Making the Philosophy and Religious Education GCSE relevant to secular sceptics

Author

Emma Raven

Summary

Emma’s interest is in how to engage students in Philosophy and Religious Education (PRE) GCSE when 60% pupils in the school either stated that they had no religion or gave no response to questions asking about their religious affiliation, and in a context where the school was moving toward more liberal views. She chose to narrow her focus to two specific aims in teaching PRE and examine how the use of three different media (art, texts and narratives) could help to achieve these aims. Using questionnaires, samples of student work, observations, and interviews, her initial findings suggest that 1) involving students in research engages pupils in itself: they feel a sense of autonomy in their research; 2) doing research improves metacognition as pupils can see it is important to think about how and why they learn; and 3) students creating their own versions of artwork, narrative or texts enables the learning to seem relevant to them as well as consolidating key philosophical and religious ideas.

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