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Inter Faith Issues and the RE Curriculum – Inter Faith Network

July 3, 2017

Examining issues and practicalities of introducing inter faith issues into the curriculum.

Report on the June 2001 seminar held in association with the National Association of SACREs.

Lat Blaylock produced a report which emphasised the role which RE can play in helping to fulfil the widely shared aim of enabling children and young people to develop those attitudes which are needed for harmonious living in a religiously plural society. The report was submitted to the QCA in the autumn of 1998 as a contribution to their review

QCA produce d a Key Stage 3  unit on Jerusalem – I would have loved to see this but it doesn’t seem to exist online anymore – much of the good work done by QCA was binned by the coalition government in their bonfire of quangos. Seemingly it covered this: asks why some places are special to religious believers, and is the most explicit example I know of RE which addresses inter faith issues. The fact that QCA commissioned and published it and have sent it to every school is a source of encouragement to those who want RE to take this agenda a bit more seriously. Pupils taking this unit will learn a lot about the Night Journey of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and the way of the cross in the gospel stories of Jesus, and the wanderings of Abraham, Joshua and the children of Israel in the promised land. They will also be asked to get their heads round the big questions: What do these traditions say about peacemaking? Why is it hard to live without conflict? What are the prospects for peace in the Middle East, or in any other part of our ‘global village’? The unit finishes with the suggestion that pupils design a work of art called ‘Respect’, bringing their learning to a conclusion in a way that relates to their own situation. I wonder if you would perhaps agree with me that this unit, well taught, would have good potential for putting into practice a key aim of RE: to develop positive attitudes of respect towards other people who hold views and beliefs that are different from their own.

Stephen Pett desribed a Gloucester practical unit oin designing a building to be shared by three faiths – this isn’t new – Somerset had this years ago courtesy of David Francis and Andrew Scott in 1990.

If religions are studied simply in terms of their doctrines without an experiential approach this can be divisive in the classroom. Trust can develop from the spirit in which the exploration is made. It is important to develop techniques which will help pupils to argue their points of view calmly and respectfully.

It is vital to provide and develop the skills to dialogue and not just to provide a body of content knowledge about inter faith issues. It is very important for teachers to listen to pupils as well as vice versa.

Baronness Uddin wanders of into collecticve worship – not relevant here.

Inderjit Singh, not a favourite of mine, pointed out: citizenship can be very much about conformity, about doing what is expected, what is considered a norm. In learning about citizenship and in doing what is expected of us we can enhance our life chances of employment, our chances of acceptance. I would like to point out that religion, on the other hand, sets its own standards and tries to lift society to higher and more tolerant, peaceful and responsible living. Sikhs very much believe in the lines of the Christian hymn which says “though the course of evil prospers, yet truth alone is strong.” Religion seeks to find out that truth.

It’s online here

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