Tag Archives: Secondary Undergraduate

Back in the Sixth Form

Final year students spent a day at Carmel College, a large Sixth Form College that Edge Hill works with, to find  out more about teaching A level RS, and what life is like in a Sixth Form College, including the compulsory Ethics and Values lessons for all students.

The day began with us being privileged to join in the staff briefing. This was quite unlike briefings in Schools, and much more like a school assembly. It was held in the college theatre and led by the College Principal. Sarah gave a ‘Thought for the day’ and there were a number of other announcements about events going on, special services and some encouraging words about ensuring that teaching staff are not working too much, with the mantra #50isplently suggesting that a working week of 50 hours (including time at college and working time at home) is a maximum.

We then observed Sarah teaching an A level Buddhism class and were surprised that it began with a period of silent reading after which the students were invited to talk briefly about what they had read and what they had learnt.
There was then a key word test on 12 Buddhist terms. These were then peer marked and scores recorded. Students were to work on the terms that they did not know.
Students were then reminded about an upcoming file check and guided as to what was expected.
Next was a kahoot quiz testing how well the students had engaged with their prescribed reading from last lesson which had been posted on the students’ VLE. Sarah was able to use the answers to set relevant homework questions in the future.
There followed a discussion about hagiography in the texts of the Buddha’s enlightenment, and then groupwork on the hagiography of the four watches of the Buddha. At the end students were given a practice question to do at home. The students have a WhatsApp group chat which they shared the question.

After a break in the staffroom we had a tour of the college, meeting the pastoral tutor team and Foundation provision, where post 16 students with learning difficulties are educated in a practical way, with some vocational courses. We also got to see the canteen, the chaplaincy and the whole college.

Sarah then talked about some of the differences between a school sixth form and a sixth form college. She highlighted the way hat the college is trying to develop in their students a ‘Carmel Mindset’, trying to develop independent learners who make progress towards high achievement at A level, based on the VESPA model.

Nathan, a former graduate of our course, then talked about how to survive the NQT year. Some students were pleasantly surprised that it was possible to do the NQT year in a Sixth Form College. He also had some wise advice about not taking the ‘reputation’ of a school too seriously, as sometimes a school with a bad reputation can be a great school to teach, or do a placement in.

After lunch we got to observe and take part in more lessons.  In the A2 class there were over 20 students who were working on the philosophy paper. The lesson began by students selecting a lollipop stick that had a philosophical question on it to discuss. Glen then took in the essays that students had completed over the weekend and then introduced students to the Westphal essay. As part of this we were able to contribute brief sections on scholasticism and deism. In Lexy’s AS Philosophy class we helped the students reconnect with the learning they had been doing focussing on Hulme’s criticisms of the teleological argument. Whilst in Glen’s AS RE lesson we gave brief overviews of the three central Buddhist concepts of dukkha, anicca, and anatta. It was interesting to see how he used the material of the subject content about the social setting of the Buddha to teach the academic skill of note taking in a cohesive way.

We were also able to observe and take part in the Ethics &Values lessons, which are compulsory core RE lessons which all students at the College take part in. Nathan was teaching issues involved in IVF, whilst Heather was asking pupils to think about the ethics of France’s burka ban.

“Really Useful in terms of seeing how sixth formers are taught”

You can see more photos from the day on Flickr.

“It made the idea of teaching in a college not as daunting”

Deanery Day 2016

Third year Undergraduate QTS students have been regular visitors to Deanery High school for a number of years.  The main purpose of the visit is to fins out about teaching A level in a school sixth form, but over the years we have added more features to get the best out of the day.

This year’s trip began with a tour of the school, including the sixth form centre and the portable buildings that the school is temporarily housed in whist a new building is constructed on the same site.  Taco – who did his PGCE with Edge Hill a number of years ago and is now Head of department, then spoke to us about the joys of teaching a level.  He explained that it was very similar to teaching Key Stage 4, but that teachers tried to encourage the development of independent learning skills as part of their preparation for University.

We could see all this in action as we observed Taco teach his year 13 students – and we got to have a try ourselves! We were very impresed with the quality of the student’s presentations – they were a clever bunch!

The RE department at Deanery is almost totally staffed by former Edge Hill people and we got to observe four simultaneous Year 11 revision lessons taking place at the same time.  It was brilliant to see the same thing taught so differently, but in all cases taught very well!

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Finally the day was rounded off by Leanne giving us some helpful advice about applications and how to avoid some common pitfalls when applying for jobs.

“I thought the interview advice was very useful”

Dharma Day

Our latest cohort of Year 3 Undergraduates spent a day in Manchester as part of their Sikhism and Jainism Module.

