RE at Edge Hill

Tag: subject knowledge (page 2 of 2)

RE SKE 2018: Preston Gujurat Hindu Temple & Vajravarahi Kadampa Meditation Centre

On Thursday we ventured up the M6 to visit the Gujurat Hindu Temple and Preston Buddhist centre as part of developing our subject knowledge about the Dharmic traditions.

At the Gujurat Temple, we were able to learn about the importance of the temple in Hindu puja (worship) and the significance and stories of some of the many gods that live there. Students ejoying asking lots of questions on everything from Hindu attitudes towards homosexuality to the belief in reincarnation and karma. Some were eagle-eyed enough to spot an image of the Buddha – raising interesting questions about the links between Buddhist and Hindu belief.

It was lovely to see Pagba on our visit to the Vajravarahi Kadampa Meditation Centre. As always, he was able to offer real insight into what it means to be a practicing Buddhist and how he was drawn to Buddhism and made the choice to become a monk. Some very deep philosophical discussions about the nature of ‘the mind’ were had!

 

RE SKE 2018: Sri Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara

We all enjoyed a visit to the Sri Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara in Chorlton as part of our Sikhism development on the SKE. We were treated to a tour of the Gurdwara, lots of discussion and questions with our host, Sukhbir, before enjoying the free meal given to all visitors, the langar.

RE SKE 2018

This week we launched our Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course for all those joining us in September. Students come from across the range of RE courses; PGCE, School Direct, Undergrad QTS and for the first time, BA (Hons) Education & Religion. As you can see, they are a happy bunch and very proud of their team teaching on Islam!

RE PGCE: RE & ICT with Paul Hopkins 28.6.18

ICT Guru Paul Hopkins paid a visit to the RE PGCE trainees in the final week of their course, to talk through some of the gadgets they can use in their classrooms. We forget to take photos of the session but as it was our last day together before some trainees began their new posts – we did pose for a final group shot! Best of luck to those of you starting your new posts this week!

RE PGCE: Bradford Interfaith Visit 27.6.18

As part of their pre-NQT enrichment week, RE PGCE trainees visited Bradford as part of an interfaith visit to a number of places of worship.

The day began with a visit to the Gurdwara Singh Sabha where trainees were given a tour of the worship hall and able to see the rituals and practices associated with the Sikh Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib. Trainees enjoyed asking questions and experiencing some of the sounds of Sikh worship.

Next it was onto the Shree Laxmi Narayan Hindu Temple where trainees were able to observe the daily Aarti worship and meet with Seema, who discussed her experiences and beliefs as a Hindu. Ready for a rest, we thoroughly enjoyed our vegetarian lunch!

Before making our way back to Ormskirk, we ended the day with an insight into Reform Judaism at the Bradford Reform Synagogue, learning about the history of the Jewish community in Bradford and some of the differences between reform and orthodox practice.

A wonderful (very hot!) day and a lovely end to the PGCE course.

RE Subject Knowledge Enhancement 2017: Stenecourt Shul, Salford

RE PGCE and UG students travelled to Salford to visit Stenecourt Shul with their tutors Sjay Patterson-Craven and David Arnold as part of the SKE course. The day gave students the opportunity to develop their understanding of Jewish belief, enjoy some challah, visit the shul, ask questions and ended with a very enjoyable Israeli-Kosher meal!

RE Subject Knowledge Enhancement 2017: Deepdale Mosque

As part of the Subject Knowledge Enhancement course for PGCE RE and UG RE, students visited the Quwwat Ul Islam Mosque in Deepdale, Preston . They were treated to an educative and engaging day which in addition to helping them understand Islamic beliefs and the importance of the mosque, saw them witnessing a Nikah (wedding) ceremony and juma (Friday) prayers. The day ended with them considering the role of the mosque in the community and a chance to  construct their own mosque from pasta and marshmallows!

