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.

19 July 2017

Selling Religion

In recent years different religious groups in Australia has sought to change the public's perception of them through the use of television commercials. One of these campaigns put out by the Mormon's (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) attempted, somewhat successfully, in projecting the image that they were just ordinary people (although in many cases exceptional, charismatic and talented).

The Church of Scientology also used an ad in Melbourne for the launch of a new centre. This ad had previously been used for the Super-bowl. Once again it seeks to project a particular image of Scientologists as being independent, free thinking seekers (the ad is a bit like an Apple ad).

I wonder what your students might come up with if they were asked to create an ad for Christian's in Australia? How do they think Christian's are currently perceived? What image might they think is helpful for the world to see? What images or ideas might they use?

13 July 2017

Multiple Intelligence and the Bible

Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences are a useful tool for engaging students in the many different ways they learn and experience the world. When used creatively they can also open up experiences that transform the learner. Below are some basic ideas for using Multiple Intelligences when engaging with Biblical narratives. With all of these activities appropriate passages of scripture need to be chosen.

Music Rhythmic (Music Smart)
After reading a chosen passage of scripture invite students to listen to some brief excerpts of different types of music. Try to find music with different moods. Ask students to choose which piece of music they think goes best with the reading. The passage can then be read with that piece of music playing quietly underneath.

Naturalistic (Nature Smart)
The sounds, textures and smells of a Bible story may help many students to engage with it in a memorable way. Nature sound tracks can be used for some passages that take place at the beach or in the desert. The smells and textures of the story can be brought into the classroom such as the smell of cooking fish or the touch of sand. Jesus often told stories using real objects that can be put in students hands to see, touch and smell. Ideally some stories might be told outside looking at the things Jesus spoke about.

Bodily Kinaesthetic (Movement Smart)
Building and making can be an important tool for unlocking kinaesthetic children’s learning. Lego or other building and play materials might be used to help recreate a story that students have just heard told. Photos of the construction at different points of the story could be taken, so students can create a sequential picture book.

Intrapersonal  (Self Smart)
Many Biblical narratives can be rewritten in a way that invites students to go on a journey of the imagination. This can begin by asking them to imagine that they are in the story watching what is going on. Encourage them to picture everything in the story including the sights, sounds and smells. Ask them to imagine how they feel or what they think when different events occur.

Verbal-Linguistic (Word Smart)

There are many excellent Bible’s on CD or MP3 available these days. The best include high quality sound effects and musical scores in the background. Using one of these can provide an alternate way for students to hear the story being explored.

6 July 2017

All religions aren't the same...but...

I get twitchy when I hear students say "all religions are the same". In essence they are trying to say that at the heart of it all religions are on about the same stuff. Even superficially this statement is clearly not true. The closer you look the more obvious it becomes that different religious groups hold different beliefs, are motivated by different things and act in different ways. However, this is not to say that there aren't  things that we have in common. 

While my hope is that students might see clearly the differences between world religions I would also like them to see the good things held in common. One of these things is the idea of the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like them to treat you. This concept spans many religions and philosophies and hopefully reminds us that we need to be compassionate, generous and kind to those around us not matter who they are or what they believe. 

St Columbans Mission Society sell a poster with the Golden Rule as found in thirteen different religions. This can be a great reminder in our multicultural multifaith schools that although we may have many different beliefs, it is likely that our own faith tradition encourages us to treat one another in positive and life giving ways. It is something we can share together as we strive to love one other.

There are also some helpful resources that could be used in the classroom.