The sun shone brightly on our PGCE RE Class of 2014 and our final cohort of Key Stage 2/3 RE Undergraduates.
The year has been a hugely successful one for RE at Edge Hill. All of our Undergraduates were in employment by the time of graduation (a first) and only a few PGCE students were still looking to secure a position. Record numbers of students had completed the course with Outstanding teaching grades, and more postgraduates than ever had gained Masters Credits for the academic elements of their study.
Graduation day was a day to celebrate success with friends and family. We are all very proud of our RE students at Edge Hill and wish them a long and happy teaching career!
Final Year Undergraduates completed their visits to places of worship with a trip to the Guru Sri Harkrishan Sahib Ji Gurdwara in Manchester. As always our hosts were excellent, explaining the tenets of their faith and dealing with students’ questions before offering us a generous Langar. Pictures from the day are on flickr and below.
Two former PGCE students, now serving teachers, returned to Edge Hill to talk about life as a Muslim in 21st Century England.
Sabrina Hussain completed her PGCE RE in 2008 and teaches RE at Oasis Academy in Oldham. Arsalan Aslam completed his PGCE RE in 2009 and now leads the teaching of RE at Al Jamiah Al Islamiyyah Darul Uloom in Bolton, a Muslim boys’ day and boarding school.
After a brief introduction where our two guests shared a little of their life stories, students had the opportunity to ask questions on a range of topics related to Islamic beliefs and practices in readiness both for their upcoming assignments and also for when they teach Islam in schools.
It was fascinating to have two Muslims who practise their faith in different ways and see that in Islam, as with all religions is internally contested and fuzzy edged (Jackson, 1997). Students came away from the session ready to wite their assignments and looking forward to being able to teach about Islam as a real living religion during their placements.
Once again this year we were delighted to Welcome Holocaust Survivor Mayer to speak to our Final Year Undergraduate and Postgraduate students and invited pupils from a number of Partnership schools.
Mayer’s story beginning with the outbreak of war on his 13th birthday is both harrowing and moving. Mayer seems to get more frail each year, but the strength of his conviction to tell the tale is as strong as ever. This epic story of survival against the odds, including slave labour, Auschwitz, death trains and marches had all listeners on the edge of their seats – as it has done for many years. Mayer was awarded an honourary Doctorate in 2012 by Edge Hill and received an MBE in the following New Year’s Honours list in recognition of his work.
Following a lunch break 6th Form and KS4 pupils from a number of partner schools were helped to reflect on Mayer’s story by working with Edge Hill RE and History students. Their responses and their questions were as deep and insightful as always. We all hope that Mayer will once again return to Edge Hill next year.
The NATRE North West Network saw over 50 trainee teachers from Edge Hill, Hope and MMU and around a dozen serving RE teachers from our Partnership had an excellent day’s CPD with Stephen Pett from NATRE. It was the last day at University for our Final Year Undergraduates and PGCE students at Edge Hill came out of school for the day. It was free for all to attend thanks to the support of the Jerusalem Trust and Edge Hill University.
The day was as always focussed on classroom practice, and totally interactive, with sessions on happiness, assessment, ultimate questions and planning an enquiry based Scheme of Work. Feedback from students and serving teachers was totally positive.
“In 12 years of teaching this is the best CPD I have had” – Rachel, Head of RE
Next Year’s event is destined to be earlier in the year – so keep Monday 15th December 2014 in mind, and school based partners can begin to mention this date to their line managers. You can read about 2013’s event here. Lots more photos from the day are on Flickr and below!
Final Year Undergraduates spent a morning at Deanery Church of England High School Sixth Form College to learn about the teaching of RE Post 16, and specifically A level RE.
Sarah Daley, Assistant Head of RE at the school told us about the Art of teaching A Level, using some recent examples from her teaching, such as a lesson comparing the Judeo-Christian Creation stories at AS level and the Augustinian Theodicy at A2. we were reminded that at A-level, teaching does not radically change and that structuring a lesson is still important to encourage student engagement.
Sarah spoke to us about the procedures at Deanery for assessment of student work and the tracking of progress which goes on, before finishing with some thoughts about the upcoming changes to the way A Levels will be assessed in the near future.