“An Enlightening Trip”, or how to live a happy, fulfilling, meaningful life

RE PGCE Trainee Marianne Howe reports back on her groups experiences at the Triratna Buddhist centre in Manchester:

On the 16th of October, the secondary RE PGCE group was given the opportunity to visit Manchester Buddhist centre. The day began at University with a Buddhist subject knowledge enhancement course led by our course leader Francis Farrell. This provided us with an in depth theoretical knowledge of Buddhist Dharma.

We started the session with a fun game entitled ‘What would make you happy?’ This engaged our curiosity and brought to the fore central themes which lie at the heart of Buddhist dharma. Questions such as would money and material wealth make you happy as opposed to the spiritual wealth of love and ‘peace of mind’ was raised. Distinctions between what exactly we mean by happiness started to form and stimulated rich philosophical debate and insight. In particular distinctions between ‘quick fix’ and fleeting feelings of happiness were discussed as opposed to more fulfilling and everlasting feelings of happiness.

 

Throughout this session, Francis provided us with an in depth knowledge and understanding of the basic teachings of Buddhism, which was explored through the lens of the original Buddha- Siddhartha Gautama. We discovered that the original Buddha primarily concerned himself with one of life’s ultimate questions- what is the meaning and purpose of life? Throughout the session it became clear that Gautama’s quest involved deep exploration and meditative insights into concepts such as happiness, virtue and what it means to lead a good, happy and fulfilling life.

Our new knowledge and wisdom gained from this session was brought alive when we visited the Manchester Buddhist Centre in the afternoon. Situated in the lively and bustling Northern quarter of Manchester, the centre itself had a calming and tranquil feel. Upon entering the building, it was hard not to notice the three jewels or refuges of Buddhism which caught your eye instantly. Consisting of the Buddha (the enlightened one), Dharma (the teachings) and Sangha (the spiritual community), it was hard not to feel the presence of these three Buddhist treasures upon entering the centre for the very first time.

Beautiful golden statues of the Buddha surrounded us (reminding us of the enlightened one and his teachings). The sense of community was also clearly felt. Before beginning our tour we had a spot of lunch in the centres earth café, situated in the basement of the building. The earth café provided a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere to refuel/recharge our minds and bodies before we began the official tour of the centre.

After lunch we made our way to the main entrance, and received a warm welcome by our tour guide, Garavachitta who is an ordained Buddhist of the Triratna order. Garavachitta informed us that the meaning behind his name refers to one whose mind has turned to reverence. Surprisingly Garavachitta was not dressed in the usual monastic orange robes you would expect a Buddhist to wear. Instead he was dressed in ordinary clothes- reflecting the centre’s modern, friendly and informal approach to Buddhist teaching. Bringing the ancient and mystical traditions of Buddhist dharma alive to the Western modern world.

After explaining to us the history of the building (the centre was once an old Victorian workhouse) and the various meditation classes/courses which are on offer at the center, we were led up a beautiful spiral wooden staircase to the second floor of the building. On this floor various meditation classes were taking place and we were told to be as quiet as possible. We were led into one of the main meditation rooms of the building and asked to take our shoes off before entering. A beautiful and awe inspiring golden statue of the Buddha awaited us.

Buddha 1

We were asked to take a cushion and sit on the floor facing the beautiful shrine to the enlightened one or Buddha. Here we got the chance to find out more about Buddhist dharma and to also hear Garavachitta’s story/background- learning about and from religion. We were able to explore and experience first-hand. Buddhist dharma in an open and non-dogmatic way. The session ended with a calming mediation led by Garavachitta. This was a wonderful opportunity to experience Buddhist meditative practice and fully absorb/assimilate our previous learning & knowledge. After our mediation we had the chance to do a spot of shopping and browse all things ‘Buddha’ in the centre’s shop- from books to incense sticks, and mini Buddha statues.

This informative and enlightening trip provided us with deep subject knowledge of Buddhism- it awakened our consciousness & awareness of Buddhism and provided invaluable ideas/resources to bring the RE classroom alive!  On a personal note, Buddhism for me has truths that speak to everyone irrespective of religious persuasions or not. The truths and insights offered by this religion are ones that I can not only value but also carry with me on my own journey of personal development, insight and awareness of how to live a happy, fulfilling and meaningful life.

