Religious Education (RE)
How we organise Religious Education:
At Blackhorse, we try to develop children's understanding of world religions and spirituality through both direct teaching and deliberate opportunties for reflection, through visits and visitors linked to religions within our community, and through making links to the history and geography curriculum, providing a historical and geographical context for the development of world religions alongside the development of world civilisations.
The school uses the Discovery RE Scheme of Work to ensure that children are taught a well sequenced and broad syllabus.
The 4-step enquiry
The key question for the enquiry is such that it demands an answer that weighs up ‘evidence’ and reaches a conclusion based on this. This necessitates children using their subject knowledge and applying it to the enquiry question, rather than this knowledge being an end in itself. Discovery RE focuses on critical thinking skills, on personal reflection into the child’s own thoughts and feelings, on growing subject knowledge and nurturing spritual development.
Step 1 (usually 1 lesson) Engagement: The human experience underpinning the key question is explored here within the children’s own experience, whether that includes religion or not. If they can relate to the human experience they will be better able to understand the world of religion into which the enquiry takes them. Their personal resonance with this underpinning human experience acts as the BRIDGE into the world of religion (which may be very much outside of their experience).
Step 2 (usually the equivalent of 2 lessons) Investigation: The teacher guides the children through the enquiry, children gaining subject knowledge (the factual base about the religion), carefully selected to assist their thinking about the key question. Some of the enquiries have a lot of relevant content so teachers do need to be selective and not try to cover too much. Depth is more important.
Step 3 (usually 1 lesson) Evaluation: This lesson draws together the children’s learning and their conclusions about the key question of that enquiry.
Step 4 (usually 1 lesson) Expression: Children are taken back to Step 1, their own experience, to reflect on how this enquiry might have influenced their own starting point/beliefs, etc. There is often further evidence for their books produced in this lesson.
Children return to Christanity every year to deepen their understanding of this faith. They also focus on a different major religion in each year group, returning to this religion again as they move up the school, building on their prior knowledge.
British Values: Religious Education is a key player in engendering knowledge and understanding which can lead to tolerance and respect for others and their beliefs. It does not, however, teach children to passively accept, but rather encourages evaluation and critical thinking, equipping them to consider belief positions they encounter. Discovery RE contributes significantly to the British Values agenda.
Mindfulness means cultivating a sense of awareness on purpose, in a non-judgemental way in the present moment. It is hoped that teachers will use mindfulness practices to build children’s self-awareness and skills of reflection, thus supporting their RE learning as well as their personal spiritual development.