Education and Security: The Challenge of Religious Diversity

Tony Blair

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation and McGill University are delighted to announce an intensive training course entitled ‘Education and Security: The Challenge of Religious Diversity’. The course will take place in Montreal, Canada from 15-20 June and applications are currently welcomed from security, policy, education and development professionals and researchers. The course consists of a series of workshops which will explore policy options for countering religious extremism through effective education that promotes open-mindedness, understanding and dialogue within often complex faith-based and secular contexts.

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UK: How could the teaching of ‘tricky questions’ be improved in schools?

pachyderm

Philosophy is sometimes associated with an anti-religious agenda perhaps because of the way in which some high-profile atheists attach themselves to it, but this misrepresents philosophy’s relationship to religion. First of all, many of the greatest and most well-known philosophers were or are religious and in a variety of different ways. So in this article, we look to the handling of all the important and tricky questions and dealing with personal biases…

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How could the teaching of Islam be improved in schools? [Extended Project]

As part of our Art curriculum here at Heathfield we are always developing projects and links that celebrate and teach our students about the world in which we live. Promoting a tolerance, understanding and respect in young people, who are the future. By teaching Islam through Art the students are able to learn and creatively engage through a medium that allows all students to access and create. It is not just about the final product, even though beautiful pieces are produced, it is about the journey to that point, using the creative process as a learning tool. And through this an understanding of Islam can be taught

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UK: How could the teaching of Hinduism be improved in schools?

Om, the Pranava

Despite being the third largest world religion, Hinduism’s relationship to Religious Education feels a little like RE’s relationship with the Curriculum. Teachers know it’s on the syllabus but many can’t quite define what ‘it’ is, attempts to template it alongside its peers don’t really work and as with Religious Education itself; Hinduism seems to split opinion between those that are passionate about its inclusion and those who fail to see its relevance. Needless to say, I am passionate about quality teaching of both Hinduism and RE.

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UK: How could the teaching of Islam be improved in schools?

5 pillars

When giving instruction to Muslim and non-muslim students in the UK, one area of the curriculum on Islam covers Forms of expression and ways of life. This scopes to Muslim identity expressed through the ummah including the ceremonies for welcoming a child into the ummah; expectations about modesty including dress codes; one national Muslim organisation working to relieve poverty and suffering in the UK and halal and haram; categories, how they are applied to laws of food and drink, and so forth. Here Dr Matthew Wilkinson alerts us to the need to consider history.

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UK: How could the teaching of Judaism be improved in schools?

When we look to Judaism, we look to public acts of worship such as synagogue services and the use of Tenakh and Talmud in daily life. There is the worship in the home and private prayer, prayer in Jewish worship including amidah – the standing prayer and rituals such asbirth ceremonies; Bar and Bat Mitzvah; marriage; mourning rituals. Children are taught about Shabbat in the home and synagogue, the Jewish Festivals including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot. What is an effective education in Judaism for children in Schools? Here, one UK teacher criticizes elements of the curriculam and makes suggestions.

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UK: How could the teaching of Sikhism be improved in schools?

UK Sikh children at school

An ideal lesson plan on Sikhism might scope to creating small groups, allocating one or another aspect of Sikhism and setting off to research their topic in relation to Sikhism. They may be researching Sikh practices, Sikh language, Sikh culture, etc. They may use the internet, encyclopedias, and other books to supplement their research. The outcomes might be presented as write a song, a poster, a PowerPoint presentation, ‘teach’ the class in a mini-lesson, write a short play, etc. How do we inspire teachers to be confident “out of the box”?

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UK: How could the teaching of Buddhism be improved in schools?

UK: How could the teaching of Buddhism be improved in schools?

Wheel of Dharma

Observations about the delivery of Buddhist RE to students in the UK refer to Systematic and traditional delivery, addressing the usual main topics : The Three Jewels, (i.e. Buddha, Dharma, Sangha), the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eight Fold Path, etc. There is a Thematic strand, e.g. Exploration of religious founders, rites of passage and festivals, specific virtues and ethical values such as forgiveness, selfless and charitable behaviour, etc, along with a Comparative approach : i.e. Buddhism taught alongside another faith such as Christianity.

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Interfaith and social cohesion in Australia: looking to the future

Australian Multicultural Council

The Australian Multicultural Council was commissioned by the Australian Government to examine aspects of Social Cohesion in Australia, and the role of interfaith dialogue in building and maintaining social cohesion. This report examines social cohesion, religion, national engagement in Interfaith Dialogue, and opportunities for strengthening interfaith dialogue. The various topics of roundtable discussion were – inter alia – Interfaith sector and social cohesion, Interfaith and anti-racism, Interfaith education and Inclusion in interfaith dialogue.

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