Tag Archives: PGCE

Awesome and Intimate- PGCE trainees visit the Great Space

RE PGCE trainees were over awed by the magnificent splendour of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral during a visit on Friday 20th September. Once again we were hosted by our superb tour guide Helen, a former secondary school teacher and a fount of knowledge. Helen explored the deep symbolism and religious significance of the Cathedral and its history.

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We started our tour at the West door with its wonderful Tracey Emin art, “I felt you and I knew that you loved me”, a statement that could be interpreted as an expression of the Christian message. Helen explained the role of the Cathedral within the diocese, its outreach work into the community and the vision of Giles Gilbert Scott who designed the Great Space. The beauty of the nave and the main well contrasted with the intimacy of the quiet spiritual spaces of the Holy Spirit Chapel and the Lady Chapel.
We concluded our tour at the High Altar and the East Window, a fitting place to end our exploration with the empty cross and the symbolising the resurrection as testament to the Christian message.

I have little doubt that everyone was impressed and that there will be repeat bookings as a result. Within the RE team we aim to give our trainees a network of contacts within the faith communities so they can use these experiences to deepen their learners understanding of the real presence of people of faith within our communities.

Thanks to Rob Duffy for his excellent pictures!

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Inspirational Induction at Stretford High School

Starting PGCE is always going to be a challenge so positive messages and an inspirational induction in a successful secondary school set the right tone for the rest of the training year. This is the third year running in which PGCE trainees have had the professional boost of an induction day at Stretford High school, one of our most successful and dynamic partnership schools. The day was led by outstanding Stretford colleagues who made a real impact through their key messages about professionalism, the rewards of teaching and the commitment required to make a difference to young peoples’ lives.

Professional mentor Linda Smith started the day with a review of the DFE standards and some valuable reminders about the boundaries between the professional and the personal. Trainees enjoyed a characteristically charismatic presentation by Head Teacher, James Haseldine who shared his career journey and his powerful and motivational vision for inclusive, challenging education for all. Trainees got a real insight into the impact of effective management and leadership underpinned by commitment to ensuring the best opportunities are made available to learners- Mr Haseldine’s presentation will be a powerful motivator for trainees throughout this year.

Mez Munshi, RE PGCE alumni, and outstanding PGCE graduate shared her perspective on the challenges of the PGCE, leaving trainees reassured and confident that they can do it! Lastly we had a tour of the school by a group of wonderful year 11 pupils. We were suitably charmed and impressed by their friendliness and their obvious love of their school. We can’t wait to come back for more training from Stretford colleagues, welcoming Stretford KS4 pupils to our Holocaust study event- all examples of best partnership practice!

Special thanks go to Mr Faisal Ahmed, Director of Humanities, for organising this inspirational event for us.
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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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NATRE Network Day

The RE Team welcomed Stephen Pett and Fiona Moss from NATRE to Edge HIll for the Annual RE Network Conference.  This year the Conference was generously supported by the Jerusalem Trust and drew together Undergraduate and Postgraduate students from Edge Hill as well as guests from Liverpool Hope’s RE PGCE.  Around a dozen of our Mentors were able to be released from school for the day to take part in this worthwhile CPD.

Stephen shared some work on advertising and happiness (‘Why live a good life when the good life is on offer?”) as well as some innovative approaches to planning an enquiry based RE scheme of work. Fiona explored some of the issues surrounding teaching controversial issues in RE.  All of this was delivered in a very hands on, practical, interactive way.

One of the mentors, Hannah, commented:

“This has been a really valuable day.  It is always great to go on some CPD where you actually leave with things that you can use straight away in class.  I’m going to go home and start planning next week’s lessons using some of the ideas from today!”

We hope to be able to welcome NATRE back again next year and will talk to Mentors about what they would like the Network to do next year.

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Inspiration and professional messages from Stretford High

You don’t need me to tell you that training as a secondary teacher is a daunting process, so it makes it all the more important that our trainees hear from recently qualified successful practitioners who are making an impact. We’ve enjoyed a strong partnership with Stretford High school since Nick Theodosiou, former RE trainee, completed his placement at the school in 2010. Nick has gone on to become one of our lead CMs and Deputy Head of Humanities.

