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help explaining RE objective

Discussion in 'Primary' started by comenius, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. comenius

    comenius New commenter

    I teach year 1 in a church school and after Easter the objectives are
    'Begin to grasp the concept that Jesus was a man but He is also God'
    'Begin to be able to describe why His actions showed Jesus to be God'
    I'm struggling to think of a simple way to explain this to 5/6 year olds! We are looking at some of the miracles He did and a friend suggested using an orange - the skin is Jesus, the flesh is God and the juice is the spirit (I think) or saying that when Jesus was crucified the man part died and the God part rose to new life (but is this correct?!)
    I just know they're going to ask things like how can Jesus be God when God was his father? and I don't know how to explain!
    Thanks for any help you can give!
     
  2. comenius

    comenius New commenter

    I teach year 1 in a church school and after Easter the objectives are
    'Begin to grasp the concept that Jesus was a man but He is also God'
    'Begin to be able to describe why His actions showed Jesus to be God'
    I'm struggling to think of a simple way to explain this to 5/6 year olds! We are looking at some of the miracles He did and a friend suggested using an orange - the skin is Jesus, the flesh is God and the juice is the spirit (I think) or saying that when Jesus was crucified the man part died and the God part rose to new life (but is this correct?!)
    I just know they're going to ask things like how can Jesus be God when God was his father? and I don't know how to explain!
    Thanks for any help you can give!
     
  3. These are questions that philosophers and theologians have struggled with for centuries!
    It's not helpful really, but if you are in a faith school, then much of what you teach in RE will simply be a question of saying 'this is just what Christians believe'. It is counter-intuitive to a young child to say that a person can be more than one person - and that is essentially what you are asking them to accept. I think the idea of the orange is quite nice, but again, it is asking a lot of young children to accept such a metaphor.
    You might be better to ask the person who approved this planning, to explain how they would approach this objective, and why it appears on the curriculum at this point.
     
  4. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I 'learnt' this at school by a teacher using ice, water and steam. Essentially all the same thing, but different. so God, Jesus and Holy Spirit are the three and one and one in three and all that.

    But children are happy to believe that Jesus was a man, obviously because they already know about the baby Jesus and Christmas, and that he is God. They don't have the same theological hassles as adults.

    Don't try to explain it too much, just teach them it and leave them to ponder and wonder.
     
  5. I work in a church school and I encourage lots of healthy debate about different beliefs. I always approach teaching about any faith with 'Christians believe' or Hindus believe' etc. We often end up in a good chat in my class with different children giving their opinions. I think as long as you explain it simply and leave time for conversation the children have time to think and talk about it.
    For example, I was talking to my Year 2s about the Easter story and one girl said she found it a hard thing to imagine there was a real, live God. I commented that these things can be difficult to imagine and another boy piped up that he couldn't imagine someone being able to create a world where everything worked together like it did (he was talking about nature). I said that was an interesting point and so it went on. Sometimes Christianity in RE is presented to them as facts, rather than things Christians believe. I have had several children concerned that they don't believe these things and if this happens I explain that it is up to them to make up their minds about what they believe or don't believe in their own time. We have discussed what it means to be Agnostic and an Atheist as I think it is important for them to understand the different religions and the beliefs many people have.
     
  6. Perhaps the key to this is the phrase 'begin to'. This is a bit of a get out clause in that it means this will be the children's first encounter with the ideas and concepts. Nobody could expect a 6 year old to grasp a concept that remains a matter of debate among believing adults. I would approach it by using stories that show Christ's humanity (he had a mum and someone he would have called 'dad', he started off as a baby, he grew up, he had friendships etc.), and stories that showed there was something different and special about him (miracles; rising from the dead). You don't have to tackle the trinity, but you could talk about Christ having a special father in heaven because he is God's son, and an ordinary daddy on earth because he was a man. Beginning to be able to describe why his actions showed Jesus to be God would be about describing some of Jesus' actions as being special, and different from what an ordinary person can do eg turning water into wine etc. in my opinion it is important at the same time to stress why Jesus did these things to make clear that are not just tricks, is was because Jesus had a very special love for all human beings that he did these amazing things.-Hope this helps. Happy Easter!
     
  7. We teach this to the juniors in our school. As thumbie suggests we look at 2 New Testament stories of Jesus; one where Jesus acts like a God (any miracle) and one where he acts like a man (getting angry outside the temple/being upset). For year 1 it shouldn't need to be any more complicated than that. In our scheme it's a year 4 objective.

     
  8. comenius

    comenius New commenter

    Thanks everyone for replying and great advice. I think I was getting bogged down with the explanation part. I'm just going to go ahead and teach it as you suggest and leave it at that!
    Thanks again :)
     
  9. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Very pleased my son does not attend a Church school.
    Do you have to say "Jesus was a man but also God" or can you teach "Christians believe that Jesus was a man but he was also a God"?
    And don't forget they are only 5 year olds. Very young for this stuff IMHO.
     
