://youtu.be/cdFYellvbYQ

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond the Worksheet

storytelling buddhism

Part Time primary trainees from Edge Hill recently explored creative learning in the gallery, using the cultures gallery in the World Museum Liverpool. They took part in a Hindu and Buddhist story telling workshop and used the artefacts as a stimulus to create their own interpretations. In groups they re-enacted and the devices that support oral tradition to ‘perform’ their stories on the gallery floor.

Back with a Boost

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.

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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!

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Holi Festival of Colour comes to Edge Hill

MAY 9, 2013

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Schoolchildren helped Edge Hill University recreate the Holi Festival of Colour to highlight why it’s important to keep Religious Education on the national curriculum.

For the first time in the north-west, replicating India’s popular springtime religious celebration, students, staff and pupils from Nutgrove Methodist Primary in St Helens took part in throwing bright, vibrant powders at friends and strangers alike as they celebrate the arrival of spring.

The idea behind the event on 10th May was to show how taking risks with learning makes it more meaningful and that RE can generate a more creative environment in the classroom.

It was also used to reiterate why RE should be included in the ever-changing curriculum.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has said RE would remain a statutory requirement at all ages for local authority and direct grant maintained schools, but no programme of study would be prescribed. Parents can also choose to stop their children from attending RE classes.

Maggie Webster, Edge Hill University’s Primary RE Subject Leader organised the Festival of Colour and a lecture about creativity and the Holi in conjunction with student Chris Kirk.

The author of Creative Approaches to Teaching Primary Education explained: “We wanted to recreate our own Festival of Colour as a celebration and to raise the profile of the Foundation subjects, in particular RE as a result of the new national curriculum. In a way, the subject is being side-lined so we are showing that RE fits into all areas of knowledge and creativity. It links into music, dance, culture and life and is a good way to show teachers that risks can be taken in the classroom to make learning more fun.”

On the day, there was a discussion around creative education, the value of RE and the cross-curricular nature of the subject.

“By letting people take part in paint throwing it will give our teachers of the future ideas to demonstrate how pedagogy and theory can be applied in practice within a school setting,” explained Maggie. “Hopefully it will encourage them to develop creative approaches in all curriculum areas.”

The event was also used to raise money for children’s charity NCB.

 

Primary Practice for year 1

The New RE syllabus for Catholic Primary Schools ‘Come and See’ requires that pupils gain an insight into the major world religions. For the mutual benefit of the school and our undergraduate Trainees we were invited in to Blackbrook St Mary’s Primary School to deliver an assembly on the Story of Rama and Sita to years 5 and 6 and then to deliver 4 lessons on Hinduism across the two year groups.

Suited and booted !

Matthew H said:

The Year 1 Undergraduate class paid a visit to Blackbrook Primary School, under request from the Head Teacher, Mrs Ashton. It was there that we had a go at teaching the primary school children about Hinduism. We had been divided into a groups, I had been paired up with Emma, Matthew, and Lauren. We had been tasked with creating an assembly that would introduce to the children about Hinduism. We chose to create a fun / daft play which told the story of Rama and Sita. I played Sita ( Rama’s Wife), Lauren played the part of Rama, and Matt played (Hannuma and The Golden Deer that appears, and Ravana the ten headed demon) Emma  narrated the play.

Sita, Hanuman and Rama

Andrew said:

On the last day of November, (Friday 30th) our RE class were given the opportunity to perform and teach to year 5 and 6 pupils about Hinduism. This was an exciting day for us because what we had been learning in lessons, we were now passing on that knowledge to a classroom of students. There was some preparation to organise because a small proportion of our class decided to reinact the story of Rama and Sita in an assembly to the majority of the primary school. I thought this to be a very effective method of teaching because it was very entertaining. After the assembly we were divided into groups and sent to individual classrooms and during that time we were teaching Hinduism again. As a group we organised bingo and a quiz activity were the winner(s) won sweets. I think that’s why the pupils liked us the most.

 

Hannah said:

Today I taught a primary school class for an hour about the Hindu Gods. We had to produce a starter, main and plenary for the class to complete thinking about the time we had and what activities we were going to be doing.