In September Nick led a training session focussing on all the key professional messages that beginner teachers need to hear. Nick outlined to trainees what they can do through their professional conduct to ensure a successful professional placement.

We were joined by the Head Teacher Mr Haseldine and Professional Mentor, Linda Smith who shared their positive, forward thinking vision for education with us. Mr Haseldine generously shared his professional journey into leadership, exploring the challenges and the joys of teaching. Mr Haseldine underlined why he thinks RE is such an important subject in his school- morale boosting messages to hear at the start of a challenging journey!
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Inclusion and nurture at Accrington Academy

The period after first placement is always a good time to take stock of some of the more complex and challenging aspects of teaching. PGCE RE trainees received a programme of outstanding training from our colleagues at Accrington Academy, led by Professional Mentor and RE Curriculum Mentor, Rebecca Conn- yes, another excellent Edge Hill alumni and an outstanding mentor!

Rebecca was joined by Sue Coates, who graduated from the RE PGCE course in 2009 and specialises in SEN. Sue analysed best practice in SEN using a video of one of her nurture group lessons. We enjoyed a session in the nurture classroom with Michelle Hargreaves who explained the principles of attachment theory and strategies she uses to support nurture pupils both pastorally and academically.

We were up-dated on how to incorporate best literacy and phonics practice into RE through a Sounds Write session led by Jenny Jones and after lunch (always a treat!), Nick Hughes gave us a truly dynamic demonstration of differentiation for the most able through challenging questioning. Rebecca led on reflections, questions and discussion in the plenary. Trainees and tutor left inspired!

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EAL and Inclusion at Manchester Communications Academy

Many thanks to (yes, more Edge Hill Alumni) Nichola Rodden and Alex Reed for their high quality EAL training offered to our RE trainees on 18th March. PGCE training should be an opportunity for trainees to see and experience a wide range of school settings, so we were all highly impressed by the innovative environment and the progressive teaching and learning practice we observed at Manchester Communications Academy.

The highlight of the day was the opportunity to work with some exceptional year seven pupils who had agreed to let us assess them as a part of an EAL assessment exercise. We learnt a lot from them and Alex- needless to say these talented year seven pupils demonstrated brilliant skills!

‘Crime and Punishment’ : Ribblesdale High School Gifted and Talented Study Day

 ‘People should take illegal drugs if they want to’

 ‘Reformation is the most important aim of punishment’

Controversial and contentious statements, not the easiest assertions to evaluate and guaranteed to provoke argument and debate!  In fact, debate, discussion and heated argument was our aim, as twenty year 10 GCSE high flyers and their teacher, CM, Bridget Mashiter from Ribblesdale High school came to spend the day with RE trainees on March 1st at Edge Hill University. Year 10 are exploring religious attitudes to crime and punishment as part of their GCSE studies, so RE trainees created a thought provoking programme of activities to help pupils really explore the issues in depth and to sharpen their evaluation and analysis skills.

The best aspect of a day like this is the opportunity to do something pedagogically risky and challenging, which is what trainees did with their ‘Island’ activity (thanks also to Sue Phillips for inspiration!).

Pupils worked in their thinking groups to use the principles of Islam and Christianity to design a set of laws and ethical guidelines on an imaginary island they had been ship wrecked upon. They then went on to defend and justify their decisions. After lunch, RE trainees went into role for the plenary session, which took the form of ‘Question Time’ debate. Trainees represented various religions and ethical stances defending their views on crime and punishment in the face of some fierce and perceptive questions from our Ribblesdale audience.

Pupils seemed to enjoy the day as this feedback shows:

“The entire experience was fantastic and I really enjoyed it”

“At the beginning of the day you asked us all to write down what we would like to improve on- I wrote religious quotes. At the end of the day I knew many more quotes than I’d learnt in previous lessons”

“I particularly enjoyed the island activity”

“I easily reached my aim for the day by learning arguments from more than one side and the religious views…I have gained vital knowledge on how to answer GCSE questions”

Last and by no means least, it’s gratifying to know the pupils enjoyed what the campus has to offer,

“I am thankful for the dinner because it was so nice and good!”