  10. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    My class have no trouble at all believing Jesus is God and was a man.

    They also KNOW there is a Tooth Fairy and a Father Christmas.

    They also KNOW that Hansel and Gretel played in our classroom at night time during the first part of the winter term, but have gone to a new school now.

    I reckon, if you are six years old, believing in God isn't difficult.
     
  11. On the other hand - my five year old would scoff if you told him about the Easter bunny, Hansel and Gretel and the Tooth Fairy. My eight year old would certainly tell you God is a load of nonsense, despite being informed of His existence at her church school..
    Neither of those are things I have informed them of!
    Many children will not accept without question what you tell them - and I can only be thankful for that!
     
  12. Yes, it's good to question for sure. However I suspect one of her peers has probably told her this, and the peer probably got it from home. Church schools get good results and some parents send their children for this reason, while in private bad-mouthing the beliefs promoted (possibly out of the best of motives).Anyway - what's all this about the Easter bunny? :-o
     
  13. flapfish

    flapfish New commenter

    I find it helps to base concepts on something the children already understand. get them to think about all their manifestations - child, sister, Rainbow, year 1, ballet dancer, friend, grandchild, neice etc. This at least illustrates in a small way how someone can be more than one thing at once.
     
  14. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Do church schools promote belief or do they say "Christians believe ....."? Do they promote Christianity as truth or do they explain what Christianity believes?
    I suspect the former. Don't forget there are children at Church school whose parents are non-believers but who happen to live in a village where there is only 1 school which happens to be a Church school.
    My son asked me a bit about Easter. I told him what Christians believed happened to Jesus. He is still more interested in the eggs.
     
  15. Well, as church schools, I guess they say, "We believe" rather than "Christians believe".
     
  16. No, in C of E church schools in RE we shouldn't be saying we believe. We should be saying Christians believe. RE is not indoctrination so shouldn't be used for this purpose. If I have to do a Christian based assembly, however, then I would talk about Jesus doing this or Jesus doing that.
     
  17. But the assumption in a church school is that the staff are Christians or sympathetic to the Christian beliefs of the school, so saying "Christians" believe is the same as saying " We believe" . Would it be indoctrination to say, "I believe"?There is a difference between indoctrination and stating the beliefs that are the bedrock of the school's mission.
     
  18. I think this will most certainly depend on the type of school. Many CofE schools will have a laid back approach to RE teaching, but others (in my experience) will not. A Muslim, Catholic or Jewish faith school, for example, will almost certainly see their faith as central to the life of the school, and will be teaching their children their faith tenets as fact, and other faiths' tenets as 'what some people believe'. I am sure it is the same in some CofE schools with closer llinks to the Church. I recognise what you are saying about the separation of RE teaching and worship, but in my experience, in many strongly faith-based schools, they are not separate at all.
    My children attend a faith school as there is no choice not to in my town. All schools are faith linked. They question, because as a family we have taught them to question. Not just faith, but everything. 'How do you know?' is a fairly frequent question in our home - and as parents, they often throw it back at us! As a result, they have made up their own minds about some things that perhaps most children don't really think much about (and are not encouraged to think much about).
    I really don't think it is easy for children to understand how a man (such as Jesus) can also be God (who is also his own father). It is a question that has been posed to me by my own class when we've covered the Trinity in RE. It is a question that comes up every year. I think it is right it should be questioned, and that it should really only be taught to children once they are at an age where they are able to question it - rather than simply blink, shrug and inwardly go 'huh?' which is likely to be what many of them are doing!
     
  19. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    I've also taught my son to question things. Not that he needs any encouragement. I would also question the fact that "teachers in a faith school belong to that faith". A lot of village primary schools are CofE - purely because of the historical background of how the Church provided education for the poor. When searching for a job, you just can't rule out applying for a church school because of its religious affiliations otherwise you rule out a lot of jobs.
    As for questioning, my son was doing about space and the Universe. So I've now got him thinking about what's outside space. Just wonder if he asked his teacher the same question?

     
  20. Thumbie this is the case in acts of worship, when I do the prayer before lunch etc, but not for the teaching of RE. RE is there to teach the children about the main belief systems so I would teach them what Christians believe, what Muslims believe. If I am teaching them an RE lesson I am giving them the facts about what different groups believe. I think it is indoctrination or similiar to tell them 'I believe' in RE as a way of teaching RE. It muddies the waters of teaching RE.
    I certainly don't see being a C of E school as the bedrock of the school's mission though. It is part of who we are, but as we are a state school to which children are allocated places as their local catchment school, I wouldn't think it appropriate for us to take more of a full on view. We always pray before lunch and home time and I ask if any children would like to do this, but would never make any children pray. I expect them to stay quiet and respectful whilst we pray as a class. I can understand that you might think we would be more ardent, but I think it is Catholic schools that have more of a strident approach (correct me if I am wrong).
     

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