Why should we study Religious Education?

This week I have started teaching in a new school. In this school religious education is non-exam. As with all new teachers some students have tried to test me. Some have tried to do this by questioning the importance of my subject. I have been bombarded with questions such as ‘Why do we have to do religion?’ ‘Religion is boring what’s the point?’ ‘Why do we have to do this if there’s no exam?’ So how do I respond.

In order to tackle this question head on I have decided to do one lesson with each class group on the importance of understanding religion and the impact it can have and has had on the world. Below I have attached my lesson plan so other teachers facing similar questions have an answer 🙂

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to give reasons for studying religious education
  • students will be able to name and explain effects religion has had on the world
  • Students will be able to talk about how religion is present in everyday life

Assessment of Outcomes

Students will write and present a speech to the class on why they think (or do not think) we should study religious education at the end of the week.

Individual assignments 

Students will research about how religion effects peoples lives, how it has affected the past and how it is incorporated into everyday life

THE LESSON 

Introduction 

Students will be put into pairs or threes depending on the class group. I will give students a handout with images and statements about society, history and life in general. Students will have to work together to decide if the item has a religious influence behind it.

Sample pictures

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Main Phase 

Students will view a timeline of events in History that had religious influence

We will discuss what could have happened if religion was not involved?

Students will look at positive ways religion has impacted the world and negative ways in a PowerPoint

Students will receive a handout with testimonials from people about why they see learning about religion as important. Some of these people will be religious some will not be. All will acknowledge the importance of respect and tolerance in society.

Students will be given time on the computers/ipads to research stories in the news that relate to religion in the world today. Students will be encouraged to look for positive stories and not only the negative which is often what is portrayed the most.

The class will look at biographies of famous people who have been inspired by religion and answer questions on each person. People will include JK Rowling, Martin Luther King, U2, Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson and Madonna.

Students will watch the video below. VIDEO

Conclusion 

in groups students will create and present a presentation on the importance of studying religion in order to understand the world and create respect and tolerance in society.

Students who are not presenting will take notes and ask questions.

As a class we will create posters for our classroom to remind us why we study religion.

(This lesson is intended to be spread out over the course of the week in order to create meaningful discussions and allow time for research)

Resources

Why Teach RE PP

History Timeline of World Religions and its Founders