The curriculum framework for RE breaks down the aims of RE into 3 strands
- Know about and understand a range of religions and worldviews, so that they can:
- describe, explain and analyse beliefs and practices, recognising the diversity which exists within and between communities and amongst individuals;
- identify, investigate and respond to questions posed, and responses offered by some of the sources of wisdom8 found in religions and worldviews;
- appreciate and appraise the nature, significance and impact of different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning.
- Express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and impact of religions and worldviews, so that they can:
- explain reasonably their ideas about how beliefs, practices and forms of expression influence individuals and communities;
- express with increasing discernment their personal reflections and critical responses to questions and teachings about identity, diversity, meaning and value, including ethical issues;
- appreciate and appraise varied dimensions of religion or a worldview
- Gain and deploy the skills needed to engage seriously with religions and worldviews, so that they can:
- find out about and investigate key concepts and questions of belonging, meaning, purpose and truth, responding creatively;
- enquire into what enables different individuals and communities to live together respectfully for the wellbeing of all;
- articulate beliefs, values and commitments clearly in order to explain why they may be important in their own and other people’s lives.
These 3 strands are designed to ensure that RE contributes to education by
‘provoking challenging questions about meaning and purpose in life, beliefs about God, ultimate reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human’
so that they can
‘learn to articulate clearly and coherently their personal beliefs, ideas, values and experiences while respecting the right of others to differ’.
‘participate positively in our society with its diverse religions and worldviews’.
At Maulden Lower School we use an enquiry based approach to teaching the RE curriculum
The 4-step enquiry
The key question for the enquiry is an Attainment Target 2 (impersonal) question, needing 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 teases outAT2 (impersonal)which focuses on critical thinking skills, and AT2 (personal) which requires personal reflection into the child’s own thoughts and feelings. We acknowledge the work of Professor Michael Grimmett on this.
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. This is Attainment Target 2 (personal). Their personal resonance with this underpinning human experience acts as the BRIDGE into AT1, the world of religion (which may be very much outside of their experience).
Step 2 (usually the equivalent of 3 lessons)
Investigation: The teacher guides the children through the enquiry, studying Attainment Target 1 (Learning ABOUT) 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. This is an assessment task (the task sheet and resources are included) which the teacher can assess by using the Level descriptors at the end of each enquiry. The levels are exemplified and tracking and record sheets are included, as are pupil self-assessment sheets.
These ‘I can’ level descriptors (based on the national 8-level scale) may well lend themselves to meaningful and less onerous report writing, with evidence in children’s books from every Evaluation (Step 3) lesson.
This is Attainment Target 2 (impersonal). Attainment Target 2 (personal) can be assessed by observation and children’s work in Lessons 1 and 6.
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.
This is Attainment Target 2 (personal).
Children’s progress is best recorded in individual journals or portfolios, but the whole learning experience of the class may be gathered into a class Discovery RE Portfolio.
The Maulden Lower School overview for RE is available to download below: