It is now two weeks since our RExChange conference day. It has been great to watch the buzz around the event and see the increasing number of people engaging with the Vimeo films. I don’t think my twitter account (@kathrynfenlodge) has been quite so busy for a long time!
For some time I have sensed an increasing desire within the RE professional community to root classroom practice in research. At Culham St Gabriel’s we have seen an increase in the number of teachers engaging in our Masters Scholarship Programme, as well as teachers on our leadership programme seeking to undertake their own action research. Vivienne Baumfield’s distinction between enquiry and inquiry in her keynote was very helpful and timely. For me, it brought clarity to some of my own ponderings over the last few months.
Firstly, as the RE community engages more with the disciplinarity of the subject of ‘Religion and Worldviews’ there is, I feel, an implied necessity to engage with research. i.e. to enquire into Religion and Worldviews and its different disciplinary dimensions. In addition, as more teachers are engaging with research, we can see how they are being drawn to the disciplinarity of the subject – whichever disciplinary field(s) they may have a leaning towards! This connection between research and disciplinarity strikes me as being very important for the subject going forward. For me, it gives our subject parity with other humanities within wider educational discourse and strengthens the claim that an education in Religion and Worldviews is academically rigorous.
Secondly, by engaging more with research, I hope that teachers will be inspired to engage in research i.e. inquiring. If #REChatUk on 5th October was anything to go by, then there are already many teachers doing this! Our blog series on Religion and Worldviews over the summer also demonstrated how many teachers are investigating what works in their own context, applying new knowledge to curriculum design and pedagogy for example.
RExChange sought to become a pivotal moment within the Religion and Worldviews Community for researcher – practitioner collaboration. I sense some early indications that we may have been successful… watch this space!