RE at Edge Hill

Tag: Secondary Undergraduate (page 2 of 7)

Post 16 in Haslingden

We were welcomed to Haslingden High School by Sally Finney who is the director of teacher training at the school. Then Ben Wood, the Head of RE and Vice Chair of NATRE met us and explained the day.

The first class we observed was a Year 12 class.

Welcomed the class as ladies and gentlemen,

Homework collected in.

Coats off.

Revision questions – as part of the routine. Worked in silence. Numbers are 1,7, 13, 25, 30

Targeted questions by name,  can you give me more? Still want a bit more. Did allow others to help fill out the answer….

Work is a continuation, looking at Augustine’s teaching. Last two this week, following on from Prior learning.

Students begin by reading through a source sheet (holes already punched for easy insertion into folders), making notes and drawing to a conclusion.

Students work informally in groups, to put the sources into for or against columns.  Ben circulates and is called on by some for help. He is able to ask challenging questions and is clearly expert. He observes what some students are writing, and challenges some to write in more depth or ensure their conclusions are firmly evidenced. He is trying to get them to think beyond the obvious answers. Having already taught the knowledge in previous lessons he is helping to prepare for exam essay questions by debating.

When students have completed their work, they move on to the second question independently. The atmosphere is relaxed with a buzz of on-task chatter.

Work is not completed, so this will be returned to next lesson. Homework is to do 17 revision questions on body, mind and soul.

 

Ben then explains to us that at A level he is not interested in opinions which are short term, and easily changed. He is interested in conclusions based on evidence.

He outlined our task which is to read about Wittgenstein and language games and think about how they would teach the Year 13 lesson later.  We did this, enjoying some breakfast pastries and struggled with both the subject content, and how we would present it to a Year 13 class.

Next we watched Ben actually teach it.  As with the Year 12 class, the lesson started with 5 revision questions from the selection the students had done for homework which they first handed in. They have a short amount of time to do this on their own in silence, and they are given a one minute warning. These answers are shared, Ben selects a students to say their answer and rewords the correct answers to emphasise correct terminology. He further questions incorrect or incomplete answers.

The last two questions about Heaven, hell and purgatory being symbols or metaphors directly relates to today’s lesson. Ben begins with a mindmap on the board asking students prior knowledge of Wittgenstein. He uses the two Ideas they remember to draw out the difference between logical positivist, and Wittgensteinl’s later view. He asks if Wiggenstein can be described as a cognitive st or a non-cognivist.

He turns to the prepared information sheet. He stresses that the meaning of a word depends on its use. Words have no fixed meaning. Using Wittgenstein’s chess analogy he shows that meanin depends upon context.Students add to the printed notes.

He compares chess and football are different games and therefore have different rules. In the same way religious language has different rules from other forms of language. This means that the criticisms of the verification principle are irrelevant for the language game of religion.

To illustrate the key term lebensform, the students discussed ‘offside’ in football, rugby and driving, and then the changing meaning of ‘literally’. The understanding of this concept is enhanced and developed by discussion; students are free to answer or ask questions as they wish.

The lesson then turns to reading and interpreting a quote form D. Z. Phillips, suggesting that ‘eternal life’ has a meaning other than an infinite extension of living after death. Pupils are asked to write a paragraph exemplifying this idea. Ben offered help and challenge to students who requested it, or who he noticed needed help.

At the end of the lesson, students were given another set of revision questions to work on at home.

We then had lunch and then spent an hour discussing the theory of how to teach A Level RS.

NATRE Conference 2017 at Edge Hill

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)

 

GCSE in Lowton

Undergraduate QTS Third Year students spent an amazing day at Lowton CE High School to find out about teaching the new GCSE RE specifications.  We bgan by looking at the AQA – two papers Religions and themes.

Tried to choose what religions and themes

Then attempted a curriculum map: what is best to do Religions first and then themes?

Then looked at setting and answering examinations. thinking carefully about the precise wording of questions, and how teaching needs to reflect these assessment objectives from the start.

‘Show my homework’ quizzes are used at Lowton to help revision.

 

Spent a lesson with year 10, looking at how to structure an evaluation answer on Animal Rights.

The pupils played a game with pieces of Card with 4 statements and two questions, to ensure everyone was talking about the knowledge gained in previous lessons. Following that pupils collaborated to write a 12 mark question on large whiteboards with each pupil using different pens. Groups then swapped boards to consolidate their answers, key words being highlighted.

 

Then year 9 joined us for a lesson on whether it is right to use animals for food.

