George Orwell said: ‘In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act’. So how do you find the truth in a post-truth world? What is a fact? What makes a sound argument? Aristotle is commonly and justly regarded as the founder of logic, which is the study of the principles of correct reasoning. Logic is the methodology of philosophy and can be applied to any subject area at all, because logic is topic neutral. When we are told something that is shocking, unbelievable or unpleasant we naturally ask, ‘Why do you think that?’ or ‘How do […]
This is the story of one school’s transition from a state comprehensive to a Church of England Academy. This report is a personal reflection on this process of transformation. It is an honest tale of my fears and doubts as well as the opportunities presented to embrace a vision of life in all its fullness. It may be helpful to the reader to see this report as an improvised play. With this in mind, I have chosen to present this report in two ‘acts’. Act one scene one will give some context for this tale of transition, the opportunities it […]
My school, Phoenix, is an all age (3-19) Special school for children with children with severe and profound learning difficulties. Many of our youngsters have additional needs such as complex medical conditions, multi-sensory impairments, challenging behaviour or Autistic spectrum disorder. We are looking to develop our SMSC provision and to ensure that it is relevant to our changing community. Sacred singing is something that I have offered from time to time – as a lunchtime club, as part of festivals and celebrations and as a stand-along session. Initially it was part of the first ‘quiet assembly’ that I developed for […]
This project set out to explore what potential might be unlocked within any intergenerational community to support work in RE and SMSC development. The aim has been to extend previous research for The Farmington Institute: ‘The Doughnut and the Hole’ (1997), to intergenerational community contexts, and explore how intergenerational connections might enrich the quality and depth of learning for all those involved. Whilst exploring key issues related to the terms ‘Spiritual Development’, ‘Intergenerational Communities’ and ‘Creative RE’, practical resources have been created for schools and communities to explore and develop in their own context.
My work was inspired by a piece of artwork, ‘The things I have to do to maintain myself’, by Roxanne Swentzell, from the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico. Her rationale for the piece led me to consider my own relationship to wild places. I set out to investigate perceptions of ‘wild places’ and the spirituality to be encountered in them, leading to an evaluation of how the environment can be linked to opportunities available to pupils at Lacon Childe School, in respect of SMSC aspects of the curriculum and the Learning Outside the Classroom Agenda, and how this may […]
The underlying drive for this research in our increasingly secular and divided society, is the growing concern for the mental health and well-being of our young people, reflected in the notion that with the large-scale withdrawal of the population from organised religion, there is much of value beyond faith itself which is being lost. My Farmington Scholarship has explored the impact of offering opportunities for art mediated silent assemblies and meditative practice on spiritual well-being. The greatest obstacle to this action research was finding a meaningful mechanism for attempting to measure spiritual well-being. The basis used was the spiritual well-being model constructed […]
Through research and conversations I have explored: What is spirituality? How can spirituality be defined and why is it important? As a result of my research I have created a ‘Spirituality Wheel’ which has given us the framework we needed to move forward in not only giving pupils opportunities for spiritual growth, but helping our school community to engage in understanding their own spiritual growth, what it means to them and our school vision for spirituality. My report explores how the wheel has impacted on these conversations and how we have started to use it to support spiritual growth in […]
Tragically, I increasingly hear of teachers who have decided ‘enough is enough’, they are leaving the profession. I decided to research well-being amongst teachers. Particularly self-love, self-compassion and their importance in our lives. I sent out questionnaires to determine the realities of well-being in the lives of teachers, managers and teaching assistants in Primary and Secondary education. I examined links between self-love, well-being and happiness and hope that what I have found will lead to a change in focus within schools to enable everyone to grow and thrive despite the pressures we all experience.
This project asks how teachers and educators working in cathedrals and churches can best support children’s search for identity and meaning within a Christian environment. It explores the responses of 120 school children to focused and creative activities in three specific areas of Hereford Cathedral. Adopting a qualitative approach, the project uses video, photos, and written and drawn feedback to analyse the children’s responses. The design of the project is predicated on the understanding of children’s spirituality as ‘relational consciousness’, initially identified by Hay and Nye in 1998, with each cathedral space reflecting a particular dimension of ‘relational consciousness’.
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’ ; […]