A Faith in the Nexus Video – Faith-talk in the home-Meeting Recording from September 2021 led by Ms Pittaway and Dr Casson from NICER, at Canterbury Christ Church University. For more including pdfs to download visit https://nicer.org.uk/faith-in-the-nexus.
Faith in the Nexus Seminar: Spiritual Leadership of Church Primary School Headteachers, led by Ursula Eisl (NICER intern) in conversation with Dr Ann Casson
Faith in the Nexus Seminar: Spiritual Leadership of Church Primary School Headteachers, led by Ursula Eisl (NICER intern) in conversation with Dr Ann Casson.
Date presented: July 7th 2021
This Faith in the Nexus seminar explores the role that headteachers play in shaping a church school culture that allows for spiritual growth in children and facilitates children’s exploration of faith in the home. Ursula Eisl shares her findings from an analysis of the head teachers use of language to portray their school’s role in facilitating the children’s exploration of faith. How such language is framed and communicated is vital for church school leaders. The data reveals considerable variation in the language that church school headteachers employ to express their vision for a school culture that fosters growth and helps promote a community of inclusivity.
Research and Development Lead at the National Institute for Christian Education Research (NICER), Canterbury Christ Church University.
“It’s not something I would have considered”: Primary Trainee Teachers’ Perspectives on Science Religion Encounters in the Primary Classroom
“It’s not something I would have considered”:
Primary Trainee Teachers’ Perspectives on Science Religion Encounters in the Primary Classroom
Caroline Thomas Senior Lecturer in Education, Canterbury Christ Church University email@example.com
The Beginner Teacher in the Science Religion Encounter RESEARCH TEAM: Professor Robert A. Bowie, Dr Sabina Hulbert, Professor Lynn Revell, Dr John-Paul Riordan, Caroline Thomas, Dr Mary Woolley.
DOWNLOAD OUR NEW RESOURCE FAITH-TALK AT HOME
Often children seek to explore faith and the big existential issues by asking questions. Home can provide a safe and exploratory space for faith- talk. When children initiate such conversations at home, these are precious moments of opportunity. Download via nicer.org.uk/faith-in-the-nexus/the-nexus-toolkit
We have one especially for a family context and one for the school/church context.
Printable versions available on request at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our animation is ready and has a guide, Exploring Faith in the Nexus to accompany it.
The animation recognises that all children have a spiritual life that drives them to seek meaning and purpose in life. Often in this search, children turn to their parents with big questions about things such as the origin of life, the existence of God, and life after death.
We acknowledge that being confronted with such questions can be daunting for parents and can leave them feeling inadequate to offer a response. Thus, our main message through the animation is one of reassurance and encouragement.
Parents are in a unique position to stand alongside their child and explore with them. To just “be” with your child, to share the journey of discovery and curiosity with them is powerful and offers an experience that will encourage your child to be spiritually curious, setting the foundations for them to grow stronger in their spiritual life.
You can find the animation on our website https://nicer.org.uk/faith-in-the-nexus/the-nexus-toolkit
Death is inevitable, but is often hidden away, talked about in whispers. Finding the language to talk with children about death is challenging, whether in the home or in school environment. It’s often easier to assume that children are not ready nor interested in learning about death, than to proactively prepare oneself to explore the issue together. In this seminar discussion Dr Sabina Hulbert presents empirical evidence supporting the claim that primary school children are indeed expecting parents and carers to engage in these conversations when they return home from school. It was a first-class event bringing together diocesan directors of education, church leaders of children’s ministry and academics interested in the research area of children’s spirituality.
Research and Development Lead at National Institute for Christian Education Research (NICER), Canterbury Christ Church University
Ofsted has just published its Research review of religious education (Published 12 May 2021). in RE pupils enter a vibrant debate about “the religious and non-religious traditions that have shaped Great Britain and the world. RE in primary and secondary schools enables pupils to take their place within a diverse multi-religious and multi-secular society.” Ofsted thinks the best RE is “intellectually challenging and personally enriching. It affords pupils both the opportunity to see the religion and non-religion in the world, and the opportunity to make sense of their own place in that world.”
The report explores literature relating to the field of RE to identify factors that contribute to high-quality school RE curriculums, the teaching of the curriculum, assessment and systems and draws on work by colleagues at Canterbury Christ Church University.
One are of concern is how question structures used in exams can filter through the whole RE system. Work by Professor Bob Bowie has spotlighted how the kind of question preferred in GCSE exams is a debate question style which tends to characterise binary oppositions and winner loose debates. The conversation about religion this creates is one where there is an argument going on. The exams do not, for instance, have question types designed to reveal overlapping areas of agreement between religion, emphasising possible cooperation areas. Professor Bob Bowie has also spotlighted how this turns sacred texts into quotes to me memorised and used in arguments and yet for many people sacred texts are gateways into narratives that offer meaning insights on life, not just proof texts for debates. There are scholarly ways of engaging those texts in classrooms, and Canterbury research (In collaboration with Professor Panjwani from UCL )has shown how teachers are able to draw on those scholarly disciplines in many different kinds of schools, can but fewer and fewer schools engage in sacred texts in this way. High quality RE is an RE that offers insights into ‘how to know‘ not just ‘what to know‘.
