RE Session 3: RE in the Classroom

Our objectives for today’s session were to consider pedagogy in RE, to explore pedagogical principles through practical activities for the classroom and to enhance subject knowledge and understanding.

We began this session by completing each group’s activities that were based on the pedagogical principles. This activity was very enjoyable to participate in, it was great to see and experience the other activities that the other groups had devised as in my opinion I would have struggled to think of how all seven of the pedagogical principles could fit into an RE lesson or to even think of activities that would ensure that they had been met. At least now I have a good understanding of activities that I could try out with children and how they could be used in the classroom in general! I felt that my group’s activity was very successful, it ran smoothly due to us being well prepared. I also felt that we met the requirements of our pedagogical principle and it was an activity that could be adapted to a variety of religions and therefore used in the classroom for an RE lesson on a number of occasions.

Within RE there are a number of different pedagogies, examples of which have been written below:

–       Experiential

–       Phenomenological

–       Interpretive

–       Conceptual

–       Humanising

–       World Views

In pairs, we had to read through information on the different pedagogies and discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of some of the pedagogies, more information on this can be seen in this weeks directed task.

Within this session we also discussed the importance of varying the activities which are conducted by children in RE lessons, these include:

– Drama; role play, freeze frames, hot seating, conscience alley, thought tapping

– Debate

– Display work

– Cooking

– Celebrations

– Reflection

– Meditation

– Visits

– Using photographs

– ICT

– Interviewing

– Concept mapping

– Handling artefacts

– Listening

– Discussion

– Story writing

– Artwork

(to name but a few).

Stories can also be used in ICT through the use of story maps, story sacks, puppets, scripting a story, storytelling etc.

As a group we also looked at how drama can be used as a technique within
religious education, we experienced a drama technique as a class (conscience
alley) where as a group we had to express our thoughts and feelings as if we
were that character. This activity worked well, and could be adapted for a
variety of different topics within RE. Admittedly before this session I would
not have even of considered of using drama within RE! However when planning and
teaching religious education in future I want to incorporate elements of drama,
this will also help to make religious education more interesting and engaging. Other strategies that could be used in RE include:  role play, hot seating, thought tapping, freeze frame etc.

Artefacts can also be used in order to show children visual representations of objects associated with religion, they could handle the artefacts, listen to stories about them and create questions as well as discussion.

Photographs are another good source which can be used within an RE lesson. When children are presented with a photograph or series of images the teacher can ask them a series of questions in order to re-focus their enquiry, these include:

–       Where do you think this is?

–       What do you think is happening in the picture?

–       Who are the people?

–       Why are they there?

–       How do you think they feel?

–       What do you think has just happened?

–       What do you think happened next?

–       Who do you think took the photograph?

–       Is there anything puzzling about the picture?

–       How does the picture make you feel?

There were a variety of directed tasks for this session, the first of which was to read from Bastide, D. (1992) Good practice in primary RE 4-11. I completed this reading, I read the book and considered many elements of it very relevant to today’s RE session. Particularly as there is a lot of information about how stories, artefacts and drama can be used in RE lessons. Overall this information very much builds on the reasons for using these strategies that we discussed as a whole group within the session. The book also contains information about how to plan for RE across the primary school, again I found this information very useful and informative as I haven’t had much experience of teaching RE on placements so far, and these are suggestions that I can try out in practice on my up and coming placements.

As part of some extra reading, I read a journal article titled ‘Materials used to teach about world religions in schools in England: a summary’. I found the article an interesting read, as it provided information about how a variety of materials can be used to engage and aid the teaching of religious education in schools. Overall Jackson (2010, p.181) recommends that primary teachers should ensure that the resources they use within RE lessons should be used to ensure that pupils learn about other elements of religion such as spirituality as well as the history of such religions and the morals which are encompassed within that.

Pedagogy in RE

My final directed task was to review at least two different pedagogies in RE and to discuss both their advantages and disadvantages as well as demonstrating how they can be used in RE.

Interpretive

Advantages:

–       Open mindedness of children

–       Relating to context

–       Covers different strands of religion

–       Develops skills of interpreting, evaluating, justifying, reasoning

Disadvantages:

–       Sceptism

–       Overload of information

This pedagogy could be met in the classroom through the teacher getting the children to consider how the religion they are studying is practised at present in comparison to how it might have been practised in the past.

Phenomenological

Advantages:

–       Good AT1 focus

–       Helpful for all learners

–       Range of activities

–       Learn about a religion in depth

–       Very factual

–       Kinaesthetic

–       First hand RE

Disadvantages:

–       A lot of AT1, need to challenge prejudice

–       Cost of resources

–       Overload of information

–       AT2 activities need to be catered for

–       Doesn’t consider spiritual development

This pedagogy can be used in the classroom through the teacher teaching a specific religion and incorporating aspects such as stories, morals, beliefs and art into the teaching of the religion in order to meet the requirements of this pedagogy.

 

Reference list

Barnett, V. (1992) The use of artefacts in the classroom. In: Bastide, D. (ed.) Good practice in primary religious education 4-11. London: Falmer Press, pp. 131-142.

Collis, L. (1992) Planning RE across a junior school. In: Bastide, D. (ed.) Good practice in primary religious education 4-11. London: Falmer Press, 47-64.

Fleming, K. (1992) Drama as a teaching strategy in primary RE. In: Bastide, D. (ed.) Good practice in primary religious education 4-11. London: Falmer Press, pp.164- 171.

Jackson, R. (2010) Materials used to teach about world religions in schools in England: a summary. Religion and Education. 37(2), pp.179-182.

King, C. (1992) The place of story in RE. In: Bastide, D. (ed.) Good practice in primary religious education 4-11. London: Falmer Press, pp. 143-163.