Tasks, peer working, questioning, targeted, what do you think. One from this table. “Emotional response” praise, further explanation of pupil answers…

Link from pupil generated answers to ‘exam spec’ answers….Opinion question… visual stimulus … red green cards. Discuss….Memory Aid….. SIRS

 

 

 

Opinion questions with red green cards…. no discussion PACE!

Named pupil. Pick one and explain it….

From pupil generated to answers from spec… 4.

“If we say it we remember it!”

Ted talk…4 minutes…. talk about what you heard…. are you persuaded?

Targeted feedback….

Recap on 4 reasons..

“You are going to have to talk about it-so write something that makes sense”

-key points on revision cards., drawn from an information sheet explaining three of the reasons… individual work.. tightly timed…

Movement… paired discussion … peer assessment… one explain, one listen for what is missed.

After a fabulous lunch, we returned to look at pupil exercise books discovering what is good and what challenges they present for teachers.

We considered what should go in pupil books and how it should be assessed.

Finally we bought about revision. Lowton stresses that after school revision sessions should be short and active. We tried a revision technique called lost luggage and another technique whee pupils would collaborate to make revision notes.

Islam in Preston

Year 1 Undergraduates at Edge Hill study a module on Islam and as part of that spend a day in the Muslim community in Preston.  One of the Year 1 students, Katie, reflected on the day.

We began the day with a talk about the aims of the day, and identifying what we already know, and what we would like to have found out by the end of the day. Everyone was so warm and inviting, I felt really comfortable asking questions, knowing that I would get a thorough response that would help me in my Islam module in university.

The highlight of the day for me, was crossing the road to Preston Muslim High School for Girls and being able to speak to actual students about Islam. I felt that speaking to a ‘normal’ person as opposed to someone who was extremely educated allowed me to identify basic points on which to develop my knowledge. All the girls I spoke to were really polite and answered any questions I had to the best of their abilities.

I also really enjoyed visiting the local Mosque and being able to sit and observe one of the daily prayers. It was such an amazing experience seeing a community come together to pray as one. It was also a good chance to see the diversity of Muslims that were in one small area. Their style of dress tended to show their heritage, and our speaker and guide was able to tell us where they were from based on their clothes.

After the prayer was finished, the Imam came to speak to us and answer anymore questions we had. He told us a little bit about what is was like for a child in Islam, and how they can attend a madrassa to help them learn more about Islam. The whole session was extremely informative and useful for me, as I am in the middle of writing my Islam assignment about Salah (the five daily prayers).

We were also lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to observe a man perform Wudu – the ritual cleansing and purifying a Muslim must do before praying. Again, this was more useful information to use in my assignment, as well  as just being really interesting to witness.

All in all, the trip was really eye-opening, and gave a great insight into Islam as both a religion, but also as how it is a way of life for its followers. It was such a worthwhile trip, I’m so glad I got the opportunity to go on it!

You can see more pictured from the day here

A full day teaching

As part of their Creative Medium Term Planning Module Year 2 Undergraduates work in groups to plan a small Scheme of Work.  We then go into a local school and deliver the scheme – in one day – to year 8 pupils.  One of the undergraduates, Joe, reflected on the day.

First I would like to thank those involved who placed their trust in us and made it possible for our class to go into the year 8 classroom and present our scheme of work regarding Judaism.

Preparation

A few months ago we were tasked with completing a group scheme of work that we would teach to year 8 students who had no or limited knowledge of Judaism. Our key focus within our group during the process of planning was the Shoah and thanks to our lectures, visitors and class trips we gained knowledge regarding how the subject should be approached when teaching. Some key points what our group focused on were the promotion of shared values before moving onto the idea of focusing on an individual story during the Shoah that would allow the students to connect more with the material when considering understanding and empathy.

Basic outline of scheme:

Basic beliefs and practices and shared values
Diversity within Judaism / challenging anti-Semitism
Shoah 1933 – 1945
Shoah part two
Why remember?
We hoped this scheme would first provide the students with the basics, before allowing them to explore the diversity within Judaism to challenge and negative stereotypes and myths. Next we would connect this to the idea that the Nazi Party rose to power presenting negative stereotypes and myths regarding Judaism and this is why it important to recognise and challenge these ideas. Finally we would enable to students to evaluate the importance of the previous lessons and why it is important to remember past events.

So….. How did it go I hear you ask?

Well on arrival as you can see from some of our faces, the plan changed a little. The lessons we had planned would have to be adapted, since there was a high possibility students would not necessarily be the same for each lesson. Straight away this created a problem since each of us planned to be teaching the same students one scheme of work allowing the lesson to flow and connect learning from each. Even though, this was a shock and essentially a problem it was also a blessing in disguise, because it made each of us revise our initial planning on the spot and adapt it were necessary, which we were assured sometimes can and will happen in school.