We like to think we can offer a good experience for body and mind.

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Subject Knowledge Enrichment- exploring faith in Manchester

Experiential learning through visits to faith communities continues to be an integral feature of the course, not least because we hope our trainees will develop their own RE network from the experiences. We are fortunate to have such a rich and culturally diverse resources with so many faith communities in our region.

In December we visited the Manchester Triratna Buddhist centre and were warmly welcomed by Richard, the new education colleague in Clear Vision. We enjoyed some rich philosophical debate and discussion with Richard, exploring Buddhist perspectives on the origins of the universe and whether a first cause is necessary to explain the fact there is a universe in existence. I couldn’t help thinking these debates were reminiscent of the Buddha’s dialogues with the Brahmin sages of his day. Richard summed our lively debate up nicely, “It was a blast!”

From the Buddha’s dharma we switched emphasis to Judaism with a visit to Manchester Jewish museum. If you’ve not been before, it’s well worth a visit, especially because your pupils will be able to handle artefacts in a grade 11 listed Sephardic synagogue. It’s a visual and kinaesthetic treat and will really convey the richness of Jewish culture in a way a text book simply can’t achieve.
We followed up this exploration of Judaism with David Arnold in February who gave us his personal perspective on the joy of living as Jew from the wonderful setting of Stenecourt Schule. David explored complex aspects of the Jewish faith as a way of life, examining scripture, prayer, symbolism and Shabbat. David summed up what Judaism really means to practitioners with this analogy, which I think really captures what religion means to believers of all traditions,

“Just as a book on anatomy can’t convey what a body really is, a text book on Judaism can never capture the meaning of Judaism- it is a way of life”

 

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Holocaust Remembered

Dr Mayer Hersch MBE paid his annual visit to Edge Hill University to tell gathered RE and History ITE students together with pupils from a number of parternship schools the story of his survival during the darkest days of the Nazi regime.

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Mayer was only 13 when the Nazis invaded his homeland Poland and his 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 and honourary Doctorate last year by Edge Hill and received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list in recognition of his work.

Following a lunch break pupils from a number of partner schools were helped to reflect on Mayer’s story by working with Edge Hill PGCE students.  There responses and their questions were deep and insightful.  We all hope that Mayer will once again return to Edge Hill next year.

A Day in the Theatre of Learning

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Sue Phillips visited Edge Hill university to invite PGCE and Final Year KS2/3 Undergrauate students to spend a day in the Theatre of Learning.  Sue has pioneered this exciting and experiential form of RE over the past few years and was delighted to share her pedagogy with the students.

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Students were shown the famous ‘Island’, and a variety of religion neutral exercised.  Evaluation, spirituality, assessment, and even quantum physics all featured in the day, whilst the session ended withstudents being invited to don bin bags and empathise with the experience of a homeless person.

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Students were inspired by this day and are eager to put Sue’s ideas into practice on their final teaching practice.

 

 

Behaviour for learning at Stretford High School

PGCE trainees enjoyed high quality behaviour management training courtesy of our colleagues at Stretford High school. As always, we received a very warm welcome from our Stretford colleagues, including Faisal Ahmed and Mez Munshi, recent highly successful PGCE alumni. Stretford’s lead behaviour and attendance professional, Leila, took us through Stretford’s highly successful behaviour policy which underlined just how effective a systematic whole school approach is. Consistency, good use of praise and rewards and careful, proactive monitoring of attendance all emerged as the key ingredients to ensuring behavior for learning. We also gained valuable insights into the use of the school’s staged consequences and restorative justice.

The stars of the session were the three year 11 pupils who joined us to give their perspective on class management. The pupils told us that they valued a fair and consistent approach. We learnt that they knew when a teacher was making the effort with them and shouting wasn’t effective, quite the opposite and likely to back-fire! It was interesting to hear that the pupils expected teachers not to hold grudges- all wise advice from the people who count the most, the learners.

We finished with some helpful advice from Faisal, who is leading on aspects of the school’s pastoral review, developing the role of the form captain. Once again we came away from Stretford High inspired with the knowledge that good systems work and have impact on pupil achievement.