Building on the Stonewall training PG trainees had had previously, Kieran Bohan from Round Table delivered a session on inclusivity and diversity within Christianity. Trainees appreciated him sharing his own experiences from within the LGBT and Christian community and discussing how scripture can celebrate those who identify as LGBTQI+.
PGCE trainees were able to have mock job interviews in preparation for applying for their NQT posts. They were put through their paces by some of our fantastic school-based mentors, who were able to offer guidance and feedback on their responses. Great to hear such positive feedback from trainees and interviewers alike!
Year 3 undergraduates visited Lowton CE High school to spend a day looking at teaching GCSE. Having battled through the traffic, we were met by Heather Clare, a very experienced RE teacher and Senior Teacher at the school.
Our first task was to look at the Specification (From AQA) and decide what religions and themes we would teach it we were the Head of RE. We then planned in what order we would deliver that, leading to a discussion of our different answers.
Heather helped us to understand the importance of key words, and of teaching the content in an efficient way, using the exam boards definitions. Heather’s delivery modelled good classroom practice throughout. We tested our knowledge of Jewish key words in a fun interactive way.
We turned to look at evaluation questions, and Heather challenged us to get our pupils to write like a river, or even an ocean, and not like a puddle (lacking depth, breadth and with nothing much there), or a pool (structured, contained, with arguments going one way then the next. With this in mind we had a go at assessing some evaluation questions, using the marking criteria, before looking at a task to help pupils ‘develop reasoned consideration’.
A year 10 class joined us then, for a lesson on Animal Rights. This began with a picture starter and a quick survey of opinions on food. Whiteboards were again used for definitions of key words. The lesson ended with some evaluation work, which would lead on in a future 12 mark question.
After Lunch, we looked at some examples from least years exam paper, looking at marking. Finally we looked at revision techniques, including Heather’s incredible audio revision recordings.
For another year the RE PGCE trainees were able to attend the ITT conference at one of our outstanding partnership schools, Stretford High in Manchester. Trainees were involved in a range of sessions such as developing their teaching persona (led by Faisal Ahmed, Professional Mentor and Head of Humanities/Social Sciences Faculty), interview hints and tips (led by Headteacher Nicola Doward) and listen to the experiences of NQT and recent EHU RE ITT graduate, Emily Jones. They had opportunity to meet with some insightful and articulate Year 11 students who shared their thoughts on what make an effective teacher and a good RE lesson, before asking some tough questions to a range of staff who varied in experience. Despite some of the trainees being concerned that they didn’t have enough paper for all the notes they wanted to take (!) it was a great opportunity for them to not only develop their current practice, but also to think about taking their first steps in applying for their first teaching post. Many thanks to all at Stretford.
Today trainees got the chance to visit one of our outstanding partnership schools, Cowley International College in St Helens. Led by the experienced RE team, trainees were able to reflect on the notion and importance of professionalism, benefit from the experiences of ex-Alumni and get some top tips for being professional from Principal Cameron Sheeran. They also got the chance to chat to some fabulous students who shared their experiences of RE and their thoughts on what makes a good RE lesson. A fantastic afternoon that got everyone looking forward to starting their first placement next week. Thanks Cowley!
Just before Christmas, Editor of RE Today magazine and NATRE Adviser, Lat Blaylock delivered an outstanding and engaging conference for UG and PG ITT trainees entitled ‘RE for All: Entitlement and Opportunity’. As current PGCE students, we found the day to be extremely informative and enjoyable. Lat discussed and demonstrated activities which we could use in the classroom to help engage pupils which we found particularly useful and which encouraged use to think about what ‘good’ RE looks like. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and we thank Lat for making it possible 🙂 – Catherine Agnew & Rebecca Eiffe-Harvey (EHU PGCE trainees)
Prior to starting their first placement, PGCE trainees attended a professionalism conference at one of our partnership schools, Cowley International College in St Helens. Led by the fantastic PM Sue Reed, trainees considered what it means to be professional and chatted with the Principle and Vice-Principle about issues such as social media, attendance and professional expectations. They got to meet the ‘RE ambassadors’ from year 10 and get some inside information on what they think makes a good RE lesson before speaking to ex-Edge Hill alumni about surviving your PGCE and NQT year. A lovely end to a very intense 3 weeks! Thanks Cowley!