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At the Jain Samaj Manchester, our host Suresh explained about the beliefs, history and practices of the faith, and allowed us to explore their fantastic temple, handmade in Indian Marble.

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We then journeyed across the City to the Guru Harkrishan Sahib Gurdwara. As it was Guru Nanak’s Birthday it was a very busy Temple.  We were treated to a fantastic langar, before entering the diwan hall where the female granthi was singing beautifully.

Our host CJ talked us through the basics of Sikhism, but really the best part was being able to experience the community worshipping at first hand. CJ accompanied us on the accordian and help us to joyfully recite the name of Waheguru!  Happ Birthday Guru Nanak Ji!

 

Questioning RE

Our final year Secondary RE undergraduates are are a fantastic group of students and their three year degree has prepared them to teach high school pupils of all ages and abilities.  Recently they had chance to show off their skills when a group of pupils from Savio High School’s Bosco Unit visited Edge Hill for a morning of questioning RE.

The Edge Hill students had worked in groups to plan and prepare for three sessions each focussing on enquiring into a a big question.

The first topic was ‘Does God Exist?’ which included  a Philosophy for Children (P4C) styled activity examining an image on the board of the Auschwitz ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign and an Auschwitz inmates’ photo. Each pupil had to then choose a question they would ask in response to images presented, and finally (as a group) choose one of their questions to lead the enquiry. By allowing the pupils to take responsibility for this task ensured that they were engaged and made the task feel more relevant to them. By planning a task which focused on pupil led learning with an emphasis on discussing/debating ensured that behaviour was managed effectively as they had something to do at all times. This task produced excellent prior knowledge and discussions regarding the images on the board which contributed to the pupil’s opinions on the lesson focus of whether God really exists.

The second session was helping pupils to think about how people make the ‘right’ decisions, including a real dilemma for the pupils to grapple with as they began to get an understanding of Situation ethics. Pupils were able to articulate their answers and acknowledge other points of view.

Finally we looked at what it means to be religious in the 21st century, thinking about everything from Scientology to Roman Catholicism.

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The pupils were superb and engaged with the questions in a mature way, and left us looking forward to a lunch in the hub!  One of the students reflected on the morning, noting the well mannered behaviour and attitudes of all pupils present. He wondered if this was mainly down to the change of learning environment that the pupils were able to experience, which shows how this could be an effective tool in managing/helping pupils.

Interfaith Week in Liverpool

For Inter-faith week, the University’s  Chaplaincy team organised a trip to visit the three Abrahamic faiths’ places of worship in Liverpool. Thre years of Undergraduate students and the PGCE students came together for this fantastic trip.

First year Undergraduate Hailey wrote this about the day:

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Arriving at the Cathedral I thought that we had turned up at the wrong place. I had never been to a Cathedral before but this wasn’t the picture that I had in my head as to what it was meant to look like. In my head it was meant to look exactly like a church with an old brown building just much much bigger. I was in for a shock with a white building which resembled that of a large tent. Everything about this Cathedral is very modern. Going inside I was in awe.

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The whole place was lit blue and I really couldn’t understand why until our very nice tour guide explained to us that this was due to the architect of the building and that the stain glass windows make the whole place change colour throughout the day symbolising that Jesus is the light. The next thing to catch my eye was a large silver sculpture just hanging from the ceiling, usually going into a church you would never see anything like this which just made this Cathedral much more interesting. This actually symbolises Jesus’ crown he wore when he was crucified. Our guide talked to us a lot about the different roles you can take within the Roman Catholic Church and also about the difference in the different types of Christians explaining why and how they were all so different.

Arriving at the synagogue I was surprised. Walking into the little hallway for some reason I imagined that when he opened the door it would look very similar to inside a Church. How naïve of me. As soon as the two men opened the doors everyone in our group all made a very similar ‘wow’ noise.

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It was a lot bigger than I thought it would be and I was completely surprised at how grand the whole place was, also how different it was to a church. Straight away the man started to tell us all of the different things that a Jew would believe in and do within his/her life.

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He explained the whole synagogue to us, even down to explaining how the Torah was made and telling us about a fire they had in the late ‘60s. During our trip to the synagogue the university rabbi joined us and he didn’t shy away from telling us everything from marriage in Judaism to the decline that has faced its followers following World War 2. I would personally say that the synagogue was the building I was most in awe at during the trip.

Finally we arrived at the mosque (the first university group that has been allowed in to view it), this being the shortest of the three but they didn’t lack to tell us any information. While they didn’t go into depth with the beliefs involved in Islam they told us all about the building we were in and the founder of the whole thing.