Hayley and I worked together to deliver the lesson. Our starter activity was used to find out what the children already knew about Hinduism, we gave them a sheet with the Hindu Om symbol on it; they then had to mind map any knowledge they already had on Hinduism. This knowledge was then fed back to the whole class so we could see what they had been learning about already. Once we had begun the main part of the lesson we asked the children to use the small bit of play dough they had been given and create their own version of a Hindu God, we told them to think about the assembly they had just seen and we put some images on the board as a visual aid for them. We then asked them to leave the play dough and we went onto the main part of the lesson where we showed a Power Point on the Trimurti and the Gods included in that. We then asked them had they seen the film ‘Avatar’ and asked what they though an Avatar, most of the class had seen it and were able to explain very well what they though one was, this led onto how we had created our own Avatar with the play dough and how we were about to paint Hindu masks of the Gods. Whilst the children were painting the masks we supervised them whilst asking and answering questions about the Gods. At first I was really nervous about teaching a primary class because I didn’t know how they would respond to the different activities and if they would get bored easily. However everything seemed to work out OK and the children seemed to enjoy what they were learning.

Richard said:

Friday 30th November my RE group went to St. Mary’s School, and led a lesson for an hour, I was partnered with Andrew and the lesson was about the Hindu God’s, but before this 4 other people in my group did a 10 minute assembly enactment of the story of Rama and Sita which the kids loved, then the children went to their rooms where we taught the lesson, Andrew and my lesson started with  the children writing everything they know about Hinduism, and then a power point on the Gods with comparison to some things in Christianity so that it would seem less alien to them.

 

The visit concluded with a a tour around the school, which was very good. Blackbrook Primary School is a brilliant school to develop any ones intellectual needs.

 

All in all a brilliant experience of teaching and learning for all involved.

Undergraduates visit Hindus in Preston

Year one undergraduates recently visited the Gujarat Hindu Society Centre in Preston.  Richard noted that

It was the largest Hindu temple in the Northwest of England, and it was surprising to see what their sacred building was considering there are so many Gods that they believe in, it was also surprising to find out that the murals on the ceiling which were absolutely stunning, took only 10 weeks to make. it was a good experience, and learnt a lot from visiting also the Guide was most useful, and answered all the questions with a good answers, granted they were sometimes a bit complex, but that is better than an answer being too simple.

Hannah also wrote on her blog:

It was really interesting going on this visit. Having never been to a Mandir before I didn’t really know what to expect. When I went in it was a large room with beautiful paintings, statues and pictures everywhere. The ceiling and walls have been painted with images of the Avatars, Deities and Vedas. People in the temple use this as something to focus on when they are praying.

Experiencing Dharma in Bradford

On Friday 28th September, PGCE trainees braved the long hike up the M62 and over the Pennines to enjoy a memorable day meeting faith representatives of the dharmic traditions in Bradford. Our first visit was to the highly impressive Shree Laxmi Narayan Mandir on Leeds road where our faith tutor, Seema, provided us with a brilliant, lucid overview of what she considered the five main principles of Hindu dharma. Seema has a real gift in making very complex ideas down to earth and accessible. We all felt this was the perfect refresher of our subject knowledge. We were also able to enjoy prashad and to participate in the morning service led by the priest. Hearing the hymns and witnessing the fire blessing made this a very special experience for all of us.

Next stop was Bombay stores shopping for artefacts and then on to the Gurdwara Singh Sabha. We were greeted enthusiastically by our Sikh faith tutors,a husband and wife team, who led us through to the prayer hall. We enjoyed a peaceful moment of quiet meditation before our tutors explained the significance of the Guru Granth Sahib to us and the meaning of Sikh Dharma in their lives. I was particularly impressed by the teaching of Guru Nanak to always ‘retain your humanity’, a beautiful teaching explained by our faith tutor. Seeing the kirpan and ther khanda and hearing the readings of the Granth Sahib and the kirtan were real high points of the visit. Trainees were also treated to some authentic Sikh musicianship and we learnt about the role of music in the tradition.

RE Postgraduates are now equipped with stories to tell and some excellent photographs to use in their RE teaching.

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.