So for my BCB Extra religion article my idea was too not do about one religion in particular but something that we can all relate to: RE.
Since I got too a catholic school you may think that for all lessons we just sit and recite the bible; but we don’t. I’m in Year 10, so that means that I have been studying for my RE G.C.S.Es for nearly 1 year. At the start of the year I was very surprised to realise that the course didn’t really include much about Jesus and the Bible, but more about religious life including marriage and family life.
I thought I would find out more, so I asked my RE teacher Mrs Clarke a couple of questions:
“Do you think RE is an important subject in the curriculum?”
“R.E. is an intrinsic part of the curriculum. The subject doesn’t need to justify its position and since the 1944 Education Act it has deserved its place. Britain continues to enjoy a multi-cultural heritage and the study of this subject allows understanding of our neighbours. Other curriculum areas rely on the teaching of R.E. to give a background to belief structures. History, English, Citizenship, Geography and Media all require an understanding of people.”
“How important is it to teach about all the religions?”
“It’s extremely important to deliver lessons on other faiths. There are 6 major world religions and it’s arrogant to expect people just to learn about one belief system.”
“Is it easier to include people from all religions in your lessons?”
“It’s sometimes difficult to include all faiths in a lesson based on Catholicism for example. It’s especially hard when half the class are not Catholic. I have to find a generic topic to parallel for other learners. This often is the easiest way to bridge the gap and engage everyone. It’s often easy to contextualise the learning for all learners and then put the slant that you want on to the lesson. The use of syntax is also important, I would use the words ‘they, theirs, there’s etc, as opposed to ours, mine, yours.”
“Do you think it’s important for non religious schools to still include RE lessons?”
“Secular, state or county schools will often include R.E. for one hour a week which is about right for their timetables. The emphasis is mostly objective study of world Religions and as such this is sufficient. These schools must continue this practice.”
“What’s included in RE in Key Stage 4?”
“Key Stage 4 is often based on the strengths of the department and based on results that can be attained successfully. Usually, the study of a religion and the practice of that religion and doctrine. Currently we study a scripture which is brilliant as students have been brought up with the stories in the Gospel.”
“Do you think it’s your vocation to be an RE teacher?”
“I do believe that this is my vocation to teach R.E. I wanted very much to be Indiana Jones as a child though!!! I didn’t know that I was called to teach R.E. though; I started to read English at University along with Theology and Philosophy. My first round of exams indicated that I had a talent for Theology so the rest is History now. !!”
“How do you think R.E. helps communities?”
“I think that once you understand others you have a community based on respect. That’s the role of R.E. in schools too.”
“Do you think R.E. helps understanding different cultures?”
“Indeed, cultures can only be accessed by investigation and question. These are skills offered in R.E.”
“Who is easier to teach R.E. to, boys or girls?”
“This is a difficult question to answer. Girls like talking and debating and writing things down; so are good at exams. They are opinionated and that helps our subject. Boys like facts and figures and often debating, but are not too happy when there are many variables in response to a question.”
“Which other religion do you enjoy teaching?”
“I love teaching Hinduism. It’s so different that pupils are captivated from start to finish; it really wakes the imagination and is quite similar to our own faith really.”
So that was my interview and I hope you liked it and it made you understand R.E. a bit more, especially if you were thinking of doing it for GCSE or A level. I have actually been quite surprised at how much I have enjoyed R.E. this year, as I was surprised at how it wasn’t all about the Bible and God.