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Abdullah Qwilliam was the founder of this mosque, more interestingly this was the first mosque in England. Abdullah Qwilliam was an English convert who wanted to spread his faith among other people within his culture at home. The mosque was closed for a while after Abdullah’s death and Liverpool council opened it as a registry office but more recently has been reopened and they are now working on making it a fully working mosque again and replacing the old traditional things that were there at the beginning such as the organ which Abdullah used to play.

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After being there a short while we were asked to move to a different room as it was time to do the call for prayer, I had never heard this before and thought that it was amazing. I would to go back again soon when they have finished restoring it back to the way it used to be.

You can read the rest of Hailey’s blogs here: https://haileyhill14.wordpress.com/

Doing Diwali

Our Year 1 Undergraduates visited a Primary school recently to deliver a day on Diwali as part of their Hindu Dharma Unit.  Here is what one of them, Amy, wrote about the experience:

The day started with meeting in the staff room to make sure that we had everything ready and organized for the day and from there led into the school hall with a stage. IMG_4778

We then rehearsed the play of Diwali that we had been practicing in class for about half an hour. Soon after the pupils came in we preformed our play which taught the pupils about where the festival Diwali came from and why Hindu’s celebrate it. The play went smoothly and the pupils had engaged in the play by saying things such as ‘boo’ and ‘aww’, they laughed along as well, showing that they were happy and engaged in the play and clearly took things away with them. This was a great experience that I and the pupils really enjoyed.

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Later on after wet play, which is when the weather is to bad to go out for play time, I helped them to clean up the classroom before we started the lesson. The lesson which had been planned by me and Hailey was about Brahman the one Hindu God and the festivals in which Hindu people celebrate their God. The lesson started by giving the students a piece of A5 paper and told them to write the most important thing in the world to them, then they screwed it up like a snowball and threw it to the front to us.

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We then read it out loud and discussed what they had written, and said our most important thing to us. We then went through the Trimurti of Brahman; Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. We then gave the pupils a body template on which they had to create their own Hindu God, what they would be like as a Hindu God. Most of the things that the pupils drew, included things such as a clown as they wanted to make many people laugh and happy all over the world, some of them were the peace keepers which they told me they had based on Vishnu and other people were God’s that made it so that there was a disco everyday. The pupils had a good laugh and we were able to properly interact with the pupils, find out more about them. They then presented their own to the class if they wanted to, which most of them did. We then went through the festivals which celebrate the God’s and then related them to their own Gods that they have previously created. we then did a fill the gaps plenary where the children answered the questions that related to the whole lesson that helped us to understand what they struggled with and what they were good at. When we showed the children a video that was a nursery rhyme for Diwali that had been translated into English. The pupils really enjoyed the short video as a treat at the end of their lesson.

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The lesson seemed to go much smoothly than expected with Primary school children, the only hard bit was getting the video to work after a bit. I really enjoyed the experience, however I definitely realized that secondary school is for me and not primary, however I enjoyed teaching Hinduism so much and can’t wait to teach it more in the future.

You can read more from Amy’s blog here: https://amshepherdblog.wordpress.com/ 

The Theatre of Learning

Hollie wrote this about the recent visit of Sue Phillips to Edge Hill, where she worked with Undergraduate and Postgraduate students:

My biggest fear in the classroom is having a class full of pupils and they do not listen to me. I fear they will not be engaged in the lesson I am teaching them, that it will not be interesting enough for them.

When I think back on my Religious Education lessons at school, my teacher made the lessons interesting- but it was only ever using videos or conversations in the classroom. Her personality was amazing and she was meant to be a teacher- she was my inspiration. However, from what I can remember about my lessons, we never did anything crazy, fun, whacky or out of the ordinary.

This year of University has taught me how to be a better teacher, using different ways of teaching the students to keep them engaged and interested in the lesson.

Sue Phillips came to University last week and told us ways on how to make an RE lesson more interactive, keeping the students involved in the lesson, making them feel apart of it.

Most of the things she taught was about using stories, keeping them involved. You make a story, tell it to the class, keeping them engaged and guessing as to what is going to happen next- and I have to say I love this idea! You can use it in so many different ways, and you adapt it to RE topics.

For example, you could a story about a young girl making decisions that people around do not necessarily agree with, linking to the idea of morals and morals in religion, with another connection to rules in religion and why religions have rules they follow. This links to their central beliefs in the religion.

Sue really helped me with ways to help the older students in the school by giving ideas on how to keep essay writing creative and fun too! It was more to do with the layout of the structure creating more discussion rather than a template on a piece of paper.

She not only gave me a lot of ideas that I can use for teaching when I start my placement in April, but I have recently created a Scheme of Work in a group for Judaism to teach a class of Year 8 pupils next week. With these different ways of teaching, making the classroom more interactive, I have incoroporated some of these ideas into one of the lessons to make it more fun and interesting for the students.