Discovering the insider point of view

 

RE PGCE Student Claire Bartlett writes:

On 25.9.14 we had the pleasure to visit two key places of worship in Bradford, the Shree Lakshmi Mandir and Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara.

See Google story of our Bradford trip here:

From this trip we hoped to improve our understanding of these two religions; from an insider point of view and appreciate the methods of worship and practice within these traditions. This was a great opportunity for everyone to deepen their subject knowledge, in preparation for our new roles in school.

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Bradford Mandir

We arrived at the temple eager to experience Hindu worship first hand, we were politely asked to partake in the cleansing rituals that everyone (even the Queen!) would complete before entering a Hindu temple. After completing the absolution process; of removing our shoes and washing our hands, we were taken into the main room of worship. The main temple really was a beautiful sight, a long row of colourful deities surround by a pristine white structure in the style of a mandir.

Our host Seema explained her work in the community, highlighting the importance of how to educate young learners about Hinduism without causing confusion. After explanations of the various beautiful deities within the temple, we had the option to ask our own questions and experience the temple further. It was the first day of the festival of Diwali during our visit. This meant we got to experience families coming to place offering to the deities to mark the beginning of the festival.

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Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara

The next stop of the day was the Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara, here we were greeted by Narrinder with refreshments and enjoyed these whilst learning about the langar room and the importance of this room in a Gurdwara. This is a key Sikh practice and anyone visiting a Gurdwara would be greeted by free food or drink upon entering the temple, the refreshments offered are donated by the community. This is because of the Sikh belief in helping everyone (Sewa).

After our introductions and extra biscuits we were led upstairs to the main room of worship. Here, we sat and observed Narrinder  recite the  hymns around opening the sacred text and learnt about the process of laying the text to rest at dawn and waking the text from its bedroom, at the far corner of the room. After asking questions about how they would carry out different types of ceremonies such as weddings and funerals we moved into a separate room and talk about Sikhism away from the Gurdwara.

Gurdwara 2

Narrinder gave us a talk through the 5 K’s of Sikhism, allowing for you to experience these objects first hand whilst learning about the spiritual meaning from an insider view. At the end of our visit Narrinder was kind enough to play the sitar for us ending our Sikh experience nicely with an opportunity to appreciate the music of the Sikh faith which is so central to their worship.

After our lunch in a room of the Interfaith Centre in Bradford, we popped into Bombay Stores, UK’s largest Asian department store. Here we got to explore both ladies and gentlemen’s traditional dress, staring longingly at the large selection of jewelry and pick up some little bits and pieces that we could incorporate into our teaching. This was a great end to an enjoyable trip.

 

 

A deeper experiential understanding of Judaism

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PGCE trainees enjoy the experience of  a kosher meal as part of their subject knowledge field trip to Stenecourt schule. 

Mike Evans, RE PGCE trainee shares his reflections on the day we spent with our colleague , David Arnold, in the north Manchester Jewish orthodox community:

The subject knowledge field trip to Prestwich gave me a deeper, experiential understanding of Judaism within the community. The tour of the Schule and a talk by David Arnold gave me valuable insights into the function of the Schule as a community centre as well as a place of worship. David Arnold delivered an excellent presentation on the Jewish way of life. David developed my knowledge and understanding of Judaism as a way of life, not a religion, which has been pivotal in developing my understanding of other aspects of the tradition.

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We explored the religious symbolism and the special status of the  Torah, Tallit, Tefillin and Mezuzah, the importance of prayer in Jewish life and the  centrality of Shabbat and other Jewish festivals. We explored the kosher food laws and visited a kosher restaurant at the heart of the Prestwich Jewish community. David also discussed Jewish communities in the U.K and the state of Israel at the heart of Judaism. David has been a pioneer in interfaith relations between Judaism and other religions and a key member of the Manchester Council of Christians and Jews. David has helped establish various interfaith forums across the Northwest region and has held discussions about Israel and Palestine. 

Reflection by Mike Evans

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