After a brief chat with the Head Boy, about the challenges of A level from a student point of view we were able to go and observe former Edge Hill student Taco Michiels teaching a very small Upper VI RE lesson on business ethics. We were able to recognise the influence of Edge Hill as Taco started the lesson by outlining the Key Question behind the enquiry, “what if all businesses behaved ethically?”. He went on to use some active learning techniques with the class – a silent discussion and some creative Diamond 9 sorting.
A brew in the staffroom at breaktime was followed by a chance to observe Sarah teaching her Lower VI class on the problem of evil, and again we could see that good teaching at A level looks very similar to good teaching at all ages: an odd-one-out activity, images as thought-provoking stimuli, picture sorting, a market place activity and high-quality teacher input were all squeezed into the hour long lesson, which had pace and challenge without ever seeming rushed.
“Thanks to Taco and Sarah for today – I now feel much better prepared (and less scared!) to teach A level RE in my next placement” – Katie
Year 1 and Year 3 undergraduates enjoyed spending a day in the Islamic community in Preston as part of their Module on Islam.
We were able to once again benefit from the hospitality and wisdom of Waqaus Ali ot ThinkBrite. The day began with an introduction and then a brief visit to see some of the youngest members of the Islamic community in the Pre-school at Little Sparkles Nursery.
Waqaus then spoke about Islam as a Way of Life – a deen – and was joined by Abdul Hafeez Darr, who is a partner in a legal firm and was able to include some practical examples of living life as a Muslim.
After some refreshments at lunchtime, the first highlight of the afternoon session was a visit to Abrar Academy, an Outstanding Independent Islamic boys’ school. There we were treated to a very rare spectacle: being able to watch the Friday Jummah prayers being led by a student at the school. afterwards we were able to talk to the headteacher, Mr Anayath Chowdhury who spoke about the school’s ethos, curriculum and plans for the future. all were struck by how amazingly calm the school was.
The day ended at the Madina Masjid, where we were able to see all of the facilities in this purpose built mosque.
We are proud that the KS2/3 Course was able to pilot this brand new Award for PE teachers from the FA. Over 40 trainees from a variety of subject specialisms were able to become the first Primary teachers in the North-West to complete this award. The aim of the course is to enable all primary school teachers to be able to successfully deliver the new PE National Curriculum in Primary Schools. Most of the students had no prior football or coaching experience, outside of the degree programme and school placements.
“I had the best time! It was brill and learnt lots at the same time! I feel a lot more confident about teaching Primary PE now, especially with differentiating each activity” – Jenny
The course was delivered by Chris Brammall, FA Regional PE & Coaching in Education Coordinator (North West) and Chris Welburn, FA Regional PE & Coaching in Education Coordinator (North East) and facilitated by Paul Smalley, Senior Lecturer and FA Coach Mentor.
“It was best teaching day for a foundation subject we have had! To be honest I have always felt confident teaching PE, but I learnt so much today and feel even better.” -Jake
We began with an introduction and theoretical background a classroom, where we thought about the various challenges of Primary PE and started to define physical literacy. We then moved out onto the 4G Astroturf for practical work in two groups. We were shown a number of warm-up activities, multi-directional and directional games, some of which were specific to football skill deelopment, but many which developed fundamental movement skills and objectives linking to the Natioanl Curriculum’s invasions games. We could not have wished for a better day and stayed on the astroturf all afternoon until around 4-ish.
“Absolutely loved today so engaging and very tiring, early night for me! Thanks Paul and the 2 Chris’ s very fab I have some great ideas and it definitely made me want to get back into my sports.” – Lauren
The new National Curriculum is to be implemented in Local Authority schools from September 2014. In order to prepare our students for this, Edge Hill recently held a Curriculum 2014 day conference. Of course RE is not part of the new (or old) National Curriculum, but it locally determined. However the RE Council has produced an RE Review which includes a Non-statutory National Curriculum Framework for RE, to mirror the developments. Edge Hill welcomed Helen Harrison, Vice Chair of the RE Council to update PGCE and final year Undergraduate students on the Review and the implications for schools – and more importantly for SACREs.
As part of their Islam module, Year 1 and Year 3 undergraduates were visited by former student Kulsum Issa and Yunus Chasma in order to educate us about the spiritual movement of Sufism.
Yunus explained the beliefs that Sufis have and the origins of the movement. In many ways Sufism is like Islam taken to another spiritual level, where loving the beloved (God) is all important. Different levels of devotion were made clear – Shariat (the law), Tariqat (the path), Haqiqat (the journey) and Marifat (the destination).