However the day overall was a success each of us gained valuable experience and confidence before beginning upon our Year 2 Placement.

A few things that went well and key lessons learnt for the future:

Preparation is key.

Making sure the student had the equipment and things as simple as pens and paper are essential in order to complete the tasks is essential. From my first placement I was advised always put every little thing on the lesson plan and make sure this is ready and available. This advice ensured each lesson during the day ran smoothly and the students began starter tasks as soon as they walked through the door. I observed and helped as a teaching assistant in one lesson and there was no paper in the classroom and this resulted in the lesson getting off to a rocky start and it was difficult to gain control of the class again. This was simply down to lack of organisation, since when teaching the same pupils in the next lesson, on arrival I had a starter task on the board and individual sheets laid out and they began straight away and it was like a completely different class. Therefore, an organised start with a stimulating starter task is essential, you have to keep them busy and give them no time to wait.

Talk Time/ Activity Time.

I admit sometimes I want to say so much I need to consider the balance between me talking and the pupils doing activities. However, there was only really one lesson were I felt I had to do this more and it was the introduction to the Shoah I wanted to give them a good understanding of the events that during 1933-1939. A way that I found effective to do this without the students switching off to me droning on was to give them a work sheet with information boxes with blanks to fill and arrows which they had to follow in connection with the slides. This worked well and all the pupils seemed engaged and completed the sheet whilst asking questions. This was evident since sadly I did make a mistake in one box and the students picked up on it straight away, therefore they had to have been listening. To get around this I told them that it was a test to make sure they were listening, I think most believed me.

I understand that my questioning techniques need improving when trying to engage a full class discussion, however throughout the day the discussion generally went well and comment were made by teachers who said certain pupils who don’t generally get involved were engaged and participated.

Overall I believe the day was a success for all of us, we all survived a full day of teaching and for me personally a key observation was that the second they walk through the door if your starter task is stimulating and organised you are off to a winner.

You can see more pictures from the day here

#EducatingGreaterManchester

We arrived on a snowy day in Salford, at Harrop Fold School. Miranda Rathmell,  the school’s SENCO met us and explained a little of the school’s background: there are around 100 children on the SEN register, with 16 of those having an Educational Health and Care Plan. There are a large number of pupils who are in receipt of free school meals: 69%.

We did a quiz in SEN acronyms, and learnt that what used to be called a statement is now called a Educational Health and Care Plan. We then tried to match some conditions with descriptions of difficulties. Miranda discussed how the school ‘expands the parameters of what’s normal’ to accommodate pupils learning needs, such as pupils with Autism, or with Operational Defiance Disorder.

Miranda then gave us some more input about the policies surrounding SEN, and some of the types of support that schools can give, before thinking about how we as teachers can make text easier to read. We were then given case studies and asked how we might as class teachers differentiate a lesson to support these pupils .

After a buffet lunch, Miranda spoke about how her career had progressed from her time at Edge Hill, work as an RE teacher, to being SENCO at Harrop Fold. She described how to meet the needs of the most vulnerable and challenging Year 7 pupils, the school had created a special group. We were then invited to think a little more deeply about ADHD. This is often co-morbid with other difficulties, can lead to challenging behaviour. It was stressed that all behaviour is communication.

We finished with a tour of the school including the link room, the behaviour room, the SEN office and the Student development team. This was a great day in school and all students are now better equipped to understand SEN on their first school placement in May.

Jewish Community Visit

Once we had all gathered, our guide, David, took us into the schule, the Hebrew word for synagogue. He explained the features of the room, with men’s and women’s seating, the bimah and the ner tamid. He talked a little about what might happen in a Shabbat service.

David explained the concept of Pikuach Nefesh, which means that the sanctity of life takes precedence over any other rule or commandment. There are 613 commandment, and the opportunity to fulfil a commandment is seen as a very positive aspect of the Jewish way of life.David explained that Maimonides’ 13 principles of faith, developed in the 11th Century, are central to a Jewish way of life for ordinary people. Being the chosen people does not imply that Jews are better than others, but they have been chosen by G-d for a particular task. The focus of Judaism moved from the Temple (destroyed in 70CE) to the home.

David showed us a copy of a Torah scroll, and explained some of the differences and similarities with the Christian Old Testament. Looking at the first few verses of Beresheit, we noted that day’s start in the evening, which led on to a discussion of Shabbat, the day of rest. Through looking at the Shema, we investigated the tzitzit, tallit and tefillin, the ritual clothing worm by Jewish men.

