Purpose of Study
Religion and beliefs inform our values and are reflected in what we say and how we behave. RE is an important subject in itself, developing an individual’s knowledge and understanding of the religions and beliefs, which form part of contemporary society. Religious education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong, and what it means to be human. It can develop pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity, of other principal religions, other religious traditions and worldviews that offer answers to questions such as these. RE also contributes to pupils’ personal development and well-being and to community cohesion by promoting mutual respect and tolerance in a diverse society. RE can also make important contributions to other parts of the school curriculum such as citizenship, personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE education), the humanities, education for sustainable development and others. It offers opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development, deepening the understanding of the significance of religion in the lives of others – individually, communally and cross-culturally.
Aims: the non-statutory guidance for RE from the National Curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils:
Learn about the school community – RE provides a positive context within which the diversity of cultures, beliefs and values can be celebrated and explored.
· The community within which the school is located – RE provides opportunities to investigate patterns of diversity of religion and belief and forge links with different groups in the local area.
· The UK community – a major focus of RE is the study of diversity of religion and belief in the UK and how this influences national life.
· The global community – RE involves the study of matters of global significance recognising the diversity of religion and belief and its impact on world issues. RE subject matter gives particular opportunities to promote an ethos of respect for others, challenge stereotypes and build understanding of other cultures and beliefs. This contributes to promoting a positive and inclusive school ethos that champions democratic values and human rights.
Aims: the aims of the Hampshire RE syllabus: Living Difference iii
Living Difference III is an approach to enquiry in religious education.
Living Difference III takes as its starting point an exploration, with children and young people, of what it means to exist in and with the world. The enquiry process, therefore, begins as the teacher brings each child or young person to attend to aspects of their own experience, before attending and responding to ways in which aspects of human existence have been conceptualised and lived out by other people in particular situations.
As the teacher brings the child to question and enquire further they become able to discern what may be valuable in these matters.
The Living Difference III approach is a process of enquiry into concepts, where a concept is understood as a name for, or way of referring to, an idea that exists or has the possibility of existing in a particular kind of way under particular conditions; for example compassion, hope, community or justice.
As people struggle to express their experience of their own existence in the world, concepts can come to gain particular significance.
Some are shared between religions, such as worship or prayer. Others are also translatable between languages, such as between English and Arabic in terms of God and Allah; however they may also have significantly nuanced meanings distinctive to one tradition. In addition to this, some concepts are used uniquely in one particular tradition, for example the Church and sangha, and are, therefore, characteristic of one particular tradition and/or context in which they came about and have quite distinctive meanings in one tradition.