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Transform your RE with Belonging and Believing.
Explore the real lives of eight children each from a different religion or worldview.
Why implement Belonging and Believing in your school?
As a specialist in Religion and Worldviews Education and through my work with teachers in schools over a number of years, I have identified several issues with the provision of religious education.
Many of the current resources that teachers access, portray sterile one dimensional views of religion and beliefs. This type of material fails to reflect lived religion and belief and how it is expressed by real families in current times.
Some published resources include inaccuracies and show a lack of knowledge and understanding of religions and belief systems. Non specialist teachers rely on publishers to produce factually correct resources but unfortunately this accuracy is not always present.
The use of common labels such as ‘a Hindu’, ‘a Christian’ or ’a Sikh’ (or asserting that ‘Christians believe…’, Buddhists believe…’ ) without critical engagement, fails to reflect the complex lived diversity at the heart of faith traditions. This also fails to recognise and portray the diversity of beliefs within a religion or non-religious worldview and the diversity of practices within communities and even within families.
Connections are not always made between the phenomena of religions and worldviews (what people do) and the values and expressions of belief that shape someone’s everyday life (the why and the so what). This results in knowledge-based learning which lacks understanding of the impact of belief on the real lives of real people.
Retelling isolated popular stories from a religious tradition or worldview makes a limited contribution to religious literacy. To be effective, stories need to be contextualised and interpreted within the faith context, informing learners about how this story relates to the belief system and how it affects personal commitment and life choices.
The importance of representing non-religious worldviews is beginning to be recognised but few resources are available as yet to support this. An additional challenge is created for teachers as they try to develop their confidence and understanding of non-religious worldviews and how to represent them in the classroom.
Teachers need support in adopting a better approach to exploring religion and worldviews.
How Belonging and Believing will make a difference for you.
Using my specialist expertise and project methodology I have designed Belonging and Believing to solve the acknowledged issues with RE provision.
I identified eight ‘real life’ local families each with a five/six-year old child and each reflecting a different worldview.
Each family reflects a particular expression of their beliefs according to their specific tradition and/or personal family background. Many of these are lesser known traditions and illustrate that a diverse range of beliefs and practices exist within a faith. Our families reflect Tibetan Aro gTér Buddhists, Swaminaryan Hindus, Chabad Jews, Independent Community Church Christians, Hanafi Muslims, Sikhs, Bahá’ís and humanists.
I got to know the families, through phone calls and visits and spending time with them at home and in their communities. I worked with the family throughout to ensure accuracy and authenticity.
The family’s everyday expression of beliefs is illustrated through the eyes of a child.
Age appropriate text is used accompanied by full colour photographs taken at home, play, places of worship and in the communities.
The educator is supported by a section of more detailed background information for each page and concept illustrated.
We work from the family’s perspective – their values and how these shape their lives.
Questions encourage readers to reflect on their own lives, their experiences, their values and their views.
The religion or worldview is set within the context of an historical account of its beginning, providing a relevant ‘story’ to help the reader make sense of the whole.
The inclusion of a humanist family within the project fully supports teachers in ensuring this worldview is part of the RE curriculum and can be explored in an age appropriate and fully accessible way.
The above approach will support excellence in religious education. I want to enable teachers to adopt the approach by using the materials I have produced but also by working with their own local families to reflect their local communities.
An accompanying Handbook explains the thinking behind the approach, the process we undertook, and the value of using this as a model for working with your own local communities.
A further insight into each of the individual books and teachers’/carers’ notes is available via the links here:
|My Bahá’í Family|
|My Buddhist Family|
|My Christian Family|
|My Hindu Family|
|My Humanist Family|
|My Jewish Family|
|My Muslim Family|
|My Sikh Family|