Lessons that make a difference!
29 April, 2022, Dr Kathryn Wright
Last term we ran a pupil competition to find out what difference an education in religion and worldviews makes to children and young people. From next week you will be able to read and listen to some of them talk about this, but here I want to give a few reflections of my own based on some of the fantastic entries we received. You can also find a list of all the winners and those highly commended at the end of this blog.
An education in religion and worldviews changes attitudes and promotes positive values
Children and young people who entered our competition spoke of the ways in which it increased their sense of empathy towards others, as well as respect and openness towards differing perspectives. Some stressed an even stronger notion that their lessons can promote social justice, dispelling stereotypes and showing that freedom of religion or belief is vital to uphold in our society. Bea and Laurie used a lovely phrase ‘treasuring people’, going beyond a sense of tolerance to deep appreciation of others.
An education in religion and worldviews increases our knowledge and understanding of the world
We live in a complex world, one which is hard to navigate. Children and young people see the value of an education in religion and worldviews in terms of understanding human beings and the world in which we live. They talk about history and meaning, understanding symbolism, learning from great minds, and exploring the nature of wisdom itself. Chloe talks about the way in which her increased knowledge and understanding led to a more enriched experience on a holiday trip where she could apply her learning practically and reflect upon it.
An education in religion and worldviews inspires young people to think critically and make a difference
A common thread through many of our entries was the idea that lessons enabled pupils to think and act in new ways. Zara says her ‘brain was about to explode’; whilst Amelie says her lesson was ’eye opening’ and ’boggled her mind’! There was a sense of emotional engagement by many pupils, particularly when lessons had an element of mystery or surprise. Some talked about the way they had been inspired by people who had made a difference to the lives of others; this had led them to consider how they might make a difference in their local community, society or the world.
I will end with a quote from Zara (Key Stage 3), who sums up for me why an education in religion and worldviews can make a real difference:
This lesson taught me the importance of asking important questions to not only have a better understanding of yourself and the nature of the world around, but to be able to use that knowledge to build a better world.
Alexander, Felton CE Primary School
Bea and Laurie, Broomwood Hall Upper School
Harriet, Felton CE Primary School
Ramya, Warren Road Primary School
Zara, Felton CE Primary School
Chloe, St James Senior Girls’ School
Joseph, Hethersett Academy
Lili, Woodford County High School
Amelie, Kings Norton Girls’ School
Zara, St James Senior Girls’ School
Finley and Cole, Hethersett Academy
Shreya, Plashet School
Thank you to everyone who entered our 2022 competition. The judging teams had difficult decisions to make. Congratulations to all the winners.