After a brief consideration of the importance of Jerusalem, we turned our attention to food, and the rules around kosher.

Then it was time to eat! We went to a local kosher restaurant, which was a ‘meaty’ restaurant so no milk products. Many of us had the traditional chicken soup, although the garlic mushrooms were a popular starter too, with fish and chips, burgers and pastas being the popular choices for mains.

After a filling lunch, we returned to the Schule and considered inter faith issues, majoring on the work of Jules Isaac.

Lat in the Woodlands

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.

Kamma in the Lakes

The kamma appeared to be working against us as we battled against the gods of the M6. A few of the hardy year 2 undergraduates made it on the coach to the Coniston Priory and Manjushri meditation centre where we met our guide, Geoff.

We walked around the old house, a fantastic piece of 19th Century architecture, before rounding the corner to see the temple itself, a very simple, modern building. We removed our shoes and felt the warmth of the underfloor heating.

There are two foci of the temple, Buddha shakyamuni, and Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Shakyamuni is pictured at the moment in India, when he achieved enlightenment. He is sitting in meditation pose, with the touching the ground mudra, Either side of him are two Rupas of his disciples, but they too are Buddhas.

Geoff explained how the movement started in the 1960s as people encountered Buddhism in the East and brought it back over to the West. We heard the story of how Geshe-la became the teacher and leader of the movement. He is now 83 and still completing his 22 volumes of Buddhist teaching. Over time the group, the New Kadampa Tradition became less Tibetan and Modern Buddhism developed. There are 1200 centres worldwide and Ulverston is the worldwide centre. At the summer festival around 3,000 believers speaking 52 languages gathered here, but there are larger gatherings in other centres.

 

Geoff spoke about his own practice, his life of meditation and study. And then we were able to join in with the 15 minute meditation class that takes place everyday at 12.30.

Geoff then spoke about the Lam-rim which are stages on the path to becoming a Buddha and how to overcome negative minds. They are part of the Mahayana tradition and so like to help others. After a few more questions, we looked at more detail at the statues, and Geoff talked about offerings, the seven traditional offerings which are represented by the bowls in front of the rupas.

To finish the trip, we headed off to the cafe for a little late lunch!

Visiting the Swaminarayan Mandir

As part of their Hindu Dharma Module Year 1 Undergraduates visited the Swaminarayan Mandir in Preston.  Here is what Hailey thought of the day:

IMG_2396

Out of all the places of worship we have visited over the past 2 weeks I was probably the most excited to go and visit this one. For the past 8/9 weeks we have been studying someone and now it was time to see it practised in real life. Taking our shoes off I was so thankful for the under floor heating. When we met out guide I was surprised at how young she was but yet how much she knew and had to tell us. We spent around half an hour all sat together in the main hall while our guide told us all of the main beliefs of her faith and also told us a personal story of how a couple of weeks ago she burnt all of her neck and face. What was impeccable about this story was that she just put it down to karma, she never once doubted her faith instead she accepted it as something she had to deal with in order to achieve liberation. She must have a strong belief system in order to never say a bad word about the God that let this happen. When it came down to asking questions about Hinduism our guide never tried to avoid any questions and was completely open with her responses even down to telling us about honour killings, something I thought that she might feel uncomfortable talking about with us.

Rach David Hindu

Moving onto the prayer room we were asked to stay silent within the room. As we all sat down on the floor our guide stood at the door explaining what this room is used for. This room is used for meditation, for reflection and also to asking the gods questions. We were told that only the soul really enters this room. When talking about the soul she told us that this is the main part of the body, when a person dies their body is let behind and that is why they cremate bodies. She used the analogy of a car, you can have the most beautiful car, but if it hasn’t got a full working engine that is clean and is perfect that the car is now use. I thought that this analogy would be useful to use when it comes to teaching a class about the soul in Hinduism.

Moving into the room where they keep all the statues of the gods and the guru’s I was in complete awe. Before entering the room we were given a bracelet that we placed on our right hands, this symbolises the relationship with God and then also we were given a bindi, we were told that they have these in the middle of the head to protect their third eye but it is also the main symbol of Hinduism. When in this room the priest came in and he gave us all a blessing asking that we became good teachers that told nothing but the truth. The priest actually stays at the Mandir 24/7. All of the statues were so grand and were all painted in such might and beautiful colours with lots of gold. You could really tell that this is big deal to them. Just after we left the priest was going to offer food to the Gods and is something that he does 3 times a day.

Today was everything that I thought it was going to be and I cannot wait to visit another Mandir again soon.

You can read more of Hailey’s blogposts here

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