TT359: ‘How do people express their spirituality through the arts?’ – To incorporate P4C and enquiry based learning into the Telford and Wrekin new unit plans for RE

Summary: During my Farmington Fellowship year, I have had the opportunity to develop a Philosophy for Children (P4C) approach at the primary school where I teach. My aim was to research ways of incorporating P4C and a more enquiry–based approach into the teaching and learning cycle of a unit of work and to offer colleagues practical ways of getting started by leading P4C sessions with their classes. My initial reason for introducing P4C was to raise the level of questioning in my Year 6 class, from ‘teacher led’ question and answer to more genuine discussion, to develop ‘thinking skills’ ; […]

TT277: Introducing Philosophy: Socrates – From the marketplace to the classroom

Summary: I feel very fortunate that, through the Farmington fellowship I have been given the opportunity to develop my passion for philosophy. I have been able to research, reflect and spend time developing a scheme of work, introducing philosophy for key stage 3 pupils I have used this precious time to develop and create a scheme of work introducing philosophy as well as promoting philosophical thinking. I have used the basics of Socratic dialogue, through the Philosophy for Children programme, to develop a series of lessons, in which the pupils are encouraged to develop thinking skills, to participate within active […]

PS79: ‘How do people express their spirituality through the arts?’ – To incorporate P4C and enquiry based learning into the Telford and Wrekin new unit plans for RE

Summary: During my Farmington Fellowship year, I have had the opportunity to develop a Philosophy for Children (P4C) approach at the primary school where I teach. My aim was to research ways of incorporating P4C and a more enquiry–based approach into the teaching and learning cycle of a unit of work and to offer colleagues practical ways of getting started by leading P4C sessions with their classes. My initial reason for introducing P4C was to raise the level of questioning in my Year 6 class, from ‘teacher led’ question and answer to more genuine discussion, to develop ‘thinking skills’ ; […]

PS78: Spirituality: A vehicle to teach better RE? Or the other way round?

Summary: As a teacher in a primary special school, I know from my experiences in over 20 years of teaching children with barriers to learning, that our approach to the teaching and learning of Religious Education could be better. My aim is to begin to break down some of these barriers by providing opportunities for our pupils to discover what is important and special to them through the context of Religious Education. Through this study I have: • Sent questionnaires to staff and parents at the school; • Interviewed religious leaders from different faiths; • Interviewed an OFSTED inspector for […]

PS77: Attitudes to RE in Roman Catholic Secondary Schools in Scotland

Summary: This study attempts to examine ‘Attitudes to Religious Education in Roman Catholic Secondary Schools in Scotland’ in the belief that as we approach the third millenium the time is apposite for a reassessment of, and fresh learning in the field. The method employed to gather information was questionnaire. Copies of the questionnaires are given at the back of this report as appendices. This paper makes no attempt to subject responses to any kind of quantitative or statistical analysis. Scoring or scaling have no part to play in this research. Rather, because of the wish to allow respondents to be […]

PS76: ‘The Good Life: Research Fellowship’ A course that puts Religious Studies at the heart of the curriculum?

Summary: I have developed a practical philosophy course that seeks to put Religious Studies at the heart of the curriculum.  I first evaluate models that exist already, arguing that ‘happiness courses’ are incomplete, as they fail to engage with the moral aspects of ‘the good life’; they are overly centred on positive thinking; and leave out fundamental aspects of existence, such as death.  My solution is a course that allows students to become co-researchers into ‘The Good Life’, in which students critically explore various philosophies of life.

PS75: From Philosophy to Catechism

Summary: In trying to develop a new and creative way of teaching RE using Philosophy for Children, I was surprisingly drawn back to something very old fashioned… the Penny Catechism. The Catechism deals with big questions but it also dispenses answers which can be learned in a rote fashion. Using philosophy (P4C) can engage children in reasoning about the ‘Big Questions’ and my project involved creating a scheme of work which was then delivered to two different Catholic primary schools. The project was designed to use the scheme of work to develop the skills of apologetics, and to gather data […]

PS74: 101 Provocations: Some for pedagogic use in KS2 RE, Others for … reflection

Summary: I have been exploring with Year 6 classes, R.E. as prompts to personal reflection and raising questions. The focus has been on learning from, rather than learning about, religious (mostly Christian) painting, music, stories and ‘answers’. I’ll be sharing resources and pupil responses. This has raised questions about the purposes and content of RE for children in both theory and reality. I’ll share some ideas and classroom experiences from a perspective which sees RE neither as a sort of ‘anthropology’ of customs and beliefs useful for multicultural understanding nor R.E. as ‘claims to truth’, the necessary foundations for spiritual […]

PS73: “Mind the Gap” In praise of ambiguity, numinousness and the ineffable: a theological rationale for the study of RE in secondary schools

Summary: This report is an exploration of the significance and value of Religious Studies with particular reference to the innate capacity of the subject to offer students room for reflection. My hypothesis is that allowing space for ambiguity, uncertainty and unanswerable questions is of fundamental value and that the consideration of the numinous, discussion of ultimate questions and explorative pedagogy found in the best Religious Studies lessons are crucial for developing reflective thinkers. My approach is primarily a theological justification of the primacy of ambiguity and uncertainty in Religious Studies.

PS72: Effective spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development is more than just good RE

Summary: The focus of my Farmington fellowship research was to challenge the widely held misconception that SMSC development within schools is the responsibility and preserve of only the RE department. My research provided me with the opportunity to evaluate how schools can promote effective SMSC development. I first endeavoured to consider how young people develop spiritually, morally, socially and culturally through the academic analysis of Kant, Piaget and Kohlberg’s research. This allowed me to reflect on why student SMSC development is deemed important in a general context and in relation to the new Ofsted framework for schools. It was also […]