TT447: Podcasts, Effective, or Just White Noise?

Podcasting is a booming industry, this has been catalysed in 2020 by the society wide ‘lockdown’ created by the Covid-19 outbreak. Since their inception, the education sector has dipped its toe into the waters of podcasting over the last two decades with varying success. This report includes a study of podcast efficacy within an A-Level Religious Studies context; analysis and comparison of other podcast studies; how podcasts could be used most effectively in the education sector; and closes with how podcasts could be used as a tool to improve the delivery of Religious Education across the United Kingdom.

PS099: How Does Philosophy for Children (P4C) in Religious Education Create Effective Dialogue?

Philosophy for Children (P4C) was founded by Professor Matthew Lipman and has developed over 35 years and is practised in approximately 60 countries.  It has been influenced by educationalists and philosophers such as Vygotsky, Piaget Dewey as well as the tradition of Socratic dialogue.  Through a stimulus such as a story, video clip or image, the children are encouraged to develop philosophical questions, learn to listen to each other to explore differences of opinion respectfully and to value the ideas of others.  I have shared my experience of teaching P4C within RE lessons and produced resources to support the teaching […]

TT446: Tuning in to Mother Earth

I work in a school for children and young people who have severe learning disabilities.  My first Farmington scholarship (2017-18)  was an exploration of sacred singing in different faiths, and how, in a special school, children might access spirituality and experience something of those faiths, through singing.  This time I wanted to take that further and see whether, through singing, we can tap into the energy, or current, that underlies all faiths  When we strip the singing of religious references, what remains?  Not, as some might imagine, something secular, but instead something deeply sacred, that leads us into experiencing and […]

PS098 : Constructing an Outdoor Educational Curriculum

  The transformational nature and value of a well-structured outdoor learning curriculum cannot be underestimated, in terms of spiritual well-being and students’ mental and physical health.  Also, with the growing understanding of the consequences of human economic activity on the broader environment, through climate change, pollution, resource depletion and mass extinction of species, there is an opportunity to take learning outdoors in a critically meaningful form, shining a light on every other aspect of the curriculum. The challenge for outdoor educators is to become an integral part of learning in schools, rather than a marginalised addition, dealing only with ‘adventure education’ […]

TT429: Rules of Serious Engagement

Two major recent initiatives in the subject, Understanding Christianity, a teaching and learning approach developed by the Church of England, and The Commission on RE (CoRE), which reported its findings on September 12th, 2018, are shaping current thinking about RE. Both call for a renewed focus on depth of understanding and academic rigour, in short, ‘serious engagement’, as Understanding Christianity puts it, with the subject matter. In recent years, rigorous and academically stretching RE has often been associated with the critical realist approach, which treats RE as a quest for ‘ultimate truth’, competing claimants in a debate in the ultimate […]

PS097: VIVA-GO!

Within our culture, three waves crash together upon our young people: a premature media self-awareness, peer-measurement, and self-promotion, external and internal higher expectations of themselves, and a huge need for healthy mental health to have the resilience to thrive, not just survive. These young people need those they can trust, whether it be a parent, a leader, a peer who has the confidence to help them, and the faith in them to transform lives to journey beyond culture’s dictates, towards self-efficacy. VIVA GO! is a powerful tool to raise a young person’s life chances through listening, relationship and supported encouragement.  […]

PS096: A Passport to Pilgrimage: Sacred Places, Shrines and Schools . . .

John Pritchard, former Bishop of Oxford, defined pilgrimage as “a spiritual journey to a sacred site”, but pointed out that, if we remain within our local environment or even our home, it is “possible to gain the same insights and wisdom as those who journey great distances.”  Pritchard reminds us that, if we have a pilgrim spirit, “These journeys will bring us back to where we started but we may no longer be the same people. With open eyes and hearts, we may have discovered God where he has always been – right in the midst of the everyday.” For […]

TT419: An Embroidery: Peace

Schools can be full of noise, activity and demands with little time set aside for peace and quiet. SEN pupils, especially those with literacy, numeracy, working memory and processing weaknesses, can often feel bombarded by noise. In addition, for many, the ‘noise inside their heads’ is frenetic as they try to keep up, try to absorb and make sense of the information coming their way. Noise can be negative if their thoughts are always on catch up. For autistic pupils with social and communication difficulties, constant noise including instructions and discussions can be overwhelming. This project looked at the concept […]

PS095: How do the Christian Values of Leaders co-exist alongside characteristics of Complexity Theory?

The study aimed to examine how Christian Values and characteristics of Complexity Theory exist concurrently within Faith schools.  It intended to make recommendations about whether characteristics of Complexity Theory can be exploited to support Faith School Leadership.  Four focus groups, all within the Primary sector, examined the Christian Values of Faith-school Leaders and how these impacted on Leadership and other stakeholders.  Characteristics of Complexity Theory were used within the data analysis and correlations identified.  The conclusions of the study raise the idea that Leaders should have opportunities to consider their own spiritual response to the Values associated with Christianity and how this […]

PS093: Analogous Philosophy & Theology

This Farmington Institute paper outlines the nature and importance of analogy in philosophy and theology as seen in the writings of Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and Ludwig Wittgenstein. This will be done with reference to a number of perennial philosophical problems, namely the problems of the “one and the many”, “identity and difference” and the “unity of the sciences”. In doing so, it will attempt to illustrate why the aforementioned thinkers provide a more successful and prudent framework for answering these problems, academically and experientially, than those of popular alternatives. The latter being, to use two well-known contemporary approaches, positivism and […]