Love your neighbour

‘Loving your neighbour as yourself’ through local and global partnerships

RE with Soul unit Love your neighbour as yourself
School Blair Peach Primary School, Southall KS2
Location Southall, Middlesex
Parish / Local Authority Southall
Diocese London
Borough London Borough of Ealing
School Capacity 440 primary pupils, 60 nursery pupils
Partnership ALMA network: Blair Peach Primary School, St George’s C of E Church Southall and Lichinga, Mozambique
Funding Blair Peach Primary School and St George’s church
Year group Year 5
Number of pupils 60
Start Date June 2013
Time spent 6x 2 hour sessions over 6 weeks
Completion Date July 2013
Blair Peach pupils with banners for Mozambique

Blair Peach pupils with banners for Mozambique

In this citizenship-rich unit for KS2, sixty Year 5 pupils focussed on investigating the significance of Jesus teaching ‘to love God and to love your neighbour as yourself’, and the ways that it unites and motivates believers in following the example of Jesus in serving others.

Opportunities to engage directly with the key concept of loving your neighbour as yourself, as well as to engage with citizenship objectives, were built into the work through the ALMA network of partnerships between churches and schools in the UK and in Mozambique. Pupils were able to explore ‘live relationships’ between Christian believers in their local church communities and communities in Mozambique that demonstrated aspects of ‘Loving your neighbour as yourself’. In addition there were opportunities through creative partnerships for pupils to share directly in projects arising from the existing relationships between local churches and their Mozambican neighbours.

Encouraging pupils to consider key questions: ‘Who is my neighbour?’ and ‘How did Jesus love people?’ prompted pupils to consider their own experiences and creative ways that they might express these in an extended ‘values in action’ reflection.

Key questions for enquiry-based learning

A series of key questions which promoted progressively deeper thinking and reflective skills, provided a framework for the enquiry based learning journey investigating the concept of what it means to love your neighbour as yourself. For example the big question starter for this unit was: How do Christian believers show ways of ‘loving God and loving their neighbours as themselves’? This multi-levelled approach to RE offered Additional RE Learning Objectives: How do places of worship in the UK and overseas serve their communities? What can we learn from Christian religious buildings in the Uk and overseas? How do believers express their faith through the arts?

The RE with Soul enquiry-based approach effectively embedded the following key questions to initiate and support the investigation:

  • How do the lives and teachings of the key religious figures influence the lives of individuals and communities in the UK and overseas?
  • How do Sacred Texts influence the lives of individuals and communities?
  • How do places of worship serve their communities in the UK and Overseas?
  • What is the role and influence of community faith leaders?
  • How are inner feelings, beliefs and experiences expressed in religion and in life?
  • How do they influence the way we live?
  • What is most important to us and how do we show this?

Developing reflective practices

Opportunity for verbal and visual, silent and drama-led, collective and individual reflections punctuate the RE with Soul sessions to help develop pupils reflective practise and critical thinking skills, whilst enhancing the quality of their learning experience as they pursue the enquiry.

A gift of for values-rich RE: ALMA creative partnerships between schools and churches in the UK and Mozambique

Pupils gained an insight into how their local parish church ‘love their Mozambican neighbour’ through meeting with church leaders and members who had ‘made friendships with leaders and members of the Angola, London, Mozambique Association (ALMA) linked church community in Lichinga, via email communication and through visiting Mozambique. Visiting their local parish church, finding out about work in the local community, how ALMA partnerships work, and using email communication, photographs videos and individuals first-hand accounts, pupils deepened their understanding of ways in which Christian believers express their love for their neighbour’ in their local community and Africa. They were able to evaluate the impact this has on individuals and communities.

How are we inspired to ‘love our neighbour’? Live partnership and projects with Mozambique

Both the local church in Southall and the parish church in Lichinga had community projects that they wanted to undertake. For example Lichinga were completing a church building and wanted a series of banners to hang in the church that would encourage the spiritual growth of the congregation there.

Pupils engaged directly in loving their neighbour as themselves through responding to a request from the linked church in Mozambique, to create a series of eight, five metre long banners on the theme of spiritual gifts to hang in the church there.

This provided the school with a unique opportunity for building their own relationship with Lichinga, supported by ALMA’s partnership framework, enabling exploration and recognition of diversity within religions, and narrowing distance.

Unpacking and reflecting on core theological concepts through creative process

Researching, interpretation, investigating, analysis, evaluation and reflection were skills being exercised throughout the unit, undergirding the theological exploration and extended reflection through the banner-making.

After a whole class introduction to Jesus teaching on the spiritual gifts, and a discussion about what they mean to Christian believers in the UK, and to the church in Lichinga, pupils divided into groups to investigate the textual context for the spiritual gifts theme. They considered the key questions: How do Sacred Texts influence the lives of individuals and communities in seeking to understand the concepts behind the spiritual gifts, for example of prophecy, and its application in a Christian context. They considered how Jesus modelled each of the gifts and how his example inspires Christian believers today.

Values-framed RE

Values in action through learning were deliberately reinforced in small group activities – appointing team leaders to ensure pupils were able to contribute equally, and that all ideas were listened to and considered. This reinforced the RE with Soul ethos of cooperating, encouraging, helping, problem-solving, empathising that are threaded through the learning process and partnerships.

Extended Reflection: Values in Action – working together to create a gift for Lichinga church Extended Reflection Love your neighbour powerpoint

An extended creative reflection flowed from the theological enquiry, which focused on the banner-making, as a response to the brief, exploring the key questions: how can we love our neighbours as ourselves through creating the banners? ? What difference will the message of the banners make to the congregation in Lichinga?

Considering how Bible Stories and theological concepts are communicated visually in churches for example stained glass windows as an expression of worship and teaching tool, formed the transition from learning about the theology of spiritual gifts to undertaking the extended creative reflection, in the form of the banner-making. Discussion on the theme of Love your neighbour as yourself flowed through the response to the brief for Lichinga. How can we design our banner to communicate the message of spiritual gifts to the church in Lichinga?

Decisions were made about how the eight individual banners could cohere whilst each concept could be individually expressed . It was decided that a generic framework of geometric shapes should be repeated across the banners with a border that could contain images representing a combination of cultural motifs reflective of Southall community and Mozambique. Pupils drew their ideas from previously researched culture and geography of Mozambique.

Using the visual framework of stained glass pupils then visualised their ideas individually and collectively in their small groups for the concept: Jesus’s example and what it means in the world. Reflective questions were given to each group to further challenge their thinking skills as they refined their design work.

Community through creativity, sharing values and skills: Crossing boundaries of belief

Pupils presented their groups initial visual ideas to the other groups, inviting feedback for the effectiveness of their visual communication of the concept, before translating their designs onto their banner. They were supported in enlarging designs to fit the scale of the banners.

Parents, staff, church members and leaders shared in the creative processes enabling collaborative exploration and communication of bigger ideas, inspiring confidence personal discovery, and positive action relating to beliefs, identity and belonging.

Sharing our learning journey with our friends in Lichinga, Mozambique was an integral part of the learning process. Pupils used ICT to prepare assembly presentations and to write letters to congregation members in Lichinga about their experience, the banner designs and interpretation. These activities were used to enable pupils to reflect on their learning. During the project staff were in email communication with Lichinga church – photos and information were exchanged to enable a shared learning dynamic.