Primary RE Coordinators
Why is RE with Soul different from other learning experiences?
The emphasis is on critical enquiry, questioning, reflection and compassion through applying learning to values in action, rather than simply knowledge and information gathering.
The approach takes learning beyond the acquisition of knowledge and understanding of a particular faith. It encourages reflection and thinking beyond the individual to consider others. It provides a way for pupils to explore an emotional and creative response to a given situation, series of beliefs and the impact on other’s situations.
The RE with Soul approach is a model that can be applied to any religion, to enable a deeper exploration of the impact of beliefs on individuals or groups, and to consider and reflect on personal responses to situations and tasks.
How does the RE with Soul approach meet your curriculum priorities?
RE with soul links well with curriculum priorities for enquiry-based and global RE, PSHCE, Citizenship and SMSC. It supports the ethos of the school and related initiatives such as philosophy for children and UNICEF. Importantly incorporates a values in action element, so different components/curriculum links can be threaded through the RE with Soul units of work.
What does the ALMA link via a local parish church mean to a school?
This link between school and local church’s overseas link builds awareness of the initiatives and support programmes that one particular faith group are undertaking in the local and overseas community.
When the link between a school and a local parish church is firmly established it means that the Diocesan Companion connections for example ALMA are accessible. People involved from the school and church can plan together and deliver the learning activities more easily.
RE with Soul promotes global citizenship opportunities which are very important for all children – enabling linking up with other places and people, learning about other people’s strengths and needs as well as their own. Local links like this are more manageable for a school because you can build and sustain relationships.
How does RE with Soul approach enrich enquiry-led learning?
The enquiry-based aspect strengthens pupils questioning, problem solving skills and ability to review and refine ideas. Communication skills, such as speaking and listening are also inherent in the learning activities.
Key questioning acts as a springboard to discussion, promotes debate and initiates opportunities to explore and consider other people’s opinions and beliefs. Progression in questioning helps pupils to formulate and articulate what they think or believe, whilst challenging misconception and preconceptions.
What aspects of RE with Soul inspire learners?
Listening to the experience of others and witnessing the impact of positive action is inspiring for pupils and teachers. The ‘soul’ aspect of RE with Soul which could be understood as an individual human emotional response to dilemmas, problems or needs followed by an action that satisfies that response, is both intriguing and motivating.
How effective is the ‘values in action’ aspect of the learning process?
Teachers, pupils, church members and overseas partners explored and established common values during the learning journey through questioning, discussion, teamwork, shared creativity. The learning journey enabled relationship building through bringing people together in shared creative tasks. Opportunities were created for people to work together who don’t normally meet, and to enable them to recognise each other’s strengths.
How do pupils benefit from the reflective aspects that are an inherent part of the RE with Soul learning experience?
The reflective elements are interwoven, making RE with Soul learning accessible to people from all faith communities and people of no faith. The promotion of empathy, compassion and encouragement, mutual support, kindness and making a practical difference to your neighbour are clearly identifiable and experienced by the pupils during the learning experience.
The learning process validates the importance and demonstrates the benefits of integrating time to think and reflect. It provides opportunities for pupils to establish what they are experiencing and evaluate the impact it has on them without having to share thoughts. It supports developing your own point of view and value system, and a framework for deepening understanding through exploring preconceptions or misconceptions.
What difference did the extended reflection and ‘live brief’ make to the learning journey?
This element added joy and creativity to the process. The pupils weren’t just giving something but creating something together for others that is ‘life-enhancing’ for the recipient, and also thought provoking for the ‘giver’. The process ‘feeds the soul , recognising humans need nurturing in other ways other than with life’s basics food, shelter and water. RE with Soul helps pupils and staff recognise that human beings need to express themselves, and provides alternative non-verbal ways to express feelings and ideas.
Secondary RE Teachers
‘The resources have enabled the students to understand the reality of life in Mozambique rather than media-portrayed stereotypes’
‘It is great to see the students engaging with issues that are relevant to both regions as well as learning something from the religious culture of Mozambique school life’
‘The resources make these concepts really accessible to students and bring the life of a Mozambique school pupil to life’ Charlie Cahill Head of RE Twyford Academies Trust