Every week, with books I read and visits to places or people to university, it makes me more confident about becoming a teacher. I cannot wait to start my placement next month!

A day at Schul

Today was an insightful opportunity to experience first hand an Orthodox Jewish Synagogue and find out more about what is involved within Jewish worship. Those of the Jewish faith refer to the Synagogue as ‘Schul’ which translated from Hebrew means ‘assembly’ as those of the Jewish faith assemble together within to worship G-d.

 Above: In the centre of the photo is what is known in Hebrew as a ‘Bimah’. This is a raised platform in which the Torah Scroll is read from during prayer by a member of the congregation. Below in the photo can be identified as Jewish prayer books in which members of the congregation can take at any time to perform prayer during each day.
 Above: Within this photo behind the stand (where a Rabbi will stand to read sermons at the end of a prayer service) is the ark, also known as ‘Aron Kodesh’ where the Torah scroll is stored and only taken out during a congregational service. Above the ark beneath the Star of David reads in Hebrew, “I always have the almighty before my eyes”. This therefore suggests how those of the Jewish faith have G-d with them in their mind during every aspect of the day. Also above the Star of David (which can’t be seen in the photo) is a lamp known as a ‘Ner Tamid’ which is representative of the constant light which was within the Temple  of Jeruslem.

 Above (both): At both sides of the Ark in every Schul you will also find two marble plaques. One will always contain a prayer for the Jewish faith and the other will always contain a prayer for the country. This is representative of every Schul in every country. This is due to the fact the obligation of Judaism is twofold, as you must follow Jewish law (Torah/Talmud) and also follow the laws of the land you live within.

You will also find a storage box beneath every seat within the Schul which contains a Tallat and a prayer book so that it will be there ready for when a memeber of the congregation attends on Shabbat (day of rest). Each memeber of the congregation pays rent for their seat which goes towards the running of the Schul and payment of the Rabbi (payment amount is decided by the congregation).

 Above: Jewish prayer books for members of the congregation to use when visiting to pray. Just above this shelf is the women’s section of the Schul as men and women worship separately in an Orthodox Schul.
During prayer a Jewish individual will wrap a Tefillin around their head (contains small parchments of scripture from the Torah) and also a Tefillin around the arm seven times which is placed next to the heart. This is to symbolise the fact G-d should be next to your heart and mind at all times during prayer. Then the Tallit (prayer shawl) is worn which has the Tzitzit hanging at the bottom to represent the 613 laws of the Torah. A Kippah is also worn on the head to represent the fact G-d is always above you.

We also had the chance to visit a Kosher restaurant near the Schul and had a lovely  meal that adheres to Kashrut dietary laws.

Overall a very educational day to experience first hand a Jewish place of worship and learn more about the Jewish faith.

Another Temple Visit

As part of the Second Year Undergraduate Buddhist Dharma module course students travelled to the Lake District to visit the Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre.

This is the head centre for the movement around the world and as described by our guide for the day it is where many Buddhists live together as part of their retreat. The New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) believe in the basic concepts of the Buddha and the traditional story that has been passed down through the generations. We were told that overall the original Buddha Siddhartha Gautama have over 84,000 teachings.  The NKT are adamant that these teachings are still, if not more, important in today’s modern society.

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The Preston England Temple

Year 3 Secondary RE undergraduates recently visited the Preston England Temple as part of their Religion in the 21st Century module.

One of the students, Sadie Parish, wrote this blog post:

As soon as we approached the centre we were immediately taken back by its beauty! It almost felt as if we were in another world. We started the morning by meeting Sister Hunt in a chapel, who gave us a brief introduction to Mormon beliefs, such as their belief in their founder/prophet Joseph Smith.  who lived in the early 19th Century in North America.  He discovered the text of the Book of Mormon, buried in New York state, where he was directed to by the Angel Moroni.

Sister Hunt also introduced us to the Mormon belief in serving a mission and we actually got to see some real life missionaries! there are around 85,000 missionaries serving at any time, mostly males aged between 18 and 26. We got to explore their quarters and training centre, were we learnt that missionaries can come from all over the world and have to spend two years away from their families. I was taken away by the devotion and commitment of the missionaries.

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Sadly as the temple is only exclusive to Latter Day Saints (even at weddings!) we were unable to enter the temple. However, we did get to take a walk around the temple. We were all certainly taken back by how breath taking it was.

As a result of the trip we have now developed a new understanding of Mormonism. Something that previously most of us had very little knowledge of. I myself now feel prepared to answer basic questions about Mormonism if presented with one in the classroom.  As a whole the visits to the Mormon temple has been my favourite so far and I look forward to learning more about other 21st century expressions of religion.