Welcome to the coloured glass classroom! We hope to provide you with lots of creative ideas and resource links to help you engage the young people in your religious and Christian education classes. This blog is sponsored by the Anglican Schools Commission of the Anglican Church Southern Queensland.

23 October 2012

The importance of Religious Education

This great little video would be very useful at the beginning of the year. It asks in a highly visual way many of the important questions that religious educations seeks to explore. In doing so it highlights how religion permeates so many parts of our life and therefore why it is important to investigate it.

The video was made in connection with the English GCSE Religious Education course but has a lot to say about the religious education that we do here in Australia.

Below is a similar video that asks more of the broad questions that are often asked in religious education classes.

These videos could be used as a starting point for getting students to think about some of the big questions of life or as examples for them to make their own videos about why exploring these questions is important.

8 October 2012

Hooks - Does Religious Education need them?

"Introducing a new topic to students is an important moment. In a nanosecond, the students decide whether they can see themselves enjoying the unit and will actively participate in the class activities, or if it is of little or no interest and they will therefore switch off" 
Innovative Teachers' Companion: Primary Edition 2012, page 34 )

There is maybe no other subject that needs effective hooks more than religious education. In part this is because RE teachers often find their learners in a default position of scepticism or disinterest, because of family or social views. While students can be won back it is of value to think about what it is that will keep students engaged.

While creating an interesting name for a unit is important, more critically the process of developing hooks should lead the teacher to designing a unit that gives students significant ownership of the learning process.

For example, say you were creating a unit around understanding the basics of the  Bible. If you called it, "The Bible", the message you are communicating to students (and yourself)  is "content".  If we think about the unit in this way it may lead us to focus on the content therefore develop learning experiences focussed heavily on lower order thinking skills, instead of higher ones such as analysis, evaluation or design.

If on the other hand you called it: The Bible - Does it make any sense? , or The Bible - Is it the worlds  most difficult book? , or The Bible - Is it to hard to read?, an invitation is given to students to engage and make up their own mind about the question posed.

The purpose of the hook is to help the teacher define more clearly what the unit is really going to be about, but it also provides a focus for the type of learning that will happen. Hooks provide students with a potential challenge to meet.

Here are some examples of hooks for different units:

World Religions - Are they all the same?
(Exploring the key beliefs of different world religions and letting students decide if they are the same)
The Eucharist - Does eating it make any difference?
(Exploring the meaning of the Eucharist and how it changes people)
Jesus - Is there any truth to the stories?
(Exploring historical information about Jesus)
Poverty - should we bother helping?
(A unit exploring the reasons for poverty and reasons for helping people)

For more information look at  Innovative Teachers’ Companion:  Primary Edition 2012, page 34-35, or see www.itcpublications.com.au )