To finish the year we were pleased to welcome Lat Blaylock of NATRE/RE Today to Edge Hill’s Woodlands Conference Centre for our Annual NATRE North West Conference for final year undergraduate and PGCE Secondary RE students. As well as Edge Hill students we were joined by MMU and Cumbria School Direct trainees.
The day began with a look at some of the best Spirited Art entries and an encouragement to run the competition in placement schools. Lat then turned our attention to how we might reach about modern socio-political RE. We thought about the Charlie Hebdo Murders of 2014 and who might be blamed by using the idea of a ‘responsibility pie’. We saw that this activity raised questions about Fundamental British Values and Lat showed how this study could lead to an extended written task. Finally we wondered about other contexts that a responsibility pie could be used and discussed how RE can objectively challenge prejudices
“My gospel text for today is hard concept, simple activity” – Lat.
Before a coffee break we considered teaching the enquiry question ‘what does it mean for a building to reflect the glory of God?’ by looking at the Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand, King’s College Cambridge and the Milton Keynes Tree Cathedral. Lat had demonstrated in this first session that RE can be creative, engaged with current socio-political issues and having a solid, conceptual base.
PIn the second session we considered RE as global. We considered some religious growth and decline statistics, including learning that worship of Ganesh is growing in popularity with Hindu devotees. We then were able to play a game about Evil and saw how this could help young people produce writing that shows ethical reasoning. Once we evaluated the resource we looked at Islam, and how the rituals of the Hajj have transformed as the numbers engaging in the pilgrimage have increased. We considered ways that the ritual of moral ambition can help pupils learn about the concept of forgiveness. Our final example of global RE was about global Christianity, starting with Keith Haring’s art, and the questions that his life story raises.
After lunch we thought about wholistic RE, using one of the BBC ‘A Question of Faith’ clips about revelation in a charismatic Christian Healing service which was compared with Derren Brown. By looking at these two stimuli, pupils are able to analyse the competing truth claims. We then thought about the statistics involved in Global religion, which we didn’t have time for in the morning! Lat then talked briefly about different pedagogies of RE before adopting a Human Spiritual Development approach to consider whether the inner voice is real. To finish we had a brief look at how you might teach religious texts, with an example from Revelation.
Thanks to Lat, for an engaging and inspiring day, and to St Luke’s Trust and the Jerusalem Trust for their generous support of these regional RE conferences.
We were delighted to recently welcome Charlotte and Peter Vardy to Edge Hill to spend a day with a postgraduate and third year undergraduate RE students and a small number of school based patrners, helping them think about how to teach RS to pupils in the sixth form.
The day began with a discussion of the proposed changes to the GCSE and A-level content which have been proposed, followed by an introductory session considering what is truth and what this means in a post-modern age. After a break came two weighty sessions led by Charlotte Vardy explaining some tried and tested approaches to teaching the Design Argument and the Cosmological Argument. Students and teachers were able to improve their knowledge and understanding of the arguments, becoming more confident in their teaching.
After lunch Dr Peter Vardy considered how to teach the problems of Evil and Suffering, considering the fundamental philosophical issues it raises about truth, human freedom and responsibility, before Charlotte Vardy explored Utilitarianism, considering what differentiates between mediocre teaching from excellent teaching in relation to this topic.
The thought provoking day ended with a final Peter Vardy session discussing Natural Law and Sexual Ethics. This was a mentally taxing day which was made much easier by the energy and enthusiasm of the speakers and has enabled students to be ready and confident to teach these topics during the Post 16 elements of their teaching placements. The school based partners were equally pleased to have been able to attend and leave having considered how to improve their teaching of A level.
“Thanks for a informative, educational day” – Glynn, teacher of A level RS in a partner school.
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!