National Institute for Christian Education Research (nicer)

NICER seminar – Science and Religion Encounters (sub-project 1 findings).


NICER seminar – Science and Religion Encounters (sub-project 1 findings).

Wed 07/10/2020 15:00 – 16:00

Online seminar to present and discuss the preliminary findings of the SRE sub-project 1.Curating superficiality: a comparison of two lessons on the Creation Story

Professor Lynn Revell

Teaching the creation story has long been a possible site for controversy because of potential areas of conflict around the faith/science nexus. This paper analyses teacher questions in a year three and a year six Religious Education lesson on the Creation story. Both lessons were videoed and transcribed with a particular focus on teacher’s questions and instructions and their responses to pupil questions. Analysis of the structure of the lesson and the nature of teacher questioning indicates that in both lessons teachers exercised significant control over the discussion so that the ability of pupils to ask questions that could potentially challenge a preconceived narrative was limited. In the year six class nearly 50% of all questions asked by the teacher were closed or rhetorical and in the case of the year three class this rose to 85%. Teachers employed a range of pedagogical tools that effectively curated both the tone and content of the lesson. The tools included: ignoring questions, reframing questions, reframing pupil answers, presenting rhetorical questions as open questions and the use of physical gestures/body language to facilitate or close down discussion. A consequence of this strategy was that pupils were unable to explore questions and issues that fell outside of the teacher narrative. Where pupils did attempt to stray beyond the limits set by the teacher they were immediately stopped. The results were lessons characterised by a superficial approach to the Creation Story and where complexity or a diversity of interpretations was marginalised.

Video-based grounded theory study of primary classroom strategy: pedagogical problem-solving when science and RE topics interact

Dr John-Paul Riordan

When science and religion topics interact during school lessons participants can face challenging pedagogical problems. What types of pedagogical problem exist and what participants can do about these problems is unclear in the literature. This paper integrates the Pedagogy Analysis Framework (Riordan, 2020) with an analysis of pedagogical problem-solving by participants in the classroom, illustrating both using data using data from a video-based study of one science and one RE lesson.

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