Professor Cooling and Professor Lynn Revell have both contributed to insights around the need not to essentials religion into monotone blocks but rather to understand contextualise religious lives and make sure that traditions include diversities of practice.
Professor Bob Bowie and Emeritus Professor Trevor Cooling, have both contributed to work that seeks to make sense of the personal dimension of knowing which the Ofsted Report has noted as important in understanding RE. RE is not just about the institutional organisation of religion, the traditions of different religions as commonly understood, but also the personal aspect of ‘worldview’ how any individual themselves comes to see meaning in life. This is important as it provides an clear space for every pupil, ever person irrespective of religious or non religious worldview.
T Cooling, ‘Worldview in religious education: autobiographical reflections on the commission on religious education in England final report’, in ‘British Journal of Religious Education’, Volume 42, Issue 4, 2020, pages 403 to 414
R A Bowie and R Coles, ‘We reap what we sew: perpetuating biblical illiteracy in new english religious studies exams and the proof text binary question’, in ‘British Journal of Religious Education’, Volume 40, Issue 3, 2018, pages 277 to 287
Worldviews in Religious Education https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/research/2020/10/21/worldviews-in-religious-education
Text from the Theos website:
This new animated film by Emily Downe, created in partnership with Culham St Gabriel’s Trust and Canterbury Christ Church University, unpacks the idea of worldviews and invites the viewer to consider how their own unique view of the world might co–exist with other, sometimes quite different, vantage points held by those around them.
The film was inspired by our recent report Worldviews in Religious Education, which interprets and develops the idea of “worldview” and explores its implications for the future of RE in the UK.
More widely, the film brings a much–needed reflection on religious literacy in the UK and reminds us that in an increasingly pluralistic society, there is no neutral perspective and everyone sees the world through a certain lens.
It is our hope that the film will be a powerful tool for classroom learning, transforming a complicated concept into an accessible and personal format, stimulating conversation and encouraging pupils to think through their own worldview and how this impacts their lives.
Professor Bob Bowie
I have been invited to be apart of the “After Religious Education: Reimagining Religion and Worldviews Education” project led by Dr David Levin of Strathclide University. The project website has now been launched. It says: “
This project aims to explore the nature of the educational representation of religion(s) and to support the development of a new vision for Religion Education (Religion and Worldviews). The project draws attention to the limitations of the predominant world religions paradigm (WRP) in the educational representation of religion(s). Drawing on the expertise of academic specialists in Religious Studies and Education Studies along with skilled and experienced teachers, the project seeks to reimagine Religious Education by recognising the complexity of subject matter while acknowledging the pedagogical challenges.” (https://butterfly-butterfly-bnhl.squarespace.com)
I was really pleased back in Advent 2020 to have a conversation with David Lewin . I had been wanting to talk to David for a while, ever since hearing a paper he gave at a symposium on reduction and the curriculum. That might come as a bit of a shock for RE teachers where World Religions has tended to be seen as a more progressive approach than other approaches but perhaps Lewin is revealing that the school subject has more to learn from academic developments and Lewin’s own insights are interesting. In this video we touch on this issue and also a number of other related topics.
David’s related publications:
Lewin, D. (2020) “Religion, Reductionism and Pedagogical Reduction”. In Biesta and Hannam (eds.) Religion and Education. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill | Sense. doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004446397…
Lewin, D. (2020) Reimagining the RE/RS Curriculum, in The BASR Bulletin, the British Association for the Study of Religions. Available at: https://basr.ac.uk/2020/11/18/basr-bu…
Lewin, D. (2020) Between horror and boredom: fairy tales and moral education, Ethics and Education, 15:2, 213-231, DOI: 10.1080/17449642.2020.1731107
Lewin, D. (2018) Toward a Theory of Pedagogical Reduction: Selection, Simplification, and Generalization in an Age of Critical Education. Educational Theory, 68: 495-512. https://doi.org/10.1111/edth.12326
David and I had a great chat about things related to this area on Youtube.
PhD Opportunities in RE, Christian Education, Faith and spiritual development and Christian school leadership.
PhD Opportunities in Education, Childhood and Youth Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, UK, include the opportunity to study with NICER, the National Institute for Christian Education Research.
Canterbury Christ Church University’s programmes in Education, Childhood and Youth Studies is at the centre of a very large and vibrant PhD community with approximately 50 doctoral students.
For 2021, we are looking for proposals in all areas related to Education, Childhood Studies, Youth Studies, Professional development and identity of those in the education sector, Sustainability
People have undertaken doctoral studies in a range of areas linked to NICER including School leadership and Christian vocation and discipleship, Church schooling, faith and professional ethics, Christians in teaching
Methodologies draw on theology of education, philosophy of education, conceptual enquiry, document analysis, ethnography and quantitative and statistical methods.
We will consider applications from students who are able to self-fund their studies on a full time or part time basis. We are also able to offer a full time scholarship or part time fee waivers for successful applicants.